Microsoft continues to push its ever-popular, ever-growing Xbox Game Pass gaming subscription as the premier offering for Xbox players. However, the long-running Games with Gold program continues chugging along on Xbox Live Gold as well. It is a little perplexing when side-by-side, but Xbox still continues to offer two different avenues for acquiring and playing free games. Standard Gold members still get Games with Gold every month, while Xbox Game Pass subscribers get that whole library instantly, and Game Pass Ultimate subscribers get both. However, the selection of games each month in 2020 has left fans wondering why Games with Gold still exists.
In the wake of Xbox Game Pass' ever-increasing popularity, Xbox Live's Games with Gold program continues to emphasize its redundancy problem. Not only is Xbox Game Pass the main marketing push for Microsoft, but the offering of "free games" there is far more enticing compared to what's been offered with Xbox Live's Games with Gold. Those with Xbox Game Pass Ultimate still get both regardless, but even with Games with Gold offering games "free-to-own," the game selection is comparatively weaker. Even compared to similar program like PS Plus, Games with Gold still pales in comparison to what PlayStation, and even Xbox itself, is already doing.
The most obvious reason as to why Games with Gold could end is how it compares to the Xbox Game Pass library. Even comparing the evolution of the Game Pass library to Games with Gold's month-to-month offering since 2017 (Game Pass launched in June 2017), the two services don't even compare. To be fair, up until April of 2019, Xbox Game Pass and Xbox Live Gold used to be separate services that each had their own perks and subscription rates. However, when Xbox Game Pass Ultimate bundled Xbox Live Gold and Game Pass together, that's when Games with Gold started to develop issues of redundancy and, more recently, irrelevance.
As the months went on, that's when it became clear that Xbox Game Pass was quickly becoming the superior "free games" style service. Not only did Xbox Game Pass bring over 100 games from the get-go in 2017, but it's also ballooned to the 500 titles that are available right now, as soon as players sign up for the service. Games with Gold only doles out games for a limited time each month before they're no longer free, and there's been virtually no repeat offers. Xbox Game Pass not only features games on its service for months at a time, but first-party Xbox games like Halo and now Fallout or The Elder Scrolls will be on the service day-and-date with their retail release dates.
This also leads to another big problem with Games with Gold, now that Xbox Game Pass is the main focus: the game selection is comparatively lacking most of the time. While January's Games with Gold actually brought some incredible games like Dead Rising and Little Nightmares, rarely is Games with Gold as good as that. That's not to say that the games themselves are bad, but compared to the sheer number of critically-acclaimed titles on Game Pass, and it really pales in comparison. Even PlayStation Plus offers a better selection of games each month, even if it's only two/three games compared to the usual four on Xbox Live's Games with Gold.
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