Hey Xbox, Stop Embarrassing Yourselves With ‘Games With Gold’
I really want an Xbox One.
I cannot wait until it releases in South Africa so that I can purchase one and the only thing stopping me from importing one right now is– well, hopefully you’ve read my thoughts on the early adoption of new console hardware. In any case, just this past week I renewed my Xbox LIVE Gold subscription and then I went onto Twitter and saw Major Nelson posting about the first Games with Gold offering for March and I immediately regretted purchasing that Gold subscription.
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Currently you can purchase a 1-year Xbox LIVE Gold Subscription for R425 which will grant you the ability to play multiplayer games online, invite people to party chats and partake in special weekly sales, with the Games with Gold offering also made available to you, granting you two free games per month. Alternatively if you have a PlayStation 3, 4 or Vita, you could purchase a 1-year PlayStation Plus Subscription for R500 which will grant you the ability to automatically download game and system updates as well as demos, play online on PS4, while also allowing you to partake in special weekly sales, with the Instant Games Collection also made available to you, granting you a selection of free games per month.
“Ah!” says Xbox, “But ‘Games with Gold’ allows you to keep your games, whereas with PS Plus if your subscription ends then you cannot access your games anymore!”
Sure. Fine. Games with Gold allows us to take permanent ownership of the games on offer. But temporary ownership of great games is still, I would say, better than permanent ownership of shit.
I have tried defending the Xbox LIVE subscription model but that is becoming more and more difficult over time. Yes the Xbox LIVE matchmaking system is superior, yes party chats are great, but you know what? The PS3 has free multiplayer and while the PS4 does require you to pay for it, the PS4 has a decent enough matchmaking and voice chat system in its own respect, and it doesn’t even need a specialised headset like with Xbox. So what is Xbox LIVE Gold’s advantage now? Answer: It doesn’t have one.
It is in every way an inferior offering and it is one that gamers are forced to pay for if they want to be able to play online.
And Microsoft and Xbox then have the audacity to claim that they are rewarding us with games for free under the Games with Gold promotion? Please. We’re not five years old, but some of these games sure as hell are. Perhaps I’m being super-self-entitled about these games and I should just shut up and take what I get because it’s not all that bad… sure, only Sony are making Microsoft look like right fools with their offerings. Here, have a look at comparative offerings (games in brackets are the SA replacement offerings — many thanks to Xbox ZA for finding these for us) since Games with Gold started:
- Games with Gold – Fable III
- PlayStation Plus – Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning, ICO, Shadow of the Colossus HD, Demon’s Souls
- Games with Gold – Defense Grid: The Awakening, Assassin’s Creed II
- PlayStation Plus – Battlefield 3, Payday: The Heist, Saints Row: The Third
- Games with Gold – Crackdown, Dead Rising 2
- PlayStation Plus – Need for Speed: Most Wanted, Mafia II, Spec-Ops: The Line
- Games with Gold – Magic The Gathering 2013, Rainbow Six: Vegas (Shadowrun)
- PlayStation Plus – Assassin’s Creed III, Jak and Daxter Trilogy, Stealth Inc: A Clone in the Dark
- Games with Gold – Might and Magic: Clash of Heroes (Insanely Twisted Shadow Planet), Halo 3
- PlayStation Plus – Far Cry 3, Giana Sisters: Twisted Dreams, Dragon’s Dogma: Dark Arisen
- Games with Gold – A World of Keflings, Iron Brigade
- PlayStation Plus – Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance, Remember Me
- Games with Gold – Gears of War, Shoot Many Robots
- PlayStation Plus – Resogun, Contrast, GRiD 2, Guacamelee
- Games with Gold – Sleeping Dogs, Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light
- PlayStation Plus – Don’t Starve, DmC Devil May Cry
- Games with Gold – Toy Soldiers: Cold War, Dead Island (Dead Island: Riptide)
- PlayStation Plus – Outlast, Metro: Last Light, BioShock: Infinite
- Games with Gold – Sid Meier’s Civilization Revolution, Dungeon Defenders (Full House Poker)
- PlayStation Plus – Dead Nation: Apoycalypse Edition, Tomb Raider, Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons
Seriously what is even the point of this exercise. Junk, junk and more junk with just a novel attempt at something decent mixed in just to keep gamers from completely flipping their tops.
My inspiration for this article came after reading this open letter to the Xbox team which, while slightly entitled and selfish, I have to say moved me insofar as realising that Xbox just isn’t treating its fans as well as a certain other company is, right now.
It’s not fair.
We’ve poured our money into Xbox LIVE for years, whether it’s with Games on Demand, DLC purchases or Xbox LIVE Arcade titles. The Xbox LIVE Gold subscription is something we’ve happily paid for, for years now. Suddenly Sony comes in and presents a miles better offering and we’re left with egg on our faces, and you want to give us Civilization fucking Revolution, as recompense?
I’m sorry but I for one will not be insulted like that. I will not show blind loyalty to a service that is doing the absolute minimum to keep me around. I will not allow my love for Xbox and all things green with achievements to cloud (no pun intended) my judgement in what is very clearly a case of a company giving its fans breadcrumbs and acting as if it has thrown a feast of epic proportions.
You do not reward your loyal fans with five-year-old games that nobody even wants to play in the first place. You do not then turn around and try to justify your actions with remarks such as, “Oh but it’s free and you actually own the games!” We didn’t want to own the games in the first place or surely we would have owned them, how is this difficult to understand.
It is frankly disgusting to think that anyone at Xbox thought that this qualified as a ‘reward’ of sorts. Meanwhile, your direct competitor is putting out games less than a year old and winning over all the fan support in the world.
It says a lot that I really wish I could get a refund on my Xbox LIVE Gold subscription and purchase a PS Plus subscription for a PS3 I have access to, so I can just download and play the awesome free titles on offer there. I still have to get around to Tomb Raider. But I have no interest at all in Civilization fucking Revolution.
Ironic free game alert. Consider this my revolt.