ESO, World of Tanks, and other subscription-based games still require Xbox Live Gold

Even subscription-based MMOs and free-to-play games will continue to require a Gold membership.

Microsoft announced today it will ease up on what Xbox Live functionality requires an Xbox Live Gold subscription, but online gaming--as it has since the original Xbox--remains behind that barrier. Unfortunately, that continues to be true even of MMOs and free-to-play games, both of which will continue to require a Gold membership.

Speaking with Joystiq, Xbox boss Phil Spencer said, "Right now we haven't changed the policy on MMOs and free-to-play games." He went on to suggest that altering that policy isn't as simple as it might seem, claiming that some games have "engineering constraints, policy constraints, and partner constraints in each one of these scenarios."

The same argument people have been making against the Xbox Live Gold requirement for services like Netflix extends to subscription-based MMOs, including The Elder Scrolls Online. Bethesda's MMO, like Netflix, carries a monthly subscription fee, yet an additional fee in the form of Xbox Live Gold will be required to play the game when it's released on the Xbox One later this year. Bethesda has said it's trying to get the fee dropped, but so far to no avail.

Free-to-play games are arguably affected even more by the Xbox Live Gold requirement, as it handicaps them by limiting the audience that can access them. GameSpot has reached out to Bethesda and World of Tanks maker Wargaming.net to see if any progress has been made in shedding the Gold requirement for their respective games.

Some of the moves made by Microsoft today--namely, dropping the Gold requirement for entertainment apps like Netflix and offering an Xbox One without Kinect for $399--appear to be attempts to erase the advantages the PlayStation 4 currently has. If the Gold requirement remains in place, that would be one area the PS4 continues to have an edge, as free-to-play games (like DC Universe Online) and subscription-based MMOs (like The Elder Scrolls Online) don't require a PlayStation Plus membership in order to be played.

Chris Pereira is a freelance writer for GameSpot, and you can follow him on Twitter @TheSmokingManX
Got a news tip or want to contact us directly? Email news@gamespot.com

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Twitter/Xbox Live/PSN/Nintendo Network: TheSmokingManX

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Discussion

45 comments
jemoedr
jemoedr

I hope they'll fail, hard.


It will result in developers stopping to produce games for such a stupid paid system, or them complaining to Microsoft about it. Forcing Microsoft to rethink that strategy.

RobDev
RobDev

"He went on to suggest that altering that policy isn't as simple as it might seem, claiming that some games have "engineering constraints, policy constraints, and partner constraints in each one of these scenarios." maybe he should speak to the sony engineers. they seem to have solved the problem quite easily. 

mortalsaw
mortalsaw

Console Peasants bending over to take it up the ... " Wallet"

semi74
semi74

Yes, my dear MS.  There are restrictions on many of the services that are behind the Gold paywall that you impose, noone else forces you, honey.

kerrman
kerrman

Already have Live so F2P games are no problem for me, and would never buy an MMO on a console, so I don't have to worry about that.

This whole argument doesn't affect me, but they should change the rules for F2P at least.

tiger2182
tiger2182

Lol, ok i'll give them credit where credit is due. The lightening up on the paywall is great. Lol but one thing I've noticed that makes me feel like a monkey staring at a math problem is the free to play behind a paywall. Who left that out? Ps4 has 3 free to play that i can play online without paying a fee except for microtransactions. So Um why is it 60 a year to play instead of , uh free, just asking. It kinda doesn't make sense. Wait a minute it does make sense to you guys at Microsoft, LOL. Wooo you guys know how to make me laugh. Good try though.

DutchZombie
DutchZombie

So it took Microsoft a 3 million gap behind Sony to provide almost as good of a deal as their rival. Well done Microsoft. Well done. You're going places (almost).

xhawk27
xhawk27

So if you want to play Mulitplayer games it'll cost you either on XBL or PSN. Who is only going to play a FTP or MMO game only. 


CyberLips
CyberLips

So not only do people pay for their Internet and the monthly subscription for MMOs, but for XLGold too....

jessie82
jessie82

i think psu on the 360 was playable with silver at first but required gold later on

glacius_x
glacius_x

Although you could still play FFXI if you were on silver for 360. Its not like they ever had a bunch of MMOs to do comparisons with any way.

kereke12
kereke12

People here complain more then ... Im not going to finish 

lostn
lostn

Good job Microsoft. Continue to keep barriers to entry high so that MMOs and F2P can fail on your platform.

Kinguard73
Kinguard73

"He went on to suggest that altering that policy isn't as simple as it might seem, claiming that some games have "engineering constraints, policy constraints, and partner constraints in each one of these scenarios."


Ok Phil that is as much pure lies as the DRM can't be easily switched off comment your predecessor claimed.


In the end they punish themselves because if some people hold genre' to heart it would be part of a major decision factor towards a purchase (I bought my PS4 to MMPO)

It's still a money grab period.

Darkangel2154
Darkangel2154

Just don't play sub based games.. problem solved lol They are not as good as ftp games with a 1 time fee of $60

Kjranu
Kjranu

Why would you want to tether yourself to the most un-American video game console since the Berlin wall fell? 

demondogx
demondogx

Why would someone play an MMORPG on a console anyway ?
Just seems very inconvenient

wookiegr
wookiegr

ohhhh... so... close.... Microsoft.

s_h_a_d_o
s_h_a_d_o

Phil Spencer ... went on to suggest that altering that policy isn't as simple as it might seem, claiming that some games have "engineering constraints, policy constraints, and partner constraints in each one of these scenarios."

MMO' money.

beuneus12
beuneus12

they can call their games 'xbox gold required to play' then :p

vadagar1
vadagar1

consoles suck what else is new?

jako998
jako998

Im very Sure If the xbox faanss and other People Make this complaint to Microsoft and is Heared by many, Microsoft will get rid of it as well im sure.

starhowl
starhowl

 That should be illegal.

gajbutler
gajbutler

Doesn't matter, TESO is going F2P as we speak, why it was delayed 6 months for consoles, to focus on the transition lol.

matthd
matthd

@jemoedr  Hoping ESO fails hard is a huge mistake if you like Bethesda's single player games.. The game going F2P would make it so it would take much longer for Bethesda to regain it's investment into Zenimax directly effecting Bethesdas single player games. 

AtlasTheStrong
AtlasTheStrong

@xhawk27  With PlayStation you don't need PS+ to play MMO's or F2P. Only games with Multiplayer like COD or BF.

Kinguard73
Kinguard73

@Darkangel2154 except I don't even get 60$ out of those games that aren't as good as most F2P not to mention Subscription based games.

AtlasTheStrong
AtlasTheStrong

@demondogx  If done right they work well, FFXIV work quite well, Even some PC players will use a controller. Their are others as well that do a ok job at doing it. Hopefully ESO is good on PS4.

Kinguard73
Kinguard73

@demondogx I use a keyboard and mouse on my 44 inch screen like it's a monitor it's not inconvenient at all for me =)

wookiegr
wookiegr

@demondogx  The same people that bitch if you own a gaming computer you must be rich.

RobDev
RobDev

@vadagar1  this console sucks. Thers none of these issues with the Ps4

Kinguard73
Kinguard73

@vadagar1 LOL except from a 400 dollar price point PC are the WORSE of the three gaming rigs. =) Oh and it's already proven and you can wine and whimper... wait please wine and whimper I want to laugh at your excuses that PC isn't crap compared to those console so I can laugh at you.

Pupchu
Pupchu

@vadagar1 spock, as elegant as he was, no longer makes irrefutable statements or shows concrete proof of Xbox's superiority

Pupchu
Pupchu

@tableofjapan But... people ARE dumb. I'm the only person on this planet that I can of that is a true genius.

Clovergirl227
Clovergirl227

@Kinguard73 @vadagar1A $400 PC would tear any console on the market wide open, especially since no console is $400 to actually play. Games are $10 more expensive and ontop of that it's $60 a year just to play online.Combine that with a higher power need and over eight years that $400 console with five games per year and XBLive jumps up to $1,280 in additional charges. Compare that to the PC, which has no such additional charges, still costs $400, and outperforms it by miles.

Pupchu
Pupchu

Holy spelling situation, Batman! o.@;