'Free play day' Xbox One game promo was a mistake, says Microsoft

But was it an on-purpose one?

Xbox One Free Play Day with Gold

Update: Unfortunately for Xbox One owners looking for free, limited-time game trials, the circumstances surrounding the "Free Play Day with Gold" posting have been called into question.

"A promotional tile for 'Max: Curse of the Brotherhood' was posted briefly on the US dash in error yesterday," a Microsoft spokesperson told Game Informer. "We apologize for any inconvenience. We're constantly exploring different ways to offer more benefits to our Xbox Live Gold members and will keep them updated when special offers become available."

Article continues below

The door remains open for the 24-hour free play period to make a comeback. It just doesn't seem like Microsoft is quite ready for that, yet.

Original article below...

Microsoft appears to be testing a feature that lets Xbox Live Gold members play full Xbox One games for up to 24 hours for free.

A Reddit user discovered on August 20 that Xbox One platformer Max: The Curse of Brotherhood had been listed under a new label - "Free Play Day with Gold" - in the console's Games With Gold section.

Other games in this section are free for Xbox Live Gold members permanently as long as they download them within the month, before a new set of games are added.

Microsoft hasn't mentioned any timed game trials before, but the feature would open a lot of doors for the Xbox One.

Think of the possibilities

For one thing the Xbox One has been criticized for not offering demos for all its games like the Xbox 360 before it.

Microsoft letting users test games out for a certain number of hours could solve that problem. Although that may not be the direction this "Free Play Day" is going, considering it's only for Xbox Live Gold members and applies to just a single game at this time, at least there's a system in place that could allow for more down the road.

But here's another possibility: Microsoft might one day fill the gaping hole that the death of Blockbuster left in our hearts and let users rent digital games for a set period of time, like Sony has started to do with PlayStation Now.

Whatever Microsoft decides to do with its newfound power to unlock games for set time periods, it's curious that the company hasn't mentioned this when talking about the many new Xbox One features coming in future updates. Even the Xbox Support Twitter account seems clueless.

Join the party

Other platforms, including Sony's PS3 and Steam, already offer timed full game unlocks.

On PS3, they're available for some games to PlayStation Plus members, though there's no indication yet of that feature is coming to PS4.

We contacted Microsoft to get the scoop on its new Free Play Day feature, which if it pans out should please fans looking for more options on Xbox One. We'll provide an update if we hear back.

In fact, the only people who won't appreciate the feature are the developers of games that can be completed within 24 hours.

Via Eurogamer