The lights are on
Speaking at SXSW this weekend, vice president of Microsoft Studios Phil Spencer addressed some of the criticisms surrounding the company’s Games with Gold program. Through the initiative, which began in June 2013, Microsoft gives away two games per month to Xbox Live Gold subscribers.
“The business around Games with Gold, for us, is just fundamentally different from some of the other programs that are out there,” Spencer said speaking of one of the core differences between Microsoft’s program and the PlayStation Plus offerings Sony distributes each month. Games with Gold titles are still accessible should a user drop his/her membership. For PlayStation Plus, licenses expire with the membership, though renewal will make content available again.
Spencer also suggests that Games with Gold, which offers games that are typically older, will be adapting to user requests. “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,” he said.
Our TakeThere is a fundamental difference in licensing between the PlayStation Plus approach to included games requiring an active subscription and Games with Gold, which gives users unrestricted licenses. That isn’t the only difference, though.
Sony has cultivated a stable of indies to flesh out the monthly lineups. Microsoft is lagging behind, with the first ID@Xbox titles yet to arrive. I expect Microsoft to leverage those indie partnerships for the first Xbox One Games with Gold titles.