Microsoft announced a new benefit for Xbox Live Gold members during its E3 2013 media briefing, with many people viewing the Games with Gold program as a scramble to counter-punch Sony’s PlayStation Plus features. Looks like it’s not a sucker punch after all. Microsoft has announced that the Games with Gold program, originally a temporary promo, has been elevated to a permanent feature.
Microsoft revealed that since the program kicked off at E3, Xbox Live Gold members have played more than 120 million hours with Games with Gold titles. Due to that popularity, the console manufacturer has decided to make Games with Gold “an ongoing benefit for Xbox Live Gold members on Xbox 360.”
It’s unclear whether the Games with Gold membership will be a fixture on the upcoming Xbox One console as well. At this juncture that’s likely scenario, because with momentum now appearing to be back on Microsoft’s side, the company will want to avoid any mis-steps as it prepares for the launch of Sony’s PlayStation 4 one week before the Xbox One. Sony’s PS4 release date is Nov. 15; the Xbox One release date is Nov. 22.
Games that have been included in the Xbox 360′s Games with Gold program have included Assassin’s Creed 2, Crackdown and Fable, among others. The game currently available for free download via Xbox Live is Halo 3. Xbox Live Gold members can get Halo 3 for free now through Oct. 31. We’re still waiting to hear what the Games with Gold will be for the month of November.
In announcing that the program is a permanent fixture, Microsoft said “whether they are blockbuster AAA or popular arcade titles, Games with Gold continues to offer a diverse mix of games with two free Xbox 360 titles a month – yours to keep and at no additional cost. According to recent surveys, 97 percent of participating members have given their stamp of approval for Games with Gold, and we’re excited to continue bringing you great games every month as part of our ongoing commitment to providing great value on Xbox 360.”
As additional news comes out clarifying whether the Games with Gold program will continue on Xbox One, we’ll be sure to bring you the details.