Should Microsoft Dump Xbox Games with Gold in 2022?

2021 has been an exciting year in the video game industry, given that both the PS5 and Xbox Series X celebrated their first anniversaries in the market. However, on the Xbox side of things, it is apparent that Xbox Games with Gold, a program included with Xbox Live, has been slowly fading away into obscurity.

It is no secret that the most significant factors that contributed to the slow decline of Xbox Games with Gold are Microsoft's focus on Xbox Game Pass, and the lack of features to make the service more competitive. So now that 2021 has ended, how did Xbox Games with Gold fare in the past year, and should Microsoft dump the service in favor of Xbox Game Pass?

RELATED: Xbox Free Games with Gold for January 2022 Explained

Xbox Games with Gold in 2021

Like every other video game subscription service, Xbox Games with Gold had its share of ups and downs in 2021. At the start of the year, Xbox players were optimistic given the promising lineup Microsoft released in January and February that included games like Resident Evil and Gears of War 5. September, October, and November also received a positive reception from fans, thanks to the wide variety of free games like Zone of the Enders: HD Collection, Resident Evil: Code Veronica X, Castlevania: Harmony of Despair, and many more.

Unfortunately, the rest of 2021 did not fare well, with many subscribers complaining about the lackluster selection of games, mainly of niche titles and unpopular games. Not to mention, unlike its competitors, Xbox Games with Gold failed to include new features to increase the value of a subscription. For example, Sony's PS Plus has consistently offered PS5 games on its service since the console's release in November 2020. On the other hand, the Nintendo Switch Online service offers subscribers a permanent library of free games from its past generation consoles, such as NES, SNES, N64, and even the Sega Genesis.

Why Xbox Games with Gold May No Longer Have a Place Xbox's Future

Looking at the performance of Xbox Games with Gold last year compared to its competitors, it appears that it may be time for Microsoft to retire the service officially. It is worth remembering that for some years now, there have been talks about the inevitable demise of Xbox Games with Gold, especially amid Xbox Game Pass' dominance in the video game industry.

For the uninitiated, Microsoft has repeatedly stated how it sees Xbox Game Pass as the future of Xbox Gaming. For 2022, Microsoft revealed tons of first and third-party games coming to Xbox Game Pass. Not to mention, the service is also set to receive a wide variety of day-one releases this year, such as Edge of Eternity, A Plague Tale: Requiem, and Weird West, among others. In comparison, Microsoft hasn't revealed any exciting plans for Xbox Games with Gold, and its first lineup of free games for the year isn't something to be excited about. For January 2022, Microsoft is releasing NeuroVoider, Aground, Radiant Silvergun, and Space Invaders Infinity Gene.

In the end, while Xbox Games with Gold had its fair share of praise from fans, it is apparent that Microsoft maintaining the service isn't worth it, given the constant backlash it receives from disappointed subscribers. One thing Microsoft could do is to integrate Xbox Live's feature that allows players to access online multiplayer games with Xbox Game Pass without forcing players to pay more with Xbox Game Pass Ultimate. Of course, it is still possible that Microsoft may have some plans to bolster the value of Xbox Games with Gold, but based on the first lineup of the year, things are not looking too bright for the service.

MORE: Xbox Game Pass is Losing 5 Games to End 2021

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About The Author
Ramon Hara (1425 Articles Published)

Ramon is a writer for GameRant and an avid gamer since the era of the original PlayStation. Ramon has been captivated with video games and the way it serves as an escape from real life. His love for gaming transcends genres as he enjoys playing Stardew Valley as much as Resident Evil. When not attached to a controller, you can find him hammering away at a keyboard in hopes of sharing his voice with the gaming community. Ramon also likes to live his best life by watching funny videos on YouTube. You can follow him on Twitter @ramonhara.

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