Xbox Games with Gold is about to get a lot better. Or a lot worse, depending on how much you like Xbox 360 games.
Both Xbox Series X|S and Xbox One consoles are backwards compatible with older Xbox games. As such, users with an Xbox Live Gold subscription have been able to download Xbox 360 games each month as part of the Games with Gold monthly lineup.
But that's about to change. A user on the r/Games subreddit posted an official Microsoft email that confirms Games with Gold's Xbox 360 support is ending this October.
The email states that Xbox Live Gold users (or those who get its benefits as part of the Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscription tier) will stop seeing Xbox 360 games on the monthly service from October 1. The reason being that the company has "reached the limit of our ability to bring Xbox 360 games to the catalog."
It's not all bad news, though. In the same email, Microsoft confirmed that Games with Gold will continue running. Albeit with more Xbox One games to replace the 360 omissions.
Additionally, come October 1, you won't lose access to any Xbox 360 games you've downloaded via Games with Gold. If you've downloaded them even once, they're yours to keep for good.
The shot in the arm Games with Gold needed?
Xbox's Games with Gold has been a controversial service for some time now. Many have felt that the monthly offerings are severely lacking in comparison to the vast and evolving library offered by Xbox Game Pass. Not to mention those offered on rival subscriptions like PS Plus and Nintendo Switch Online.
Microsoft's comment about reaching the limit of available Xbox 360 games checks out, too. Last year, the tech giant added over 70 titles via backwards compatibility. And even back then, the company was adamant about that being the extent of their efforts.
I think removing Xbox 360 games from Games with Gold is for the best. While plenty of great 360 games have appeared on the service, their presence does have the unfortunate effect of making it look a bit dated. Swapping older games out for more recent Xbox One titles should help to modernize Games with Gold, at least a little.
Ultimately, Games with Gold is still somewhat anomalous among Xbox's various subscription tiers. Xbox Game Pass achieves the same goal of providing downloadable games on a regular basis, and many of them are day one releases.
Games with Gold feels like a relic in comparison. So much so that I wouldn't be surprised if the service eventually becomes fully absorbed into the Xbox Game Pass ecosystem somewhere down the line.
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Rhys is TRG's Hardware Editor, and has been part of the TechRadar team for more than two years. Particularly passionate about high-quality third-party controllers and headsets, as well as the latest and greatest in fight sticks and VR, Rhys strives to provide easy-to-read, informative coverage on gaming hardware of all kinds. As for the games themselves, Rhys is especially keen on fighting and racing games, as well as soulslikes and RPGs.
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