Microsoft announced this week that, starting in October, it will stop providing monthly free Xbox 360 games as part of its Games With Gold program. Emails announcing the news have started going out to Xbox Live subscribers, and Microsoft promises it will continue to give out free Xbox One games moving forward.
Games With Gold launched in 2013 as a response to PlayStation’s monthly game giveaways for PS Plus members. The service is part of Xbox Live Gold and Game Pass Ultimate. Beginning with Fable III in June 2013 Microsoft has provided players with at least one free Xbox 360 game every month. All of these games, since 2015, have also been backward compatible with Xbox One and later Xbox Series X/S consoles. But all good things must come to an end...
I got my warning email regarding the news just a few hours ago. In the email, Microsoft says it has “reached the limit of our ability to bring Xbox 360 games to the catalog” but says it plans to continue to offer “Xbox One titles and exclusive savings each month.”
Here’s the full email statement:
Beginning October 1, 2022, the monthly games provided to Xbox Game Pass Ultimate and Xbox Live Gold members via Games with Gold will no longer include Xbox 360 titles.
We have reached the limit of our ability to bring Xbox 360 games to the catalog; however, Games with Gold will continue to include exciting Xbox One titles and exclusive savings each month.
This will not impact any Xbox 360 games that you downloaded before October 2022. Any Xbox 360 titles that you redeem via Games with Gold before that time are yours to keep on your Xbox account, regardless of whether you continue your subscription.
Thank you for being a loyal member.
As for your potentially large library of free Xbox 360 games, they are safe and sound. Microsoft explained that all of those games will continue to be downloadable and playable after October. Even better, all of these games will remain in your digital library regardless if you end your Xbox Live Gold or Game Pass membership.
While losing free games is always a bit sad, today with Game Pass, I’ve always seen Games With Gold as a bit of a relic. In fact, just a few weeks ago I was looking at some of the recent Xbox 360 freebies we received and was wondering just how much longer Microsoft planned to keep things going. Turns out, until October.
Now the question is: How much longer does Games With Gold, or even Xbox Live Gold, remain before Microsoft moves on in an effort to bring everyone to Game Pass. Time will tell.