Xbox Live’s Free Game Program Is Changing In Some Big Ways

Xbox Live’s Free Game Program Is Changing In Some Big Ways
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Xbox Live is going the way of PlayStation Plus — starting in June, when the ‘Games with Gold’ program launches on Xbox One, free games downloaded with the program will not stay on your account if you deactivate Xbox Live Gold.

So if you’re an Xbox Live Gold member, you’ll be able to get free Xbox One games every month — you just won’t be able to play them once you stop paying the monthly fee. In other words, Xbox One’s ‘Games with Gold’ will work identically to Sony’s PlayStation Plus program.

On Xbox 360, the Games with Gold program will work the same as it did before. Games you downloaded for free will remain on your account.

Announced today along with the Xbox-minus-Kinect bombshell, this new version of Games With Gold will offer Dark Souls, Charlie Murder, and Super Street Fighter IV: Arcade Edition as free games for Xbox 360 in June. Free games for Xbox One next month will be Max: The Curse of Brotherhood and Halo: Spartan Assault.

Microsoft also announced plans to offer big discounts to Xbox Live Gold members starting with Ryse and Forza Motorsport 5 this June.


  • Xbox Liveis finally playing catchup with PS+, but sorta seems like its only trying to equal PS+. However IMO PS+ has a humongous headstart so XBOX should give much more value than PS+ to cover the ground it lost. It doesnt seem to the case here; offering equal or less value than PS+

    • Most definitely equal. Its a more established platform the PS+ from being a paid platform for longer. It has more servers, and a similar population if not more (across the two platforms at least).

      XBL isn’t behind in anything now that its catered to the complainers about Kinect and the “oh but PS does this” for games with gold.

  • I already bought Dark Souls on XBL (best $10 I ever spent) but everyone who doesn’t have it should Praise the sun and get it free!

  • pretty cool that they are removing Gold requirements for YouTube. I am a gold member but the connection is so finicky that Xbox live will disconnect for a half second and even though i have an entire video buffered it kicks you out of the app. So i am glad they are fixing that.

  • Awesome, I can finally play dark souls. I’ve been putting off playing it but this seems like the perfect time to play it. Also glad I get some One games for free.

  • Can you claim this stuff on the net or does it have to be on the console? I’d grab a free copy of Spartan Assault for when I eventually end up getting an XB1 if I could

    Not really a fan of them going the PS+ way of free games being a long term rental though, being able to actually own the games was the most significant advantage of games with gold

    • Can you claim this stuff on the net or does it have to be on the console?I too would like to know the answer to this

      being able to actually own the games was the most significant advantage of games with goldSure, with the tradeoff being that they were generally really old and/or crap. Magic 2013 was the only game I’ve been interested in so far that I didn’t already have. Although I’m looking forward to Saints Row III next week!

      • Unless they have a deal where publishers get a tiny fraction of each new gold sub fee, I don’t see a difference for them between giving away a contemporary game to keep and giving away a contemporary game as a long term rental. The publisher still doesn’t see a sale and the kind of people who buy a 1 month gold sub to get a single free new game would be so infinitesimal as to be functionally irrelevant. Hell, even counter that by only making the deal applicable to 3, 6 (do they exist?) or 12 month memberships. They already have a mechanism in place where they can apply different permissions to 2 or 14 day trial live gold time, it’d not be hard to expand that to 1 month subs, perhaps to incentivise longer memberships, they could let 12 month subs keep the games and the smaller subs keep them as long as their gold continues.

        It’s also not like the PS+ games are the shiniest of the shiny either, the ones for may seem to be all around 6 months old, granted a shitload newer than offering Rainbow Six Vegas, Halo 3 or Gears Of War which had 7-8 years of dust on them but those were at least damned good games.

    • You can claim it for 360, not sure if you will be able to for One since apparently you wont own the game, it’s just a long term rental.

  • I hate to be the guy that whinges about everything, but I’d MUCH rather see competitive pricing in the XBL store generally rather than be “rewarded” with the occasionally good deal.

    A 50-75% off special isn’t necessarily a great deal when you’re downloading a title that is normally sold for $20+ more than a retail copy on launch day.
    MS rants on about their online, discless gaming plans and then charges $99 to download Titanfall when I could have bought a physical copy from JB-HIFI for $78 on launch day!

    I’d much rather download games if I can, having them on the HDD is a wonderful convenience, but the prices MS charges are disgracefully greedy.

  • Wait, so now Games for Gold is still just giving us bloody arcade games, and we can’t even keep them? Microsoft are really kicking their consumers in the balls today.

  • Hey Microsoft. You need to release some games first! A heads-up for us Australians on what Apps we won’t be getting would be nice too…

  • What do we get?
    Crackle – Public domain B-movies.
    Tenplay – nothing but clips of what aired on free-to-air.
    TED – A Youtube Channel as an App.
    Machinima – been crap since they shutdown their website and turned into a variety show.
    Youtube – a lame version of the 360 youtube app, with mirrored and flipped controls. Also, no Watch Later or unsubscribe buttons. Or any other buttons for that matter…
    SBSonDemand – Not updated properly since LNP came into power (go figure) – ie SBS world news a day late and not even uploaded most of the time – but hey, how bout some unsubtitled North Korean news?!

    • The Xbox 360 YouTube app has been broken for me for weeks. The Xbox 360 SBS app is always missing content that is available on the website such as Vikings and Fargo.

  • Internet Explorer – single windowed, windows internet browser for console. No mouse support. No FLV support (flash video – the format used by 99% of the web for in-browser video streaming.)

  • Well, I’m glad they’re adding Xbox one to the Games with Gold program, even if they are limiting it the same way PS+ does. Much better than what we had.

    I just hope that, since I am sharing my wife’s gold subscription (something Xbox One allows you to do) I will also be able to play games downloaded through her account without having to pay again.

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