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Xbox Games With Gold opens 2023 with two more from the bargain bin

Autonauts and Iris Fall start January with a meh

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Microsoft’s Xbox stage presentation at Gamescom in 2015, with the Games With Gold logo on a screen Photo: Microsoft
Owen S. Good is a longtime veteran of video games writing, well known for his coverage of sports and racing games.

If you were hoping Xbox Live Gold and Game Pass subscribers would start off 2023 by getting a couple of AAA games from Games With Gold, or maybe a well known indie, well ... you probably know where this is headed.

The two titles Xbox Live Gold subscribers (it’s included with Game Pass Ultimate) get in January are Iris Fall and Autonauts. Autonauts launched this summer on all current consoles, but got its start on Windows PC back in 2019. It’s a crafting/management space-colonization sim.

Iris Fall is a puzzle game (from China-based Next Studios) that launched in 2018; it didn’t draw much attention, but at least the attention it did get was positive. Both games are playable on Xbox One and Xbox Series X. Games With Gold stopped adding Xbox 360 games back in September.

The program’s offerings have sagged deeper into bargain bin territory over the past year, as Microsoft prioritizes Xbox Game Pass, and Game Pass Ultimate in particular. It’s tough to be disappointed when you have low expectations, at least.

Iris Fall ($19.99 ERP) is available Jan. 1 to Jan. 31. Autonauts ($19.99 ERP) is available Jan. 16 to Jan. 31.

In addition to these games, subscribers can still get two of December’s Games With Gold selectionsColt Canyon, until Dec. 31, and Bladed Fury until Jan. 15. Xbox Live Gold membership costs $9.99 a month and is mainly for online multiplayer access now. For Xbox One and Xbox Series X owners looking for a subscription plan, Xbox Game Pass Ultimate, at $14.99 per month, offers a better selection and includes Xbox Live Gold access.