Xbox Insiders at Alpha Skip Ahead & Alpha today we introduce some new features. Multiplayer in Free-to-play games, Looking 4 Groups, and Party Chat on Xbox no longer requires an Xbox Live Gold membership as we flew and tested these service changes prior to general availability.
– Brad Rossetti (@WorkWombatman) March 24, 2021
This means that when the update reaches all Xbox users, players will no longer need an Xbox Live Gold subscription to create a group chat with their friends, find a multiplayer group, or play free multiplayer games on Xbox.
It’s unclear exactly how many games will be supported by this change, but there are plenty of high-profile free titles on Xbox like Apex Legends and Destiny 2 that will benefit from this.
The news comes as Xbox has renamed Xbox Live to Xbox Network to “distinguish the underlying service from Xbox Live Gold memberships.” In other Microsoft news, the company is reported to be in talks to buy Discord for more than $ 10 billion.
Jordan Oloman is a freelance writer for IGN. Follow him on Twitter.