During E3 Microsoft announced their new "Games with Gold" program which gives Xbox Live Gold subscribers two free games each month. The program starts today with the first freely available game, Defense Grid: The Awakening. Normally priced at 800MSP, around $10, Defense Grid remains a popular title and a favorite of, err, 2008.Not exactly starting with the big guns, are we Microsoft?
Still, it's not so much where it starts as it is that it at least started. Built to compete with Sony's PlayStation Plus service that's delivered a rather impressive experience in its infancy. A $10 game basically covers the cost of the subscription for July, right? And there's still another game to come, on top of the same great online service that Microsoft has always provided with Xbox Live Gold.
A lot of complaints are already going around that the first game isn't either Halo 3 or Assassin's Creed II, which Microsoft mention during their E3 press conference. It's worth noting those two games will be coming during the first year of the program and not on day one.
What we have in Games with Gold is a service that makes the subscription more valuable to those who already on board. Where PlayStation Plus seems like it's directed at encouraging new gamers to subscribe, it's hard to argue that Microsoft is doing this for any other reason than to say, "Free games here, too!" Defense Grid: The Awakening is a great game, but it's not going to make anyone who wasn't previously subscribed join because of it.