Update: Microsoft has confirmed changes to the paywall and much more. Not only are subscription services moving in front of the Xbox Live membership fee, but the company is dropping Kinect from the Xbox One. For more, read our additional coverage.

Original Story:

According to new reports, Microsoft is set to reconfigure the services tied to Xbox Live Gold membership. Among the candidates are Netflix, Hulu, and other streaming apps currently only available to paying members.

Ars Technica reports multiple sources confirming the change. The publication suggests that other offerings might take the place of those becoming available to all console owners soon. Of course, you will still need a Netflix, Hulu, or other service subscription to access the content. You just won't need an Xbox Live Gold account also, according to the report.

The change is reportedly for both Xbox One and Xbox 360, which would bring parity with other platforms to both with regard to external subscription offerings. We’ve reached out to Microsoft for clarification and will update should we receive a response.

[Source: Ars Technica]


Our Take
If accurate, this is an important move for Microsoft. Last generation, the company was able to boast a faster, more stable network to justify the Xbox Live membership (and as a paying member, I didn’t mind the fee in exchange for reliability). Microsoft is still facing stiff consumer criticism for the mandatory Kinect, higher price tag, slimmer free-with-membership game offerings, and paywall practices. This move would start to chip away at some of the negative points.

I'm curious to see if Microsoft also puts games like The Elder Scrolls Online and free-to-play titles in front of the paywall, too. A similar question exists for the Game DVR and Upload Studio services that are currently restricted to Gold members.