by Joseph Leray
As mentioned in their E3 press conference, Microsoft is establishing new program -- called Games With Gold -- to reward subscribers to Xbox Gold with free games.
That sounds nice enough, but today the company set up a promotional website that gives a few more details on the new initiative. Namely: free games will only be available for a limited time, and that new games will be added on the 1st and 16th of every month.
"Fable III," for example, is available on the Xbox Live Marketplace for $0.00 until June 30th. "Halo 3" and "Assassin's Creed 2" are planned for July.
"As our way of saying thanks for being part of this community, we're giving all qualifying Gold members two free Xbox 360 games each month for the rest of the year," reads a promo blurb. "Each specially selected, fan-favorite game will be available to download only for a limited time, so grab them before they’re gone and keep them no matter what."
A few things stick out: I'm not sure what "qualifies" a Gold member for the free swag, and it's a bummer that it only lasts until the end of the year.
Most importantly, it sounds like I'll have access to my free copy of "Fable III" even if I eventually cancel my Gold subscription.
As a point of comparison, free games were always the most attractive aspect of Sony's PlayStation+ membership, and it's nice to see a similar feature come to Gold. With the news that multiplayer gaming will be bundled up in PS+ on the PlayStation 4, the differences between Sony and Microsoft's online services are -- from a consumer standpoint -- becoming negligible.