Xbox One owners are reporting that they can now play online games without Xbox Live Gold. Both free to play and paid games are playable even with expired subscription.
A couple of weeks ago, rumours started to float online, suggesting that Microsoft could remove the paywall for multiplayer on Xbox consoles. Some reliable sources confirmed this, stating that it is only a matter of time before Xbox Live Gold is scrapped or implemented into Xbox Game Pass at no additional cost.
Yesterday, Microsoft spokesperson confirmed that the company have no plans to change Xbox Live Gold at this time. "There are no changes being made to the experience of the service or Xbox Live Gold," Microsoft representative told VGC.
However, today, players are reporting that they can now play online games, both free and paid, without Xbox Live Gold subscription. Apparently, the games are playable even with expired Xbox Live Gold sub and without family sharing. Also, it looks like online play is available for free all over the world. "Can confirm it's free here in Norway too. I haven't paid for Xbox Live Gold in years," one Redditor wrote.
At the moment, we do not know what exactly is happening but a safe bet would be a free weekend of gaming, which Xbox announced back in July.
"Later this summer we'll have more details to come on our Big Gaming Weekend where we will open up multiplayer and some free games to play that weekend for console and PC! Stay tuned and we'll share dates and games soon," they wrote in the announcement back in July.
Could this be it? Well, it is hard to say at the moment but it does look like the most reasonable explanation. Microsoft are yet to officially comment on the matter but once they do, we will update the article with their statement.