Update: The rumor is true. Netflix isn't the only app losing its paywall, though.
Original article: Paywalls. Do you like paywalls? I hate paywalls. If you pay for something you should get something for it. Paying for nothing is thievery. There's no way ways around it unless you're a banker on Wall Street or a politician who partook in the government shutdown last year.
Barring any of the aforementioned constituents above, everyone is getting pretty excited about the potentiality of Microsoft breaking down the paywall requirement for the Netflix app on the Xbox One.
For those of you who are about as out of the loop as Donald Sterling is with the 14th amendment, the Xbox One used to have a paywall requirement for the majority of its apps. Users were able to download the apps for free, but services like Internet Explorer, YouTube, Twitch, Netflix and Skype all required a paid subscription to Xbox Live Gold in order to use the apps.
Well, previously we informed you about Skype and its group chat features becoming free for Xbox One users, which is a huge win for gamers who like to communicate and perform “exhibitory” acts for the NSA... without being charged for it.
Today, Ars Technica is reporting that the Netflix app on the Xbox One may no longer require an extra Xbox Live subscription to access. And for those of you who really don't get this: Yes, you have to pay to access an app and then pay a separate fee for the app's subscription. It's as absurd as it sounds and as stupid as you think it is (and if you don't think it's stupid, well you must be rich enough to flush dollar bills down the toilet when you take a dump).
If this is true, this is a much needed upgrade for the accessibility of the Xbox One's features, and a hefty downgrade of greed for Microsoft. As we all know, the Xbox Live silver services (the free version of Live) has always been notoriously restrictive, as pointed out in the comparison image below.
According to Ars, however, this isn't all roses and lollipops (as if it ever is when discussing something good about the Xbox One?) the article states that...
“Additionally, we've been told that Xbox Live Gold may put other services behind the paywall to make up for this shift, though those sources could not confirm whether that includes existing services or if that only includes upcoming content like TV series from Xbox Entertainment Studios.”
I suppose it definitely makes sense to put their exclusive digital shows behind the paywall (although, I don't think anyone ever expected anything different). What could be pretty terrible is if they decide to put other things back behind the paywall. Although, they certainly couldn't put anymore games behind the paywall because they would actually need games in the first place to put behind the paywall.
I suspect that Ars has it right, and their shows are likely the ones to end up behind the paywall.
Keep in mind that this policy – putting everything that's free to access on every single other platform in the technological existence of man behind a paywall – was put into place by Don “Titanic” Mattrick, the guy who took the fall for the Xbox One's summer of DRM.
Under the new leadership of the Xbox division's head honcho, Phil Spencer, it's possible that we could be seeing a reversal in some of the more ridiculous and unsavory policies that worked as a prime-time marketing machine for the PS4 (and even the Wii U).
Hopefully, the removal of the paywall requirement for Netflix will be one of the many new improvements coming to the Xbox One at E3 this year. Or is that too much like hoping Mel Gibson could attend a bar mitzvah without dropping the 'K' bomb?