Xbox Games with Gold is about to get better. Or much worse, depending on how much you like Xbox 360 games.
Xbox Series X|S and Xbox One consoles are backward compatible with previous Xbox games. Therefore, users with an Xbox Live Gold subscription were able to download Xbox 360 games each month as part of the monthly Games with Gold schedule.
But that's about to change. A user on the r/Games subreddit posted an official email from Microsoft (opens in a new tab) confirming that Xbox 360 support for Games with Gold will end in October.
The email states that Xbox Live Gold users (or those who receive their benefits as part of the Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscription level) will stop watching Xbox 360 games on the monthly service starting October 1. The reason is that the company has "reached the limit of our ability to bring Xbox 360 games to the catalog."
(Image credit: Microsoft)
However, not all bad news. In the same email, Microsoft confirmed that Games with Gold would continue to work. But with more Xbox One games to replace the 360 omissions.
Plus, on October 1, you won't lose access to Xbox 360 games you've downloaded through Games with Gold. If you have downloaded them even once, they are yours forever.
The necessary Games with Gold shot in the arm?
Xbox Games with Gold has been a controversial service for quite some time. Many felt that the monthly deals were dwarfed by the vast and growing library that Xbox Game Pass offers. Not to mention the ones offered on competing subscriptions like PS Plus and Nintendo Switch Online.
Microsoft's comment about reaching the limit of available Xbox 360 games is also verified. Last year, the tech giant added more than 70 titles through backwards compatibility. And even then, the company insisted that was the extent of its efforts.
I think removing Xbox 360 games from Games with Gold is the best solution. While many excellent 360 games have appeared on the service, their presence has the unfortunate effect of making it feel a bit dated. Swapping out older games for newer Xbox One titles should help modernize Games with Gold, at least a bit.
Ultimately, Games with Gold remains something of an anomaly among the various Xbox subscription tiers. Xbox Game Pass achieves the same goal of offering downloadable games on a regular basis, and many of them are day one releases.
Games with gold seem like a relic in comparison. So much so that I wouldn't be surprised if the service ends up being fully absorbed into the Xbox Game Pass ecosystem at some point.