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Microsoft plans to bolster Games With Gold initiative with more favorable titles

Microsoft Games Studios head Phil Spencer recently said that he’s been working with the Games With Gold team in an effort to offer a more favorable line of titles for the program.

Games with gold

At this year’s SXSW affair, Microsoft’s Phil Spencer had quite a bit to say about the company’s plans for a bigger and brighter campaign. From the assurances of Elop and Nadella’s commitment to the Xbox brand to the exec’s candor about the Xbox One’s ill-fated E3 campaign, Spencer divulged a number of interesting tidbits that point to Microsoft expanding further into the next-gen battle.

One of the key points Spencer made concerned the company’s growing Games With Gold program. The initiative is essentially Microsoft’s answer to Sony’s popular Instant Game Library that rewards PlayStation Plus subscribers with free titles every month,

There are key differences, of course, as Games With Gold rotates only two games per month, whereas Sony offers a nice selection of key digital hits.

There has been complaints by gamers regarding the selection of free games, as sometimes there are titles that aren’t too favored by the community.

Spencer reveals that the company plans to change this and add in a number of desired games to offer incentive to gamers to become Xbox LIVE subscribers, and to reward those customers who have stayed:

“I have been sitting down, monthly now, with [the Games Gone Gold team]… 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.”

PS Plus
A typical example of the Instant Game Collection lineup for PlayStation Plus subscribers, offering a variety of cross-buy titles that Microsoft has a hard time competing with.

The Micrsoft Studios boss also reminds gamers of one of the important differences between Games With Gold and PS Plus–you don’t have to continue to be a Xbox LIVE Gold member to keep your free games:

“One of our… 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.

“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.”

Based on this response, Microsoft may be planning even further changes to the program to offer more robust content choices. Microsoft’s version involves two titles offered per month, with each game rotating out after a set period. With Sony’s Instant Game Collection, however, you get a full month period to get all of the games–they only rotate out at the end of the month, and sometimes certain games will stay.

Spencer was also seen Tweeting that Microsoft is planning to announce an Xbox One version for Games With Gold “fairly soon”, which could point to a GDC or possibly even E3 2014 reveal.

Many gamers agree that the PS+ offerings are much more bang for your buck, and the lineup frequently offers hit last-year titles. It’ll be interesting to see at what lengths Microsoft will go to actively compete against Sony with their free game rewards, and whether or not it’ll be enough to sway the gaming crowd to their favor.


Derek Strickland
Derek is an avid fan of gaming and everything geeky, and is compelled to make his mark in the field of games journalism. When he's not gaming on a console (everything from SNES to X360) you can find him reading about ancient civilizations or enjoying a fantasy epic or two.

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