Games with Gold is getting a significant change that some subscribers probably won’t like. Subscribers to the Xbox Live Gold service should have received an email last week stating that Xbox 360 games will no longer be added to the monthly lineup of games you can claim and keep as part of Games with Gold.
The change to the service will go into effect in October 2022 and from then on will only feature games from Xbox One. The reasoning behind the change provided by Microsoft is that it has exhausted the limit of which games can be added to the service from the Xbox 360 lineup.
Games With Gold started way back in July of 2013, where it brought two free Xbox 360 games for Xbox Live Gold subscribers to claim for ownership with no additional cost; it is quite similar to the free games perk provided on Sony’s PlayStation Plus service. Xbox One games were added to the service the following year.
Since the introduction of the Backwards Compatibility program, Microsoft has doubled down on making Xbox 360 games playable as part of its monthly offerings, with the occasional OG Xbox title. But have no worry, while future Xbox and Xbox 360 additions are coming to an end, Microsoft said players can continue to download any games they redeemed.
It’s worth noting that due to a difference in how the service was setup, you don’t need to remain subscribed to Xbox Live Gold to continue downloading or playing any Xbox and Xbox 360 games you’ve redeemed from the service. That’s as opposed to Xbox One games claimed through the service, which require an active Live Gold subscription (or Game Pass Ultimate).
Microsoft has made it clear that they’ve reached the limit of their capability to bring in new games to the catalog due to licensing, legal and technical constraints. This was echoed recently as well when we got to hear from Jason Ronald via Twitter about the challenges of backwards compatibility in relation to bringing back games from Xbox 360.
This development may be the first step towards a rebranding for Xbox Live Gold if not an outright dissolution of the service. Microsoft could possibly be consolidating its various services under Game Pass. But for now, we eagerly await for what’s to come with Xbox Live Gold’s future.
Xbox Live Gold is currently available standalone or in a bundle with Xbox Game Pass Ultimate, which also included Xbox Game Pass, PC Game Pass, EA Play, and Xbox Cloud Gaming.