Good news for Xbox fans. Microsoft announced that, starting in June, it will no longer require a $60-a-year Xbox Live Gold subscription to use streaming services like Netflix and Hulu Plus.
The company revealed the new rules Tuesday along with the announcement that it will sell Xbox One without Kinect for a lower price.
“Coming in June, anyone with an Xbox will be able to access popular entertainment experiences –- whether or not you have an Xbox Live Gold membership. This includes great gaming apps like Machinima, Twitch and Upload, popular video services like Netflix, Univision Deportes, GoPro, Red Bull TV and HBO GO, sports experiences like the NFL app for Xbox One, MLB.TV, NBA Game Time, NHL Game Center and more,” the announcement from Xbox boss Phil Spencer reads.
Microsoft services such as Internet Explorer, Skype, OneDrive and OneGuide will be available without an Xbox Live Gold subscription, as well.
The offering applies to both Xbox 360 and Xbox One.
As Ars Technica notes, Microsoft’s chief console rivals, Nintendo and Sony, have never charged any kind of fee for streaming media apps on their devices. In addition, Ars writes, "[p]opular media boxes like Roku, Apple TV, and Amazon Fire TV have also increased the pressure on Microsoft to follow suit."
Forbes points out, however, that Xbox Live Gold subscriptions aren't being killed off entirely: "As expected, Microsoft is not even close to doing away with the hugely profitable Xbox Live Gold altogether, as it’s still required to play multiplayer games."