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Windows 10 Xbox Gold program could happen, but online gaming would remain free

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As Windows gaming and Xbox One become much more similar experiences with the coming release of Windows 10, it does raise the question of what sort of plans Microsoft might have for an Xbox Live Gold system on computers.

Don't worry, said Mike Ybarra, who leads engineering efforts for console and PC at Microsoft, the company knows that it wouldn't be acceptable to charge for online multiplayer for PC games.

"It will remain free on PC," he said.

While there are some exceptions, like World of Warcraft and other massively multiplayer online games, the norm is that multiplayer gaming on PC doesn't come with an additional cost, he said.

On both the Xbox One ($60 annually) and PlayStation 4 ($50 annually), that isn't the case.

While charging for online gaming won't be making the leap from Xbox One's Gold program, the company is looking at how it could introduce a paid Gold plan for PC gamers.

"In terms of anything around the Gold program that we might bring to PC, we think there is a lot of value on the console with that above and beyond multiplayer," Ybarra said. "But we don't have anything to announce on the PC side of things yet."

That value means things like Games with Gold, which offers both free games to subscribers and discounts.

Would you pay a subscription fee for a steady stream of monthly titles and discounts on Windows PC?