It is that time of the month again for gamers, well, more specifically Xbox gamers. You have had your fill of enjoyable free games for the month, but now you are looking forwards, to see exactly what next month has in store for you. Will you get that AAA game you’ve wanted for a while but kept missing in the sale? What about that indie game you’ve heard consistently great things about? Games with gold is a wondrous invention, but could it be shaken up and changed in November?
The week before the beginning of the month is when we tend to see an announcement from Xbox’s own Major Nelson, via his blog, detailing the free games we will be getting our mitts on. As the days leading up to November fly by, we ponder whether or not November could see not one, but two changes to the way games with gold works.
The First Change: Letting Xbox’s History Join The Party
Now this may be an obvious one, or perhaps it had skipped your mind and now you are be completely on board, but November could be the first month to include original Xbox backwards compatible games. Soon after E3 2015, when we were flawed with the news of Xbox 360 compatible games, the games with gold 360 games all became backwards compatible. Now, since we have had the original Xbox backwards compatible announcement at E3 2017, we would like to think 2017 is still the year it will arrive, and with recent rumours circulating about what games will be coming first, could November be the perfect time to launch?
A tweet has emerged in the last few days which appeared to confirm which original xbox titles would be coming first to the Xbox family of consoles, and though its legitimacy cannot be confirmed just yet, some of the titles do get us awfully excited. The unconfirmed line-up seems to encapsulate the sprint and heritage of the original Xbox, as well as giving us some of the best loved games of that generation. With a sequel to Psychonauts in production, Knights of the Old Republic coming back during the plethora of Star Wars news, trailers and releases right now, and not to mention how Crimson Skies was supposed to be one of the first original Xbox titles to release, this list could well be accurate. However, whether these games will all come at launch is yet to be seen, and it is important to note that images surfacing on Twitter are by no means an accurate representation of the truth; similar to the superbly photoshopped image of a games with gold line-up around E3 2017 which featured original Xbox titles.
If any change is to come, whether it be these ten titles, another ten titles, or perhaps no titles initially, it would be great to see the addition of an original Xbox game added to the roster of free games each month. It would enable younger fans to connect with the origins of franchises they may now love, as well as giving older fans the ability to dive back into some of their favourite games with ease. It is doubtful that we would see an original xbox title in there every month, ostensibly as there are far fewer titles to choose from than the limitless 360 era, but seeing them appear in games with gold would be a really great moment for Xbox and the fans.
The Second Change: Let 4K Do The Talking
With thousands of Xbox One X’s presumably now getting nice and snug in their boxes ready for worldwide shipment, wouldn’t it be incredible if games with gold were to receive a 4K make over? Project Scorpio will finally be playable to the wider audience on November 7th, shortly after the first games with gold will be downloadable, but it would be incredible fan service if gamers were given at least one 4K enhanced game for free ready to play on November 7th. That is not to say fans are entitled to this, and it contradicts the rationale that the Xbox One X is for a more hardcore audience who are willing to spend extra for a 4K box and accompanying TV, especially if you then think they wouldn’t already have a copy of Forza Motorsport 7 sat ready and waiting at home. But this change could be brought about as a means to encourage developers to update older games with a 4K package to lure in a second wave of players, or if a 4K enhanced game were to appear as a free game each month, it could encourage more players to want to try an Xbox One X for themselves.
Obviously this change is not without its problems, in addition to those mentioned above. One would imagine that the majority of games that will receive a 4K enhancement are either relatively new games, or popular games that have survived big price drops and store bargain-bins. The picture below flaunts the wide array of enhanced games available, and you would be hard pressed to realistically expect to see some of the titles for free any time soon, let alone every month. What this change would ideally do, is encourage developers to release a patch for an older game, and then draw in a player base that may have never given that game the time of day.
Perhaps games with gold will strut onto the scene later in the month proving us horrifically wrong, but we can dream can’t we? One thing is certain however, and that is that games with gold remains to be one of the best accomplishments and fan services that Xbox has done for its player base. Some may argue that PS Plus has better line-ups, and it is important to note that this article is not written as propaganda against PlayStation, but Xbox has delivered such a wide, flamboyant, and phenomenal set of games since games with gold began; and the addition of free backwards compatible games has only enhanced that. Either of the two changes discussed here would be a remarkable feat to perform, and it would only go to show how games with gold is continuing to evolve and get better, but us gamers are still spoilt and pleased with what we have currently, and regardless, we are still excited for next month’s games.