February has now rolled out and in the gaming world, that means the announcement and release of both Xbox’s Games with Gold and PlayStation’s PlayStation Plus free games. This attracts many eyes of gamers because at the end of generations and start of new ones these brands usually start rolling out large releases for old consoles and new releases (or updates) for the new ones. This is huge for those with new consoles because it means another game added to their forcefully limited library.
January brought, most notably, the original Dead Rising and the fantastic indie Little Nightmares for Xbox Live subscribers, along with some older games from the original Xbox and Xbox 360 backward compatibility. This was going against PlayStation Plus’ offering of Shadow of the Tomb Raider, the old-school RPG Greedfall, and shark massacre simulator Maneater updated for PS5. PlayStation trumped that round but each offering had great value with Xbox fans getting a chance to jump in on the wonderful creepy indie Little Nightmares and PlayStation fans getting a new title for the PS5 in the easily overlooked but fun Maneater.
Right before the announcement of February’s games, however, Microsoft revealed a doubling of the price for their online service of Xbox Live Gold, propelling it from $60 to $120. This was met with ridicule and an internet uproar from even the most loyal of fans. Microsoft has shifted much of its focus from the traditional medium to its Xbox Game Pass subscription service to great results. This move, however, alienated a large part of their player base that was comfortable with a traditional gaming and online service.
Microsoft quickly did a quick turnaround to apologize for the move and reverted back to their original price – echoing their backtrack after the outcry of early elements of game trading and online elements at the debut of the Xbox One. The damage was already done for many, however, as the outcry soured the taste for many gamers in a time where convincing existing and new audiences could not be more important. Their Games with Gold then became a perfect opportunity to ensure their traditional audience felt heard and supported.
PlayStation fans were then graced with Control Ultimate Edition, IGN’s Game of the Year with each of its DLC’s, indie darling and PlayStation exclusive Concrete Genie, and finally the PS5’s first truly next-gen exclusive since Demon’s Souls and the brand new game, Destruction All-Stars. This rollout went up against Xbox’s February lineup of Gears of War 5, which reviewed very well but is included in Xbox Game Pass for anyone who subscribes, Dandara, an indie with an average critical response, and Resident Evil HD, which PlayStation Plus subscribers saw in their free games as far back as October 2016. This marked a major blow for Microsoft, which was now in more need of support than ever at the start of this new generation.
Do you see this as a fatal misstep?
Are you going to be sticking by the side of Xbox or is this the generation you’re going to jump ship?
Do you think Microsoft will do better next month?
Do you want to murder me?
Let me know down below in the comments and stay tuned for a review of Destruction All-Stars!