Rumor: Microsoft May Remove Xbox Live Gold Paywall Requirement for Netflix, Hulu, and Other Streaming Apps [UPDATE: Confirmed by Microsoft Announcement]
[UPDATE: In a series of announcements this morning for their Xbox consoles, Microsoft confirmed that its various streaming apps such as Netflix, Hulu, HBO Go, Twitch, and others will no longer be locked behind Xbox Live Gold, and that all users of Xbox 360 and Xbox One consoles will be able to access them starting in June 2014.]
While Microsoft’s consoles are touted as “All-in-One” devices capable of playing games, streaming TV/Movies, and playing other media, access to services like Netflix, Hulu, and other streaming apps are locked behind a paywall requiring users must have an Xbox Live Gold subscription to access them.
Reports indicate however, that this requirement may be changing, as Microsoft may have plans to make the long-awaited change to remove Netflix, Hulu, and other streaming apps from behind the Xbox Live Gold paywall, allowing users to use any of these apps without needing an active Xbox Live Gold subscription, putting the Xbox 360 and Xbox One on equal level with Nintendo and Sony’s consoles, and popular strewing devices like Roku, Apple TV, and Fire TV which can access the services freely.
Rumors also detail that Microsoft may push “other services behind the paywall to make up for this shift,” but no indication has been given so far on what this means or what services may be moved, such as the upcoming original TV programming content coming to Xbox 360 and Xbox One this year from Xbox Entertainment Studios.