Microsoft has surprised all gamers by making Xbox Games with Gold feature, which was launched as a limited-time offer, a permanent one for Live Gold members on Xbox 360.

Microsoft, amused by the overall response from its "Games with Gold" program, has decided not to discontinue the free games offering to Xbox Live subscribers any time soon. The software giant made an official announcement early Friday as a part of its "Week of Xbox Live," to continue its Games with Gold feature as an ongoing benefit for Xbox Live subscribers on Xbox 360.

The latest giveaway was triggered by an impressive response from paid Xbox Live subscribers. The company said in its blog post that users spent more than 120 million hours playing games with the program's hand-out titles.

Microsoft launched the "Games with Gold" program at E3, earlier this year. It had planned to run through end of December. The indefinite extension pleases several Live Gold members and helps promote its product and services. The new feature was in response to Sony's PlayStation Plus program, which works in a similar fashion giving away select titles to paid subscribers at no cost.

The Games with Gold program offers two free titles a month, one at the beginning and another at mid-month. Microsoft's most recent release is Halo 3, which is available till October 31. Other free titles offered by the program include Might and Magic, Crackdown, Magic: The Gathering, Fable 3 and Dead Rising 2. The extension of the program promises several other titles, which will be announced in Xbox Wire and Major Nelson's blog.

While Microsoft goes head to head with Sony to get more and more gamers on its side, both companies are set to bring their next-gen consoles after nearly half a decade. Microsoft Xbox One goes on sale in the U.S. and other markets over the next few weeks, while Sony is prepped for its PlayStation 4 to be released in less than a week.