How the programme has evolved after its first birthday
The free Xbox One games with Gold programme is almost exactly the same as on Xbox 360 - subscribers can expect two free titles a month, in addition to the games you'll receive for Xbox 360, beginning in June with Max and the Curse of Brotherhood and Halo: Spartan Assault.
There's one crucial difference, however - the free Xbox One games are only yours for as long as you pay an Xbox Gold subscription. Decline to renew your sub, and any free titles you've downloaded will become inactive. Plenty of users have been annoyed by this, but I reckon the move to active Gold access is probably the best thing to happen to the programme, bringing it level with Sony's more established PlayStation Plus service.
While it might seem like a more restrictive system, it'll actually allow Microsoft greater flexibility in terms of the games selected than has been possible on Xbox 360. There have been some great GwG offerings - this month's Super Street Fighter IV Arcade Edition and Dark Souls, for example - but there's no denying that the overall calibre of titles throughout the programme's inaugural year haven't been dazzling - generally, their value has been capped at around £15 per title, which rules out most recent releases.
So it's been a great platform for discovering older or smaller titles that you might have overlooked at launch, but not a service that I personally would sign away £40 a year for on the strength of these free games alone. Typically, the games selected have been those whose retail sales have long since flatlined. This would have helped Microsoft obtain them for the programme - a publisher who no longer expects a return on a game won't demand as much compensation for giving that game away. Indeed, the extra publicity for a franchise that might (hypothetically) be about to mount a comeback could be worth it in itself.
But games that no longer sell obviously don't make as tempting giveaways, and that's where the Gold-restricted access swoops in to save the day. Because the programme's upcoming Xbox One games will be limited to paying subscribers, titles are effectively being rented out rather than being given away as free forever, and a portion of the on-going profits can be passed onto publishers and developers, which raises the odds of securing access to more recent or acclaimed releases.
It's probable, then, that some of the better Xbox One games will fetch up on Games with Gold in the coming months. I'd love to see Dead Rising 3 go free, personally. It's also probable that Microsoft will pin down brand new games for the service, such as niche indie titles you might hesitate to buy, but would happily play as part of a subscription package. Is there a game out there that you've got your eye on?