As we near the one year anniversary of the Xbox One, it’s safe to say that Microsoft has made a lot of adjustments in making the console more user friendly. A year ago we didn’t have notifications for friends popping online, there was no ID@Xbox section on Xbox Live, and Games With Gold was still really just a thing for 360 users.
For the few of you unfamiliar with the program, Games With Gold is a bit like PSN Plus, where Microsoft offers Xbox Live Gold subscribers free games each month as a “thank you” for being a subscriber. The main difference between the two is that games you download through Games With Gold are yours to keep forever, even if you decide to drop the Xbox Live Gold subscription down the line.
Although it took a while for Games With Gold to kick in for Xbox One users, it’s finally something to look forward to each month.. or is it? There’s a common complaint among the Xbox Live Gold subscriber base that the games being offered are generally uninteresting or, for lack of a better term, crap. That’s not entirely true, as what makes a game good is subjective to the player, but for those of you uninterested in indie platformers or smaller digital downloads, there hasn’t really been much to get excited about.
A complaint that we here at What’s Your Tag? have is the current recycling method that Microsoft recently began using. What started off as two different games each month has now dwindled down to one, as the 2nd game from the previous month bleeds over to the next. There was also that stint where Crimson Dragon was one of the two freebies for almost 3 months straight.
It’s not all bad though, and as I mentioned above, if you’re a fan of indie games and platformers, there’s been a lot of fun stuff released in the last few months. I’ll always have a soft spot for Crimson Dragon, since it was my personal favorite launch title, but we’ve also had a lot of fun with recent releases like Guacamelee, Chariot, and Volgarr the Viking (especially Volgarr).
There’s no doubt that consumers would like to see bigger releases being offered for free, but I think a lot of that has to do with what they’re used to on other platforms. PSN Plus on PS3 offered a ton of retail releases over the last few months, like Dead Space 3, Crysis 3, and Remember Me, but the PS3 has also been around for quite a while. By comparison, the PS4 has really only offered free indie games as well, similar to what’s going on with the Xbox One, but they’re not only offering different games each month, but generally more than two as well; thanks to Cross-Buy.
I’m not saying everything is perfect, it just may not be as bad as it seems. I’d really like to see more effort put in to Games With Gold and the weekly Deals With Gold discounts, but so far this month is shaping up to be pretty damn good. Chariot and Volgarr the Viking are this month’s freebies; both of which I’ve had a hell of a lot of fun with. On the Deals side, you can pick up Titanfall and all of its season pass content for around $30. Not stellar, but not too bad either.
So to all of you Xbox One owners out there, how do you feel about Games With Gold so far? Has anything released lately that’s interested you? Anything you picked up just because it was free, and actually ended up really liking? What would you like to see from the promotion in the future?
Let us know in the comments!
Bradley Keene is the Executive Editor here at What’s Your Tag?, generally handling news, reviews, public relations, and our social media communications on Facebook and Twitter. He’s an aspiring video game journalist, Baltimore native, and on again/off again WoW player that blasphemously favors consoles over PC. He’ll always have a soft spot for Nintendo, and his favorite game is the original Metroid on NES. As a Marylander he naturally puts Old Bay on everything, loves the Orioles, reads a lot of Poe, and says “son” too much. Contact him by e-mail at the address above, or follow him on Twitter.