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Microsoft nixs Xbox Live Gold requirement for Netflix, Hulu

Starting in June, Xbox owners will be able to stream Netflix and Hulu Plus without a $60-per-year Gold membership.


Editor's note: In addition to announcing a new $399 Xbox One, Microsoft on Tuesday said the Xbox One and Xbox 360 will no longer require a Live Gold subscription to access streaming apps like Netflix, Hulu Plus, YouTube, and HBO Go. The following story has been updated to reflect this information.

Microsoft will soon join the myriad competitors that don't require customers to overcome a paywall in order to watch Netflix and Hulu Plus.

Microsoft on Tuesday announced that starting in June an Xbox Live Gold membership will no longer be required for Xbox 360 and Xbox One owners to access streaming apps like Netflix, Hulu Plus, YouTube, and HBO Go. Arstechnica, which was first to report on Microsoft's plans to allow free access to Netflix and Hulu Plus, said Microsoft may decide to put other services behind the Xbox Live Gold paywall to make up for the change. It is unclear whether this would include existing services or only upcoming content.

Microsoft was the only major game company that requireed gamers to pay for its $60-a-year Xbox Live Gold service in order to stream Netflix and Hulu Plus. Neither Sony nor Nintendo place such restrictions on their consoles, and several set-top boxes, including Apple TV, Roku, and the recently launched Amazon Fire TV, also allow for access to Netflix without requiring customers to pay extra.

Starting in June, Microsoft said anyone with an Xbox will be able to access entertainment services including: gaming apps Machinima, Twitch, and Upload; 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 and Game Center. There are services that will remain exclusive for Xbox Live Gold subscribers, including the Games for Gold program, cloud gave saves, and Game DVR.