It seems there's been some confusion over Xbox Games With Gold again recently as discussion about ownership has been addressed by Xbox Engineering Lead Eden Marie over on Twitter, attempting to provide full transparency.
As Marie states, the rule is that any Xbox One, Series X and Series S games that are included as part of Games With Gold are only available to play while you've got a valid subscription, but original Xbox and Xbox 360 games are yours to keep even if you decide to cancel. The latter is due to a "quirk" of Games With Gold on Xbox 360:
"FYI, since I've seen confusion: Xbox One & Series X|S games claimed as Games with Gold are yours to play only while your Gold or Game Pass Ultimate subscription is active. 360/OG games are yours to keep, even after your subscription ends. This has always been the case."
"Granting full ownership of 360/OG games is a quirk of Games with Gold originating on Xbox 360, which didn't and doesn't support subscription-based licenses. In this way, Games with Gold continues to accrue value for folks who still play on Xbox 360."
"This is also why 360/OG Games with Gold show up in the all owned games section of my games & apps on Xbox One and Series X|S consoles and not the Games with Gold section. Our inability to tell the difference works to your benefit!"
The one question we've seen a lot here at Pure Xbox over the past year-or-so is whether you have to claim original Xbox and Xbox 360 games on an actual Xbox 360 in order to keep them forever, but Marie says this isn't the case, and you can claim them on any console (including Xbox One, Series X and S), and you'll be able to keep them:
So, if you've been wondering about this, you've got your answer. Modern games will only work while you've got an active subscription to either Xbox Live Gold or Xbox Game Pass Ultimate, whereas backwards compatible original Xbox and Xbox 360 games should be playable forever even if you decide to cancel your subscription.
Surprised by any of this, or did you know it all already? Let us know down in the comments.