Starting next month, the “Games with Gold” program starts up on Xbox One. The version of the program, for Xbox 360, allows Gold subscribers 2 weeks to download a title free of charge. That game stays with the user, even if they let their gold subscription lapse or stop, altogether.
The version for Xbox One looks to be slightly different. While gamers with a gold subscription can download games, those games seem to be available for as long as the subscriber maintains a Gold subscription. Think of it like Xbox Music Pass: when you download a song, you maintain rights to play that song for as long as you’re an Xbox Music Pass subscriber.
The exact quote, from Xbox Wire’s announcement reads, as follows: “Members will have subscription-based access to free games ranging from top hits to breaking indie stars.”
I read this as being able to download “Max” and “Halo: SA” and play them, so long as I’m a gold subscriber. Once I stop subscribing, my rights to those games will expire as well. To hear others tell it, these are also games that are yours to keep regardless. I don’t see it working that way, keeping in mind there isn’t even a starting date for these titles to be available, like there are for the ones on Xbox 360.
Personally, though, I’m glad even a program of this style is coming to Xbox One. I planned on keeping my Gold subscription, so having games available to me in this manner allows me to play them, challenge friends, get some gamerscore, all without having to invest $60 a pop. Again, it’s like the Xbox Music Pass model — the chance to try music (in this case, games) out of your comfort zone with very little risk (and possibly great reward).
June is around the corner, and so we’ll all see just how this program actually works. My gut says that one gold subscription offers a games program for Xbox One and Xbox 360, but those games programs will work in two different ways.
We shall see.