Each month, Microsoft provides Xbox Live subscribers with a selection of free games for the Xbox One and Xbox 360 through a program called Games with Gold. If you are a subscriber, you should take advantage of this promotion, even if you don’t own one or either console. Here’s how.
If you do pay for Xbox Live Gold—at a cost of $59.99 per year, though there are occasionally deals that lower the price—you qualify for Games with Gold. It’s basically a perk of the Xbox Live Gold subscription.
Here’s how it works.
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Generally speaking, Xbox One users get one free game per month, whereas Xbox 360 users—benefitting from that console’s enormous game library—get two, with the first available from the 1st of the month through the 15th and the second available for the remainder of the month. But there are exceptions where each console gets even more games. And of course there are new games each month.
The games are made available digitally (what Microsoft calls Games on Demand), meaning you can download them from your console, or you can just add them to your games collection from any web browser on a PC or other device. And that’s the second tip here: Even if you don’t own an Xbox One or 360, you can grab each of the free games as they appear each month. So if you do buy a console in the future, you’ll have a nice little collection of games to start with too. There is no reason not to download all of the available games as they appear. You just have to make it happen each month.
Going forward, I will provide a heads-up about each month’s Games with Gold offerings. And I’ll provide links to the Xbox Store on the web so you can visit the site, sign-in with your Microsoft account (which is also your Xbox Live Gamertag) and grab the games, adding them to your cloud-based games collection. Later, you can download the games to your console(s).
We’re already past the halfway point of this month—sorry, this site didn’t launch until after January 15, 2015—so two games are currently available for free, one each on the Xbox One and Xbox 360. They are:
Xbox One: This month’s game is D4: Dark Dreams Don’t Die (normally $14.99 USD).
Xbox 360: For the second half of January, the free game is The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings (normally $29.99 ERP).
In each case, you’ll see the original price on the web site, but when you click the purchase button you’ll see it’s free.