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Xbox Live officially dropping Gold requirement for entertainment apps

Netflix, HBO Go, Twitch and more accessible free starting in June

Microsoft will no longer require an Xbox Live Gold subscription to access Netflix and other entertainment apps starting in June.

The decision reverses a longstanding Microsoft policy that gated access to the apps - even those that require a separate subscription fee, such as Netflix - behind Xbox Live Gold's annual fee. Xbox 360 and Xbox One owners will be able to access them at no additional charge.

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"This includes great gaming apps like Machinima, Twitch and Upload, popular 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 Game Center and more," Xbox boss Phil Spencer announced on Xbox.com. "Microsoft experiences including Internet Explorer, Skype, OneDrive and OneGuide will also be available to all Xbox customers."

Access to online multiplayer, free Games with Gold, Deals with Gold, and other Xbox Live Gold features will still require a paid subscription to the service.

The change in policy, which surfaced in rumors this week, brings Xbox Live Gold's offerings closer to PlayStation Plus on PS4: both offer online multiplayer and exclusive deals to subscribers while allowing all internet-connected users substantial access to entertainment services.

Spencer also announced that Microsoft will sell a Kinect-less Xbox One package for $399 USD / £349 GBP starting on June 9.

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