Microsoft defends Games with Gold: ‘About offering classic games back to the user’

Back at E3, Microsoft introduced Games with Gold, a program that gives Xbox LIVE Gold subscribers two free downloadable Xbox 360 titles a month — similar to what Sony offers its PlayStation Plus members. The key difference, I believe, is that Sony offers much more relative games.

While I'd never complain about anything free, the past offerings for Games with Gold have been less than impressive. It's not that they aren't good games, but they are just old games. To date, Microsoft has given away Crackdown, Dead Rising 2, Dead Rising 2: Case Zero, Shadowrun, Banjo Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts, Magic: The Gathering – Duels of the Planeswalkers 2013, Defense Grid: The Awakening, Fable 3 and Assassin's Creed 2. Most recently, Microsoft is giving away Rainbow Six Vegas, a great game for its time but one you can now find for a mere $2.99. See the problem here?

Speaking to OXM, Xbox LIVE product manager Pav Bhardwaj attempted to defend the Games with Gold offerings, reasoning it's more about rediscovering old classics. "They've probably got a huge collection of games already anyway," he defended. "They may have traded their old games in by now, so it's a great way to kind of offering them their classic games back."

"We announced it at E3, and every month since then we've released two games on the first and the 16th of each months, and they've gone down really, really well," Bhardwaj added. "It's a benefit obviously to Xbox Live Gold customers, and it's a great way of getting people onto the platform. Getting free games is always fantastic, and they're great classic games, triple-A-rated games. We've got some great games coming up in the next couple of months – I've just seen the roadmap for those.

"We're going to run the program Games with Gold up until December, and then we'll take a look at the program, see how well it's done, and how we want to go forward with it," he continued.

Again, I'm not going to complain about free games, but I do have to say Sony does a much better job offering relevant games with PlayStation Plus. If Microsoft does decide to stick with Games with Gold past December, I'd like to see some newer titles offered. Have you been pleased with Games with Gold's free titles so far?