Microsoft has always locked Xbox owners into its Xbox Live Gold subscription service to access streaming apps like Netflix and Hulu, but that's finally changed.
Ars Technica also reported that other services would be placed behind the Xbox Live Gold paywall to compensate for the free entertainment apps, but it’s not clear exactly which those will be.
The change is being linked directly to the departure of former Xbox chief Don Mattrick, who left Microsoft last year after a confusing Xbox One launch following controversy over initial plans to make the new console require an internet connection.
It could also pave the way for a rumored low-cost Xbox "TV" set-top-box.
The Xbox subscription changes closely follow similar alterations to Skype’s Premium service.
Microsoft recently made Skype group video calling free, unbundling it from an $8.99 monthly subscription charge.
Update May 13th, AM: On May 13th, Microsoft confirmed that users would be able to stream entertainment apps without paying for apps starting in June.
The original article has been updated to reflect this.
Xbox owners without an Xbox Live Gold membership will now be able to access more than 180 apps like Netflix, ESPN and HBO Go for free.
Microsoft is rolling out its June update globally this week, which comes with a bevy of improvements to both the Xbox One and Xbox 360.
Perhaps the most notable change is the ability to use those apps without having to purchase a Xbox Live Gold membership, which was previously required.
Xbox One owners will now also be able to use Skype, One Drive and One Guide without a membership. Other streaming media competitors like Sony, Apple and Roku have never charged extra in exchange for access to apps like Netflix and Hulu, and the Xbox Live Gold memberships were a nice revenue generator for Microsoft.