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Microsoft has announced that they will be rewarding Xbox 360 gamers with free Xbox One games. That's right, gamers who receive free games via the Games With Gold program will receive Xbox One games even if they don't own an Xbox One.
Over on the Major Nelson blog it was revealed that Microsoft is ramping up their output of free goods for dedicated Xbox 360 fans (and even people who aren't all that dedicated).
Larry Hryb keeps it short and sweet, describing the basic gist of the new program, writing...
“Starting today, Xbox Live Gold Members who don’t have an Xbox One yet can start building their library of Xbox One games directly from Xbox 360 by taking advantage of the Games With Gold program.“
If you're not sure exactly how you can get a hold of free Xbox One games released each month via the Games With Gold initiative, there's a very brief 14 second video showing Xbox 360 gamers where they can go through the dashboard to add the free games to their game library, even if said gamers don't own an Xbox One. Check it out below.
Of course, you can also access the free Xbox One games from over on the Xbox website if you have an Xbox Live Gold subscription.
Extending the offer to enable Xbox 360 owners to get the free games from the Games With Gold program right from the dashboard is an excellent way for Microsoft to start egging 360 owners toward an eventual transition to pick up an Xbox One.
I imagine Microsoft's logic is that if 360 gamers that have yet to upgrade to eighth gen are reluctant to dive in and throw their weight behind the PS4 or Xbox One – simply having access to Xbox Live Gold automatically enables 360 owners to the Xbox One's free monthly offerings.
Realistically, 360 gamers would find themselves building up a substantial Xbox One library every single month just by having Xbox Live Gold.
There's a very, very strong projected appeal for long-time Xbox Live subscribers to eventually make the leap because at the very least someone with a year of Xbox Live Gold will have 12 games to their library without having to put any money into the Xbox One. For special months like April, that 12 number is bumped up to 14. In fact, a few months of that and within a year you could have close to 20 free Xbox One games even if you don't own one.
I have to admit that it's a pretty slick deal to help influence 360 fence-sitters to lean closer to the black and green brand if they're subscribed to Xbox Live Gold. The only barrier to entry to a year's worth of free games is buying the console. It's a smart move by Microsoft, no doubt.
As much as I would usually decry Microsoft for their tactics and antics, this isn't that bad a deal.
Of course, compared to Steam sales and deals – anyone with a halfway decent PC can stock up on dozens of games during a Steam sale for the price of year's worth of Xbox Live Gold. So in a console-to-console comparison the Xbox Live Games With Gold program looks nice measured against something like PlayStation Plus, since even after your subscription runs out you get to keep your Xbox games. However, measured against Nintendo's free online service and backwards compatibility and Steam's amazing deals, I think this added initiative to win over 360 owners toward the Xbox One side is mostly aimed at people who were stuck between the Xbox One and PS4.