You can file this one under “it’s about time,” though I suspect for some people it can go under “too little too late.” For years, Microsoft only allowed those with Xbox Live Gold subscriptions to use applications like Netflix, Hulu, and even YouTube. I imagine that for a lot of gamers, this was never an issue, as anyone who wants to play online is likely already a Gold subscriber. That isn’t true for everyone, however, namely those who use Microsoft’s console as a media machine, which is something the company actively encourages.
While this won’t bring me back (at least to my 360), I’m happy to report that after years of perfectly reasonable complaints, Microsoft is dropping the Gold restriction and now those with lowly Xbox Live Silver accounts will be able to watch all the Netflix, Hulu, HBO Go, etc that they please. Xbox Live Silver account holders will also be able to use OneDrive (formerly Skydrive), Internet Explorer, and OneGuide. Online gaming will still require Gold, but most if not all other online services won’t.
Of course, Xbox Live Gold users still get Games for Gold, which is as good a reason as any to keep the service. That, and Microsoft is promising future Gold-exclusive sales that will feature hefty discounts.
Xbox Live Silver users can start binge-watching their favorite shows in June.