Games with Gold was initiated by Microsoft eleven months ago in what seemed to be an effort to keep up with Sony’s PlayStation Plus scheme. Where Xbox Live was once outright thought of as the superior online gaming service, Sony’s decision to give away free games regularly to paying subscribers began to tilt the favour in their direct. Games with Gold offered similar benefits, seeing Xbox Live Gold account holders offered two games per month for absolutely free. The games varied in quality and age (see: Hitman Absolution vs A World Of Keflings), but it’s hard to knock a free offering. Miss your chance to download them though, and they’re gone for ever (unless you, uh, buy them).
Now, to mark the one-year anniversary of the program, Microsoft is finally bringing Games with Gold to Xbox One. It’s understandable as to why it’s taken so long, seeing as at the launch of a new console games are at a relative premium, but they obviously feel that enough time has elapsed now that they can start giving out freebies.
This June Xbox One Gold subscribers will be able to download their first two titles – Halo: Spartan Assault and Max: The Curse of Brotherhood. Both are Xbox Live Arcade titles, so it’s not like you’re making off with a title that would have cost £50 a few months ago, but it’s a promising start.
Xbox 360 owners who’ve decided not to make the jump to next-gen (or should that be current gen?) yet have been richly rewarded for their loyalty, though. There’s three titles up for grabs, one more than usual, and two of them are absolute classics. There’s modern fantasy classic Dark Souls as well as the timeless Super Street Fighter IV: Arcade Edition, plus RPG/beat ’em up fusion indie title Charlie Murder. Not bad.