Microsoft Adding Free Games, Other Improvements to Xbox Live

Microsoft isn’t ignoring the changes Sony has made to the online market with its Playstation Plus, and with Xbox One, the company intends to step up its Xbox Live subscription service.

During its E3 2013 press conference, Microsoft announced a few new changes to Xbox Live alongside lots of new games coming to the console. Up first, Microsoft is emulating Sony’s big selling point with Playstation Plus, which is the addition of free games for subscribers. Microsoft will offer Xbox Live Gold subscribers — who currently pay $60 a year for the online service — two free games as part of their subscriptions.

The first two games offered as part of the free program are Assassin’s Creed 2 and Halo 3, although Microsoft said more games would be in the offing in the future as well.

A few other changes coming to Gold subscriptions should make the service a little more worthwhile. For one, Microsoft is making a Gold subscription more viable for multiple users in a given household, meaning that if one player is subscribed to Gold, other players on that same Xbox One — say, little brothers and sisters, for example — can play multiplayer and access other premium Gold capabilities, even without the Gold subscriber’s account logged in.

That’s a big change from how Xbox Live functions on Xbox 360, in which multiple players are forced to use the same account for multiplayer and other features.

Finally, we’re seeing a few other features and minor changes. A partnership with Twitch TV means that Xbox One players can save their game replays and share them with friends online. Xbox Live is also increasing its Friend List cap over 100 to bring it in line with other social media (and will likely be expanded further with things like Facebook integration, which we see on Xbox 360 now). And Microsoft is finally doing away with its irritating Microsoft Points currency and moving to real money, so you’ll know the actual, conversion-free prices of things you buy on Xbox Live.

There are likely to be more changes to Xbox Live in the future, but in the meantime, read more about the Xbox One press conference and the list of games announced for the console.

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7 Comments on Microsoft Adding Free Games, Other Improvements to Xbox Live

Axetwin

On June 10, 2013 at 12:06 pm

Supposedly Fable 3 is also being offered to Gold members for free as well.

Michael

On June 10, 2013 at 12:55 pm

They didn’t clarify if my xbox live games transfer to the new console. If not theirs no point in buying this.

Kazoo

On June 10, 2013 at 1:09 pm

I seem to recall they already stated that there was no backward compatibility. So, no.. no games transfer over.

Or, if you prefer, all games transfer over, but none of them will execute.

LazyBoiA

On June 20, 2013 at 8:26 am

if u gone buy the XBone chances are that u will have a 360 so why would u need the XBone to be backwards comp. so having a 360 and XBone is like having a 360 and PS3 u cnt play the other’s game on the other’s console

Kazoo

On June 20, 2013 at 8:56 am

Because… I already have a PS3 and 360. Do I have space for that AND the PS4 and XB1? Do I have enough video ports? Power outlets? Room for two Kinect cameras and two PS Eye cameras?

I don’t *need* it to be backward compatible. But it sure would be be nice.

:(

On June 20, 2013 at 9:37 am

Agreed, it’s a real shame that backwards compatibility has fallen by the wayside. It was so convenient to be able to play PSone games on PS2, but then PS3 was only backwards-compatible in certain countries and for certain games. You can download games of course on PSN but you have to pay again, which if you already have the games is a bit annoying and also undermines the whole ‘IP is the product’ argument since if I already own the IP then I should be able to play it again for no extra charge regardless of the new format. Xbox 360 was backwards compatible with most games but not all of them, and again you’re expected to pay to download them on Xbox Live for MUCH more than you’re charged on PSN for their older games. It’s not even like they have achievement/trophy support – they’re literally the same game you bought before, so there’s no reason for such a high price point. Wii let you play Gamecube games which was a real help, but sadly Wii U has removed this function although it does let you play original Wii games.

It just makes sense to allow you to play old games on a successor console, especially when they’re all disk-based anyway. It’s like if you couldn’t play PC games from the late 90s on Windows 8 (actually to be fair some of them don’t operate on newer OS, but that’s a technical issue and can be worked around). Not everyone has the space or the required number of sockets to have all these consoles simultaneously taking up room. We can’t all be the AVGN.

Tanner

On June 25, 2013 at 6:02 pm

the reason people would want a backwards compatible console is because they will stop making the xbox 360 and console are not made to last like the used to be people still have nintendo’s xbox’s and playstation ones that still work, whereas many people have already gone through 1-2 xbox 360′s and people who have not gotten a new one are probably experiencing some issues. not to mention accidents happen when moving the 360 or dropping or spilling and console can mess up from underuse