April's Games with Gold is here, but you should play Age of Empires 2 on Xbox instead

Screenshot of Xbox Games with Gold April 2023.
(Image credit: Xbox)

What you need to know

  • Xbox Games with Gold grants Xbox Live Gold and Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscribers free games every month.
  • The titles for April 2023 have been revealed, and includes exactly two games.
  • Out of Space Couch Edition and Peaky Blinders: Mastermind will be available to claim throughout April and the beginning of May.
  • In other news, this weekend's Free Play Days include Age of Empires 2 Definitive Edition on Xbox.

Xbox has generally been going from win to win with its community, lately, but one aspect of the expansive gaming ecosystem that continues to struggle to escape criticism is Xbox Games with Gold. The service, included within Xbox Live Gold, grants players free titles every month. However, the quality and quantity of these games in recent years has repeatedly drawn ire from players.

Xbox Games with Gold is continuing for another month, and Xbox has revealed the games included for April 2023. Unfortunately, there are only two games on offer for subscribers this month, worth a combined $34.98 and 2,000 Gamerscore in value. The games include:

  • Out of Space Couch Edition — April 1 to April 30, 2023
  • Peaky Blinders: Mastermind — April 16 to May 15, 2023

Out of Space at least looks like a fun, creative game to play locally with friends and family, but neither game is well-known and is unlikely to help Games with Gold's tarnished reputation. Additionally, the service is back down to two games in April, after offering a third free game in March. Overall, Microsoft is making it clear how the majority of its resources is focused on the rapidly evolving Xbox Game Pass, which continues to score a wide variety of high-profile, day one additions.

If you're looking for something to play in April as an Xbox Live Gold or Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscriber, there may be another option. Age of Empires 2 Definitive Edition for Xbox, a truly amazing console port and one of the best Xbox Game Pass games you can play, will be completely free-to-play starting later today and until mid-Sunday, April 2.

That's right, AoE2 is a part of this weekend's Xbox Free Play Days, which lets gamers play any of four games to their heart's content during the period. Embr and Journey to the Savage Planet are included, but Age of Empires 2 Definitive Edition is definitely the highlight of this weekend. If you love the game after playing, you can buy it with a 10-20% discount (depending on the edition) or continue playing through Xbox and PC Game Pass.

Windows Central's take

I've enjoyed several games offered through Xbox Games with Gold over the years, including the adorable Calico, but it has been a while since the service has offered any worthwhile titles that have drawn my attention. Many of these offered games may actually be just fine, and there have been some indie gems included in Games with Gold, but the service is sorely lacking high-profile titles that convince subscribers of its value.

Xbox Game Pass is far superior when considering the sheer level of choice it offers subscribers; the more time passes, the less Xbox Games with Gold feels like it needs to exist next to its shinier, more value-driven sibling.

Zachary Boddy
Staff Writer

Zachary Boddy (They / Them) is a Staff Writer for Windows Central, primarily focused on covering the latest news in tech and gaming, the best Xbox and PC games, and the most interesting Windows and Xbox hardware. They have been gaming and writing for most of their life starting with the original Xbox, and started out as a freelancer for Windows Central and its sister sites in 2019. Now a full-fledged Staff Writer, Zachary has expanded from only writing about all things Minecraft to covering practically everything on which Windows Central is an expert, especially when it comes to Microsoft. You can find Zachary on Twitter @BoddyZachary.