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'Dark Souls' is free for Xbox LIVE Gold subscribers

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The Xbox LIVE Games With Gold program for June launched Sunday with “Dark Souls” the first free game released for the Xbox 360 for the month. This is perhaps the most exciting month for the program as major changes are coming including Xbox One games finally joining the promotion.

“Dark Souls” is available to download from the Xbox Store to the Xbox 360 for free. The difficult action role-playing game will be available as a free download through June 15. At that point, the free offering will switch to not one but two titles for the rest of the month. The Xbox LIVE Arcade hit “Charlie Murder” plus “Super Street Fighter IV: Arcade Edition” will be free starting June 16.

Microsoft will also be flipping the switch on free Xbox One games for Xbox LIVE Gold subscribers this month as well. While the company hasn’t officially announced a date, it’s fairly obvious they are setting up the timing of the launch for the E3 press conference on June 9. The first two games that will be available are the side-scrolling adventure, “Max: The Curse of Brotherhood,” and the top-down twin-stick shooter, “Halo: Spartan Assault.” It’s unknown if both will be released at the same time or if they will split duties for the rest of the month.

Another question in the air is how Microsoft will handle Games with Gold going forward. Previously, you owned the game forever once it was downloaded to your system. However, this led to only older titles being available in the program.

The announcement of the changes in May indicated changes though. The fine print read, “Free Games Offer: For paid Gold members only. On Xbox One, active Gold membership required to play free games you’ve downloaded. Must download titles during designated window. Kinect and/or hard drive required for some games.”

That indicates a switch to the same model that Sony uses for the Playstation Plus. The premium subscription for the PS4, PS3 and PS Vita is also undergoing some changes in July and switching to make two games available for free for each platform at the beginning of the month versus releasing only one or two a week.

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