Xbox Live Gold has existed on Microsoft platforms from the beginning. For a long time, people were willing to pay the price because that's where everyone was playing games. Of course, in order to play multiplayer online you require the Gold subscription. Now that PS Plus exists though, the two don't seem to offer the same amount for the price.
Microsoft is attempting to address the incoming competition by tweaking Xbox Live Gold. Instead of simply offering what they have for the years, they are now adding in two free games per month. This seems like a way to try and combat PS Plus's Instant Game Collection.
What two games will you get with the first month of new Xbox Live Gold? Assassin's Creed 2 and Halo 3. No, these aren't particularly "fresh" games but what can you do? Perhaps Microsoft will become more adventurous in the future.