It’s never really made a whole lot of sense: to use Netflix or Hulu on an Xbox 360 or Xbox One, you need an Xbox Live Gold subscription. So, to use something you’re already paying monthly for, on your $300-$500 device, you’d… need to pay another monthly subscription.
It’s something people have casually complained about for nearly a decade now, though most put up with it because Netflix/Hulu/et al. were more like icing on the cake (the cake being a really, really damned good multiplayer service) than main attractions. If this report by arstechnica holds true, though, that awkward little asterisk may finally be going away.
Update: Sure enough, Microsoft has just announced that Xbox Live Gold will no longer be required for Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, Twitch, Redbox, and all of their other “entertainment” apps. It sounds like they’re keeping Gold around as a requirement for multiplayer, but streaming/multimedia apps will be free of extra fees.
You’d still need a Netflix or Hulu subscription, of course — but beyond that, select streaming services would just work on both the Xbox 360 and the Xbox One, no Gold subscription required. As it should be. As it should’ve been years ago, really.
At this point, it’d probably be hard to find a media streamer/blu-ray player/TV/etc. on the shelves at Best Buy that doesn’t do Netflix/Hulu/etc. (with no additional charges) right out of the box. Both the PS4 and the WiiU chew through Netflix and Hulu without blinking an eye. It’s no longer even any sort of icing; now it’s just a standard bulletpoint.
Like the original report, I’m hearing that Microsoft is still trying to work out exactly which streaming services should go Gold-less. If they take the Gold restrictions off one or two (especially if it’s the main draws, like Netflix and Hulu) streaming services, how do they justify leaving them on any? Changing a policy thats been in place for a decade is hard — but in this case, it’s long, long over due.