Microsoft‘s Xbox Live Gold has seen some fascinating changes in 2019. While it released a few titles GameSpot gave favorable reviews to, the service has transformed into something more ambitious over the last 12 months. By folding in its sister service, Game Pass, to create Game Pass Ultimate, Microsoft has built a Netflix for Games in a year where streaming became the new normal.
Game Pass Ultimate, The Netflix For Games
Game Pass Ultimate was introduced in April 2019, two years after Game Pass first launched. This new tier wrapped the perks from both Game Pass and Xbox Live Gold into one $15 per month subscription. With Ultimate, you can download a vast assortment of games and take them online for a single price, making Game Pass Ultimate the best way to try something title before committing to its full cost.
As such, Game Pass Ultimate has been pinned as the “Netflix for Games,” letting you experience an entire game from beginning to end with no additional strings attached. And thanks to Microsoft’s initiative to add new, first-party titles from its Xbox Game Studios umbrella to Xbox Game Pass on day one, Xbox Live Gold (and Game Pass Ultimate as a whole) has become an enticing value proposition in 2019.
Xbox Live Vs Xbox Live Gold
While Xbox Live Gold is Microsoft’s more common subscription service, the company still promotes the free Xbox Live account. Xbox Live is as basic as subscriptions get, letting you play games offline, download titles from the Xbox Live Marketplace, use chat, and access other applications like Skype. For $10 a month (or $60 a year), you get these features and additional perks like online play and multiplayer communities with Xbox Live Gold.
On top of these add-ons, Xbox Live Gold also comes with free games via Games with Gold and exclusive sales through Deals with Gold. Xbox Live Gold is an obvious upgrade for anyone interested in gaming online with popular titles like Apex Legends and Fortnite or picking up freebies such as Batman: The Telltale Series and Tekken 6. Everything included with the subscription makes Xbox Live Gold’s price a bargain, especially considering the myriad of deals and discounts Microsoft routinely offers.
Xbox Live Gold Price
Xbox Live Gold’s price point of $60 per year has remained the same for a while now, making it the same price you pay for Sony’s PlayStation Plus subscription. As with Xbox Live Gold, PlayStation Plus also offers online play and free games each month. The two subscription services are very similar to one another.
But while Sony’s PlayStation Now streaming service remains disconnected from PlayStation Plus, Microsoft saw an opportunity to increase Xbox Live Gold’s appeal by including Game Pass. This resulting effort has opened itself up as an option for you to check out experiences you might otherwise miss. Microsoft seems especially aggressive on this push, as the company frequently offers steep discounts on the subscription cost of Game Pass Ultimate and Xbox Live Gold. That means you can stack several months of either service, usually making the total value cheaper than a year subscription of PlayStation Now and PlayStation Plus.
2019’s “Great” (or Better) Titles On Games With Gold
Xbox released several games that received GameSpot’s “Great” (8/10) rating or higher over the last year. While some of the Games With Gold offerings weren’t reviewed on the site, Xbox still dazzled with an eclectic selection of titles ranging from renowned shooters like Far Cry 2 and Hitman to beloved indie platformers such as Celeste and Inside. Check below for a list of Games With Gold’s top-scoring games of 2019:
- Celeste — 9/10 (January) [Full review]
- Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light — 8.5/10 (January) [Full review]
- Far Cry 2 — 8.5/10 (January) [Full review]
- Star Wars Jedi Knight: Jedi Academy — 8.4/10 (February) [Full review]
- Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance — 8.5/10 (March) [Full review]
- Star Wars: Battlefront II (2005) — 8.1 (April) [Full review]
- Ghost Recon: Advanced Warfighter 2 — 8.7/10 (April) [Full review]
- The Gold Club 2019 — 8/10 (May) [Full review]
- Comic Jumper — 8/10 (May) [Full review]
- EA Sports NHL 19 — 8/10 (June) [Full review]
- Portal: Still Alive — 8.5/10 (June) [Full review]
- Castlevania: Symphony of the Night — 8.9/10 (July) [Full review]
- Inside — 8/10 (July) [Full review]
- Torchlight — 8/10 (August) [Full review]
- Forza Motorsport 6 — 8/10 (August) [Full review]
- Hitman: The Complete First Season — 8/10 (September) [Full review]
- Tekken Tag Tournament 2 — 8.5/10 (September) [Full review]
- Tembo the Badass Elephant — 8/10 (October) [Full review]
- Castlevania: Lords of Shadow – Mirror of Fate HD — 8/10 (December) [Full review]