Posted Tue Mar 11, 2014 at 10:17 AM PDT by Brian Hoss
"The fact [is] that with Games with Gold, you get to keep that game."
Games with Gold, Microsoft's Xbox Live Gold tie-in program that yields two, free forever if downloaded during a two week period 360 games, has had a short but interesting history. Seemingly created as an answer to Sony's massively popular (in that last 1-2 years) Instant Game Collection and as a means of promoting Xbox Live Gold membership for 360 members in the lull between last year's E3 and this past fall's release of new games and new Xbox One console, the program was extended and has even been promised as eventually coming to the Xbox One. The program hasn't exactly been a crowd-pleaser as the titles selected for the program have not always had the sizzle or relevancy that most vocal fans would want.
During this past weekend's SXSW, Microsoft's Phil Spencer addressed the program's reputation and touched on its near future, and Polygon has published those comments:
"One of our issues with Games with Gold — not 'issues,' but differences between the other system we get compared to, is the fact that with Games with Gold, you get to keep that game, regardless of whether you continue to subscribe. And the business around Games with Gold, for us, is just fundamentally different from some of the other programs that are out there, which does put a different financial picture on a — you're gonna go buy a game that's brand new, the cost of putting that in, just to be kind of blunt about it."
Spencer has apparently been taking a more active role in shaping the new program, and those results should be seen at some point.
"That said, I have been sitting down, monthly now, with that team — some of the earlier months were already programmed — and playing a more active role in picking franchises that show up in Games with Gold, and I think you'll see at least something that feels, at least, more true to what I think Games with Gold should look like with the constraints that are there"
Still, it seems that one important difference between Games with Gold, which grants permant ownership of its titles, and Sony's Instant Game Collection, which requires an ongoing PS Plus subscription, makes for an inherent drawback.
"For us, in the long run, as an industry, giving away content like that is just ... I think there's some steps and some evolution of what Games with Gold or any of the other systems will go through to their full potential. You have things out there that are kind of bigger subscription services, where I get access to a lot of content. Games with Gold is kind of this step in the middle of, 'I get games, and how do I feel about those games."
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