Speaking at the SXSW festival in Austin, Texas; Microsoft Studios Corporate Vice President Phil Spencer has waded in on the popular debate over Games with Gold vs Playstation Plus. In Spencer’s Q&A session at the festival he stated:
“One of our issues with Games with Gold – not ‘issues,’ but 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…And the business around Games with Gold, for us, is just fundamentally different from some of the other programs that are out there, which does put a different financial picture on a – you’re going to go buy a game that’s brand new, the cost of putting that in, just to be kind of blunt about it.”
GwG titles are still fairly dated but Dead Island showed the service is improving.
It is a good PR move from Spencer to state that the two schemes are ‘fundamentally different’, play up what sets Games with Gold aside from PS Plus and emphasise the benefits, something which Major Nelson and latterly Albert Penello have struggled with the concept of. The benefits of Games with Gold are currently restricted to the Xbox 360, something which Spencer is looking to address in the near future:
“I have been sitting down, monthly now, with that team – some of the earlier months were already programmed – 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…For us, in the long run, as an industry, giving away content like that is just … 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. You have things out there that are kind of bigger subscription services, where I get access to a lot of content. Games with Gold is kind of this step in the middle of, ‘I get games, and how do I feel about those games.'”
One of March’s offerings is Sid Meier’s Civilization Revolution, an older title but a more diverse title.
It remains to be seen whether Games with Gold will ever give away full Xbox One AAA titles within 1 or 2 years of release, it will be a tough sell to the developers but Microsoft are the only company that can afford to do so.