One of the largest criticisms facing Xbox Live today is its apparent lack of offerings compared to its direct competitor – Playstation Plus. Playstation offers two levels of its online service, both free and paid, but unlike Xbox Live, Playstation offers free online multiplayer for everyone. Playstation Plus, Sony’s paid service, also offers a multitude of free games for its users to play as they please for a low monthly fee.
Xbox users do have their own unique benefits like the Xbox Live Arcade (XBLA), as well as some basic features like cross-game party chat, yet Playstation has consistently done more to offer more low-cost content to their players.
Based on Microsoft’s E3 press conference this morning, its clear that although Microsoft won’t publicly acknowledge Sony as a threat, it recognizes the appeal of Sony’s Playstation Plus service to its user base. Microsoft has answered back to Playstation Plus by beginning to offer select free titles via Xbox Live for gold members.
Beginning July 1, Microsoft will be offering 2 free titles per month on the Xbox 360, two of which are Assassins Creed 2 and Halo 3. For all Xbox Live Gold subscribers, this offers a value in their paid service unlike anything we’ve seen before. Combined with some free-to-play games coming to the Xbox 360 like World of Tanks, Xbox Live Gold is becoming more and more valuable as Microsoft moves forward with the Xbox platform.
This could be Microsofts response to the internet backlash relating to their product reveal just 19 days ago, but it’s more likely that plans for these offerings have been in the pipeline for a while. Microsoft is beginning to recognize that the more free content they offer on their Xbox platform, the wider their fan base will grow. Although a free-to-play model isn’t best in every situation, its exciting to see that Microsoft is willing to broaden their horizons, and this move will only increase the value of Xbox Live to a whole new level, well into the future.