Will Be An "Ongoing Benefit" Past Xbox One Launch
Microsoft's Games With Gold scheme, which lets Xbox Live Gold subscribers download and keep some free games refreshed twice-monthly, won't stop once the next console generation starts.
The sweetener, which currently includes Halo 3 and previously featured Defense Grid, Crackdown, Dead Rising 2 and Assassin's Creed II, was initially announced to run until the new year, but Microsoft have now confirmed that there's no official endpoint. It will become an "ongoing benefit" for all XBL Gold subscribers.
"Whether they are blockbuster AAA or popular arcade titles, Games with Gold continues to offer a diverse mix of games with two free Xbox 360 titles a month – yours to keep and at no additional cost," crows the post on Xbox Wire. "According to recent surveys, 97 percent of participating members have given their stamp of approval for Games with Gold, and we’re excited to continue bringing you great games every month as part of our ongoing commitment to providing great value on Xbox 360."
Games With Gold has understandably attracted no small amount of criticism for its choice of older titles that most players already own, especially when compared to PlayStation Plus' monstrous Instant Game Collection. However, it's worth noting that Sony's optional scheme has to tempt gamers into spending extra money, whereas Xbox Live Gold is a mandatory purchase for playing online, meaning that Microsoft is under little pressure to even run it in the first place. I should also probably mention that you get to keep your downloaded games if you cancel your Gold Subscription, as opposed to losing access to them if your PS Plus subscription expires.
Once the Xbox One and PS4 launch, Microsoft might well find themselves under pressurised to offer a more "diverse mix of games" when PlayStation Plus also becomes essential for online play, and the two incentive schemes are suddenly placed into direct competition.
Anyway, free games. Free old games. Have you taken advantage of it?