Do you want to get exciting new games to play on your Xbox without spending any money? The good news is – you can! Xbox Live Gold members get up to 24 free games to download each year through the Games with Gold program.
In this comprehensive guide, I‘ll show you as a fellow Xbox gamer how you can find and download free games to expand your library every month with an Xbox Live Gold membership.
By the end, you‘ll know how to claim free games through the Games with Gold program so you never miss out on Xbox‘s best perk for Gold subscribers. Let‘s dive in and maximize the value from your Xbox Live Gold membership!
What is Xbox Live Gold and How Does Games with Gold Work?
For anyone new to Xbox, Gold is a paid subscription service from Microsoft that unlocks online multiplayer gaming, exclusive member discounts on Xbox games and DLC, and access to free games each month through Games with Gold.
An Xbox Live Gold membership currently costs $9.99 per month, $24.99 per 3 months, or $59.99 per year. Xbox Game Pass Ultimate bundles Xbox Live Gold with access to over 100 games for $14.99 monthly.
With an active Xbox Live Gold membership, you can download select Xbox One, Series X/S, and backwards compatible Xbox 360 games for free each month.
New games are made available around the 1st and 15th of each month. In total, Gold members get 24 free games across Xbox One/Series X and Xbox 360 per year, or two free games per month.
According to Microsoft, these free games are hand-picked each month and are worth over $700 annually. Once claimed, Xbox One and Series X/S games are yours to keep and play as long as you have an active Xbox Live account.
Why You Should Download Free Games Each Month
As an Xbox gamer myself, I never miss out on grabbing each month‘s free Games with Gold titles. Here are some excellent reasons why you should download the free games too:
Play More Games for Less – Downloading each month‘s free games allows you to expand your gaming library and discover new favorites without spending any extra money. Who doesn‘t love free stuff?
Huge Savings – Retail prices for new Xbox games range from $20 up to $60. Just a few free games each year offsets the $60 you spend on an annual Xbox Live Gold membership.
Try Before You Buy – Xbox offers the latest game releases for free during select weekends. Download upcoming games temporarily through Games with Gold to demo them and decide if you want to buy the full version.
Play Online – An active Xbox Live Gold membership allows you to play your favorite Games with Gold titles online. Compete or cooperate with friends and other Xbox Live members around the world.
Keep Games Forever – Any Xbox One/Series X Games with Gold are permanently tied to your account after you add them to your library. Even if you drop your Gold membership for a while, these free games are waiting for you when you resubscribe.
Grow Your Gamerscore – Free games also provide an opportunity to rack up achievements and increase your overall gamerscore. Earning achievements in Games with Gold titles you download each month is very satisfying.
Now that you know the benefits of consistently downloading each month‘s selection of free games with Xbox Live Gold, let‘s go over how to find and get your free games.
How to See What Free Games Are Available Right Now
Wondering what free games you can download at this very moment through Games with Gold? Here are a couple easy ways to see the current month‘s available free games:
On Your Xbox Console
- Press the Xbox button on your controller to open the Xbox guide.
- Select "Store" to launch the Xbox Store app.
- Choose the "Memberships" tab.
- Scroll down to the "Gold" section.
- The current month‘s free Xbox One/Series X and Xbox 360 Games with Gold will be displayed here.
Xbox Mobile App
- Launch the Xbox app on your iOS or Android mobile device.
- Tap on the "Games" tab at the bottom.
- Scroll down and tap "Free Games with Gold."
- You‘ll see the free games for the current month.
- Visit https://www.xbox.com/en-US/live/gold on a web browser.
- Scroll down until you see the "Free games this month" section.
- This shows this month‘s available Xbox One/Series X and Xbox 360 Games with Gold to redeem.
Once you know what games are currently up for grabs for free, it‘s time to scoop them up. Let‘s look at how to download your free games now.
How to Download This Month‘s Free Xbox Games
When you‘ve found the free Games with Gold available this month that you want, here is the process to download them:
On Your Xbox
- From the Stores‘ Membership or Games with Gold sections, select the game you want.
- On the game page, press "Get" to begin the download process.
- You may be prompted to sign in with your Xbox Live account if you aren‘t already.
- After signing in, click "Confirm" to verify the free purchase.
- The game will immediately start downloading to your Xbox console.
- When signed into your Xbox account on Microsoft‘s website, find the game you want and click "Get."
- Click "Sign in" if prompted to login to your Xbox account.
- Verify you want to get the game for free by clicking "Confirm."
- The game will now be registered to your account and available to install on your Xbox.
Xbox Mobile App
- Open the Xbox app and locate the free Games with Gold title you want.
- Tap "Get" on the game‘s page in the app.
- Sign in with your Xbox account if you aren‘t already.
- Tap "Confirm" to secure your free download.
- The game will automatically queue up to install on your Xbox console.
After you confirm your free download, the Xbox One/Series X Games with Gold are permanently yours to play and re-download whenever you want as long as you maintain an Xbox Live account.
Xbox 360 Games with Gold require a current Gold membership to play, since they run via backwards compatibility. But you can download Xbox 360 Games with Gold while subscribed to Gold and play them later if you renew your membership.
Now you know how to browse the current month‘s selections and download your free games on Xbox consoles and mobile devices! Let‘s go over how you can find out about next month‘s upcoming Games with Gold lineup.
How to See Upcoming Free Games for Next Month
Once you‘ve picked up this month‘s offerings, you‘ll want to know which games you can look forward to downloading for free next month. So here are some tips to learn about next month‘s Games with Gold ahead of time:
Check Near the End of the Month – The upcoming free games are announced around a week before the new month. Keep an eye out around the 25th of each month.
Follow Xbox Social Media – Xbox‘s Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram accounts reveal the new Games with Gold slate around the end of each month. Turn on notifications so you never miss an announcement.
Visit Xbox Wire – Microsoft publishes the upcoming Games with Gold lineup in the Xbox Wire blog and newsletter towards the end of each month.
Watch YouTube Reveal Trailers – Xbox‘s YouTube channel publishes short reveal trailers for the next month‘s free games as they are announced.
Once the new Games with Gold are unveiled for the following month, I immediately add the dates to my calendar and set reminders on my phone so I remember to download them as soon as they are available.
Never miss out on a free game again! By finding out about next month‘s titles early, you can prepare and get excited about the new games before they launch.
Get Notified When New Games Are Available
In addition to seeing upcoming Games with Gold early, you can also ensure you never forget to download the latest free games by turning on notifications:
Xbox Live Gold Required Alerts – On your Xbox console, go to Settings > Account > Subscriptions to enable "Xbox Live Gold required" alerts. You‘ll be notified when new games are available.
Xbox App Notifications – In the Xbox mobile app, enable push notifications for the Games with Gold section.
Email Newsletters – Sign up on the Xbox website to get monthly Xbox Live Gold newsletters highlighting that month‘s offerings.
Add to Microsoft Account Wish List – Wish List notifications remind you to download any games you want. I wishlist each month‘s titles for an alert when they launch.
With notifications enabled across your Xbox console, mobile apps, email, and more, you‘ll have all the alerts needed to snag each month‘s free games right away before they get replaced by the next wave of free titles.
Play New Games with Gold Titles Immediately
Once you have downloaded your Games with Gold picks for the month, it‘s time to start playing! Here are some tips to launch your new free additions right away:
Pre-Download – For select major Games with Gold titles, you can pre-download the game before launch to play the second they unlock. This prevents waiting for a huge download when the game becomes available.
Remote Install – Use the Xbox mobile app to start your new games downloading remotely so they are ready to play when you turn your console on.
Instant Resume – Thanks to the Xbox Series X/S Quick Resume feature, you can start playing new Games with Gold without any load times after pre-downloading them.
Play Anywhere – When free games support Xbox Play Anywhere, you can play on Xbox consoles or Windows 10 PCs by linking your Xbox and Microsoft accounts.
With pre-loading options, remote downloading, Quick Resume, and Play Anywhere support, there are plenty of ways to jump right into your newest Games with Gold acquisitions with minimal waiting.
Now let‘s dive into some pro tips and information about Xbox Live Gold to maximize the value from your membership and Games with Gold.
Tips to Get the Most from Your Xbox Live Gold Membership
To fully capitalize on all the benefits that Xbox Live Gold provides, keep these tips in mind:
Play Online – An Xbox Live Gold membership enables online multiplayer, so try Games with Gold selections that include co-op and competitive online modes for the full experience. Playing with friends remotely is a blast with Xbox Live Gold!
Grab Both Monthly Games – Each month has two different games available across Xbox One/Series X and Xbox 360, so be diligent and make sure you download both free titles.
Get Xbox 360 Games Too – Don‘t forget that Xbox Live Gold also provides select backwards compatible Xbox 360 games for free each month to redeem. Xbox One and Series X can play Xbox 360 games, so maximize your free options.
Keep Games after Membership – Any Xbox One or Series X Games with Gold are permanently attached to your Xbox account even if your Gold expires. Redeem as many free current-gen games as possible to build a collection.
Renew Membership – Letting your Xbox Live Gold membership lapse will prevent accessing Games with Gold titles. To keep playing Xbox One/Series X games, be sure to renew Gold before it expires.
Pre-Download – When available, pre-download a game through Games with Gold before the 1st or 15th to play the moment the free game unlocks in your time zone.
Set Reminders – Use console alerts, mobile notifications, and calendar/phone reminders to ensure you never forget to grab each month‘s free games before the next wave arrives.
With this advice, you can maximize the number of free games added to your Xbox library and continue accessing Games with Gold benefits through consistent Xbox Live Gold membership renewal.
The Best Xbox Games With Gold Titles to Grab
Xbox Live Gold has given away hundreds of free games since launching the Games with Gold program in 2013. Here are some of the most popular and highly-rated Games with Gold titles from over the years that you shouldn‘t miss:
- Grand Theft Auto V
- Metal Gear Solid V
- Tomb Raider Definitive Edition
- Batman: The Telltale Series
- The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
- Forza Horizon 2
- Battlefield 1
- NBA 2K20
- Star Wars Battlefront
- Portal Knights
- Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare 2
Many of Xbox‘s absolute best first-party franchises like Gears of War, Halo, and Forza Horizon have had previous entries offered for free through Games with Gold.
Now you have a great list of some of the top games to watch out for and add to your collection if they ever come back to Games with Gold!
Can You Play Games with Gold Titles Without Gold?
To download and play most Games with Gold freebies, you need an active Xbox Live Gold membership. However, there are a couple exceptions:
Xbox One and Series X Games – You can continue playing any Xbox One or Series X Games with Gold that you downloaded with an active Gold subscription even if your membership lapses. You only lose access to online multiplayer without Gold.
Free-to-Play Games – A selection of Games with Gold are entirely free-to-play games like World of Tanks, which don‘t require Gold for anything.
Game Trials – Limited time game trials of upcoming releases don‘t require Gold, so you can download and play those as a Silver member too.
Offline Single-Player – You can play Xbox One/Series X Games with Gold titles offline indefinitely after downloading them while subscribed to Gold since the license check is one-time.
So in summary – Games with Gold titles themselves require an active Xbox Live Gold membership to download and play. But you‘ll maintain offline access to any Xbox One or Series X Games with Gold that you redeem if your Gold membership expires in the future.
Is Xbox Live Gold Worth it for Free Games?
For Xbox fans like myself who enjoy playing online and want access to free games, an Xbox Live Gold membership is absolutely worth the investment.
Here is a quick breakdown of the value you get from the free games alone with Xbox Live Gold:
There are 24 free games across Xbox One/Series X and Xbox 360 per year with Games with Gold
Major retail AAA games generally cost $60 each
If you value each free Games with Gold title at $30, that‘s $720 worth of free games per year
An annual Xbox Live Gold membership costs just $60
So just by redeeming a conservative estimate of $30 worth of value from each of the 24 free monthly games, you get over 10x return on your Gold membership cost!
Plus, Xbox Live Gold gives you online multiplayer access, Deals with Gold discounts, and early beta access. For Xbox fans, particularly those with friends to game with online, Xbox Live Gold provides way more value than it costs thanks to stellar offerings like Games with Gold.
With hundreds of dollars worth of free games offered annually through Xbox Live Gold‘s Games with Gold program, grabbing each month‘s new selection of free Xbox One/Series X and Xbox 360 games is an absolute no-brainer.
Now you know exactly how to find, download, and play this month‘s available free games as well as get notified about next month‘s upcoming titles.
Remember to claim both monthly games across Xbox One/Series X and Xbox 360 to maximize your free options. Downloading Games with Gold each month will keep your gaming library stocked full of exciting new titles to enjoy without spending a dime.
Have your own tips for finding and accessing free games through Xbox Live Gold? Share your strategies in the comments to help your fellow Xbox gamers!