Phil Spencer, a key executive at Xbox, says that the Games with Gold program will feel ‘more true’ to what consumers want in the future in response to criticisms of the program.
Many consumers have felt hard done by with Microsoft’s ‘Games with Gold’ program for the Xbox 360, particularly when comparing the program to Sony’s free games scheme on PS+. Users who have chosen to be a part of the Microsoft platform, particularly those who have been a part of the service for many years, have felt that Microsoft have not been providing enough quality in the games they release and have not been effectively competing with their rivals.
Spencer has responded by suggesting that the ‘Games with Gold’ program will be ‘more true’ to what consumers want in the future, but that the main issue with this is that Microsoft provide the consumers with the game for life, even after the subscription expires. This is in comparison to the PS+ service that will provide users with the game whilst they maintain their subscription.
“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 gonna go buy a game that’s brand new, the cost of putting that in, just to be kind of blunt about it.” – Spencer at an SXSW gaming panel.
Regardless of this, it seems that Microsoft need to refine their Games with Gold program, as they are still not impressing the majority of users 9 months into the service. Perhaps Microsoft should follow in the footsteps of Sony and take ‘rental’ approach of Sony’s free games modal in order to provide users with a better experience, if this is something that consumers appear to prefer.
Spencer also reiterated that Microsoft is 100% committed to the Xbox brand at SXSW. “Xbox is a really critical brand for us as a company as Microsoft; when you think about consumers, what they love about our company, Xbox is one of the most beloved brands that the company has. We’re in the middle of a good, competitive battle in the console space with PlayStation, which is great for the industry. And they remain extremely committed to us succeeding with Xbox, which is nice to hear, right? It’s something that resonates well inside the walls when you’re talking to the teams, or when I stand in front of Xbox fans, I want to make sure that they understand we are extremely committed to this product.”