Microsoft may finally remove Xbox Live Gold requirement for Netflix, Hulu

The various third-party video apps on Xbox One currently require a premium subscription.

Above: The various third-party video apps on Xbox One currently require a premium subscription.

Image Credit: Microsoft
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Microsoft may remove the toll troll between you and your Netflix subscription on its Xbox platforms.

The company is reportedly considering dropping the requirement that forces Xbox One and Xbox 360 owners to subscribe to its monthly Gold service in order to stream content from third-party apps like Netflix and Hulu.

Ars Technica claims that multiple sources within Microsoft have confirmed the company is at least considering making this move as part of its upcoming presentation at the Electronic Entertainment Expo tradeshow next month, the biggest retail-focused event in the game industry.

Xbox Live Gold is the premium service for Microsoft’s consoles that enables online multiplayer, Internet Explorer, and Skype for $10 per month. The subscription has long generated significant revenue for Microsoft — especially as many Xbox 360 owners continues to subscribe simply for the access to Netflix.

We’ve reached out to Microsoft for comment, and we’ll update this post with any new information.

Next-Generation Xbox Live For Xbox One

The Xbox One faces a much different competitive landscape than the Xbox 360 did. The PlayStation 4 is outselling it, and inexpensive media devices like Roku and Amazon Fire TV are more prevalent than ever — and none of Microsoft’s competitors require an extra fee to access Netflix.

Naturally, this move will cause some Xbox One and Xbox 360 owners to end their Gold subscriptions. Microsoft is apparently considering requiring a subscription for other, undetermined services to make up the difference.

The Xbox division at Microsoft recently got a new boss. The company’s longtime game-developer chief, Phil Spencer ,took over as head of all of the Xbox division a few months after Don Mattrick left to take over as chief executive officer of FarmVille publisher Zynga. Ars Technica notes that the change in policy regarding third-party video is attributable to the change in management.

If this policy does go through — and it’s not guaranteed as Microsoft finalizes its E3 plans — Xbox Live Gold subscribers will still get access to the online multiplayer, the monthly Games With Gold on Xbox 360, the gameplay-recording features on Xbox One, and more.

More information:

Microsoft Corporation is a public multinational corporation headquartered in Redmond, Washington, USA that develops, manufactures, licenses, and supports a wide range of products and services predominantly related to computing through ... read more »

Spencer has spent 25 years at Microsoft. He worked on products such as Encarta and Microsoft Money before taking the position of Microsoft Studios' worldwide general manager in 2008 and being promoted to corporate vice president the fo... read more »

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