As of September 16, Gate 2 will be the last Xbox 360 game available for free to Xbox Live subscribers through the Games for Gold program.
Microsoft told subscribers in July that their monthly Games with Gold deals “will no longer include Xbox 360 titles” as of October 1 because “we have reached the limit of our ability to include Xbox 360 games in the catalog.” However, the Games with Gold program will continue to offer free monthly Xbox One games, as it has since 2015.
Xbox 360 owners who have subscribed to Xbox Live Gold since Games with Gold began in 2013 have gained access to more than 200 games through the program, as long as they logged in to claim those games during its half-month availability window. . That’s not bad value for a subscription that has remained priced at $60 per year for that entire period, despite recent threats from Microsoft to raise the price.
While Microsoft stopped producing Xbox 360 hardware in 2016, all but a few Games for Gold offerings in the system library have been backwards compatible on Xbox One (and, more recently, Xbox Series X/S). ). Redeemed Games with Gold titles can still be played and re-downloaded even after a user also cancels an Xbox Live Gold subscription.
Interestingly, September’s Games with Gold deals also include Thrillvillean Xbox original title that was made compatible with the latest Xbox hardware in November 2021. This is only the 19th original Xbox game to be offered through the Games with Gold program, and it’s the first since Conker: Live and Reloaded it was added in July 2021.
In recent years, Microsoft has faced persistent rumors that it is planning to phase out its Xbox Live Gold subscriptions in favor of more expensive and expansive Xbox Game Pass subscriptions. Microsoft shut down those rumors in August 2020, saying in a statement that Xbox Live “is an important part of gaming on Xbox today and will continue to be so in the future.” However, back in July, VentureBeat reporter Jeff Grubb said on the Giant Bomb podcast that he “just wanted to reiterate that Xbox Live Gold is still on a board somewhere that says ‘this will go away at some point.'”
Last year, Microsoft finally dropped the Xbox Live Gold subscription requirement for users to play free-to-play titles online, matching an exception Sony has had since 2014.