I know that I lose access to my free games if I cancel my PSN+ membership, but does it work the same way for Xbox Live Gold? Can I redownload and play the game for free on my Xbox 360 even if I cancel my XBL Gold, or do the games lock without a current subscription? MS doesn't have a direct answer on their Games with Gold website.
In a nutshell: Yes
In the website it says:
...grab them before they’re gone and keep them no matter what.
And after further talk with the Xbox Customer Support so that everything is clear:
Free Games purchased in Games with Gold will still be yours if you cancel gold membership, you can play them offline and with a free membership.
Once you purchase the games in Xbox Live you can re-download them whenever you want (if they are still available on XBL and have not been removed).
Note that there are some games where the situation is different, like:
- Doritos Crash Course 2
- Happy Wars
Games like these, can be downloaded with free or gold membership but can only be played with gold privileges.
As always any game that have multiplayer functionality will need gold membership to play multiplayer.
just to be clear... this part "Free Games purchased in Games with Gold will still be yours if you cancel gold membership, you can play them offline and with a free membership." is NOT true!! My account just expired and I was unable to play any of my "free" games. It said I had to renew my gold membership to play them. I renewed and they were available again. Not really the value it was cracked up to be...your basically renting the games instead of owning them.
From the Games with Gold for Xbox FAQ:
What happens to my Games with Gold games if I cancel my Xbox Live Gold or Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscription?
On Xbox One, you’ll no longer be able to access your Games with Gold titles if you cancel your subscription. However, if you decide to renew your subscription at any time, you’ll be able to access and play your previously redeemed Games with Gold titles again.
On Xbox 360, any Games with Gold titles that you redeem as an Xbox Live Gold or Xbox Game Pass Ultimate member are yours to keep, regardless of whether you continue your subscription.