Both Microsoft and Sony have announced the free games subscribers to their premium gaming services can expect for December.

Microsoft’s Games for Gold programme, which makes two new games available to Xbox Live Gold subscribers on the 1st and 16th of each month, has announced via Xbox Wire that gamers can get Gears of War for free between the 1st and 15th of December, and Shoot Many Robots between the 16th and 31st of the month.

The catch Gold subscribers need to worry about is they will need to claim their free games during the period they are available, because once that window closes, the game  can’t be added to your collection for free. Fortunately, once you’ve claimed your free game it’s yours forever regardless of whether or not you have an active Xbox Live Gold membership.

Sony, on the other hand, has what it calls an Instant Game Collection that subscribers to its PlayStation Plus premium gaming service get access to as long as their membership is active. The list of games changes every now and then, but while they’re in the Instant Game Collection (a period generally a lot longer than just 15 days), they can be claimed at any time. It makes particular sense for owners of PlayStation Vita consoles, as there are many games for the console in the list as well as for the PS3 and PS4.

According to PlayStation’s ZA portal, gamers can now get GRID 2, XCOM: Enemy Unknown, LittleBigPlanet Karting, Dragon’s Dogma, Guacamelee and Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception for the PS3, and Uncharted: Golden Abyss, Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories and Gravity Rush for the PS Vita for free, and play them for as long as their PlayStation Plus subscription is active along with all of the other games currently in the Instant Game Collection. Resogun and Contrast for the PS4 are the only two PS4 games in the Instant Game Collection for now.

Xbox Live Gold costs R450 per year, and a year of PlayStation Plus will cost you R489.

Deon got his first taste of PC gaming at the tender age of 11 when his father bought an 8088 XT, ostensibly to "help him with his homework". Instead, it introduced him to Leisure Suit Larry, King Graham, Sonny Bonds and many more, and Deon has been a PC gamer and hardware enthusiast ever since. He landed his first professional writing gig in 2006 at a prestigious local PC magazine, a very happy happenstance as he got to write for a living about things he loves - tech, PCs, gaming, and everything in between. He's been writing about it all ever since, and loves every minute of it.