I’ll openly admit that I’m a man that is mostly driven by anger. I get joy in life through sourcing out a good uncalled for moan about everything and everyone I can set my eyes on. However it isn’t often that a torrent of anger swells enough to warrant an immediate bitching type fest to release my frustration. Not since my Seth MacFarlane fury have I felt such forceful frowning.
A bit of news was unveiled before my eye today that sent me into such rage. The type of unveiling you don’t want when you sober up at a spur of the moment Vegas wedding, to realise you’re about to marry the human equivalent of a walrus. The news I am talking about was the announcement that September’s Games with Gold will be offering gems such as graphical powerhouse Magic the Gathering 2013 tag teamed with £2 bargain bin bore Rainbow Six: Vegas. Microsoft, mainly their Xbox division has well and truly pissed me and many others off recently with today being the popping point of my generously sized bubble of tolerance with them.
Microsoft should feel embarrassed for the current crop-duster reach of defecation they happily spew aimlessly around the globe with their three month old, Games with Gold incentive. Games with Gold, for those of you not up to date with current gaming gags, is Microsoft’s way of rewarding their loyal fan base for churning out their hard earned money on their monthly or annual Xbox Live Gold subscriptions (£32/$60/€36 for a year, prices vary of course). I, like you, felt excited when the details of this reward scheme first made its way into my ears. Finally Microsoft was acknowledging their loyal fans, and as what this year seems to be for them, playing catch up with Sony along with their PlayStation Plus incentives. PlayStation Plus which is equally priced compared to Live Gold, offers a lot more bang for your buck as regarding free games for subscribers. The quality on offer for Sony’s paying devotees is to be applauded, as they release AAA title after AAA title to download, play and keep if you’re a PlayStation Plus subscriber.
Without word in the middle of June, internet message boards were lit ablaze with laughter knowing that Fable III was available to download, and this unofficially kicked off the Games with Gold shambles. Hot on the heels of 2010s middling RPG was 2007s Crackdown, 2009s Assassins Creed II, 2010s Dead Rising 2/Case Zero and 2009s Live Arcade game Defense Grid. I’m not necessarily saying these games are terrible, although the majority of them don’t hold up, but they are very old games that can be picked up for extremely low prices that wouldn’t even hurt the pockets of a man on a baked beans budget these days.
The games that were flaunted brought on a gag inducing reflex epidemic, one that was brought back with Miley Cyrus’s recent exploits. A line up of games that the majority of Xbox gamers have already experienced at some point due to their years of availability. These games are definitely not a promotion for Microsoft to be proud of and certainly not one to get praise from us subscribers, but instead experience justified complaining and creative abuse. PlayStation Plus offers excellent games, some of them quite recent such as Hitman Absolution/Assassins Creed III/Need for Speed: Most Wanted to name a few. The games change every month and they certainly would trigger squeaky bum time from the baked beans budget man if he were to venture out and buy them in stores. Although PlayStation Plus does offer games of similar age to Games with Gold, it’s the quality of the titles that differ greatly, and this enrages me.
I struggle to understand how Sony can offer such variety in abundance compared to Microsoft in this department, considering the subscription prices are virtually the same. Yes, Sony had that lapse in security a while back but that is in the past, so forget about bringing that up. I am not comparing the two services explicitly, I don’t even own a PS3, but this is also a moan about how Microsoft feels we are worth as customers.
The point and laugh-so-hard-you-choked-on-your-own-vomit Xbox One reveal is an example, only for Microsoft to backtrack more than you would when cutting the garden with just a strimmer. They changed their original policies for the better, yes, but they were hoping we wouldn’t mind in the original reveal which is shocking. The Games with Gold embarrassment is just another in their line of simple minded decisions that fail to reward us long term customers with anything worthwhile. Let’s not forget the comic relief level of generosity that their deposit of 20 Microsoft points into your account on your birthday was. 20 Microsoft points, if you totalled up all the generous deposits of this amount they were so kind to hand out, you could wipe out hunger, for a dog for a day. Maybe. That was as useful as a tear gas filled air-freshener, and the person who devised this so called reward should have been open palmed slapped by every other employee, with a wet towel whipped in every so often.
I thought Microsoft were going to be the pack leaders with the introduction of their groundbreaking, at the time, 1 vs 100 game that offered points for answers, but for whatever reason that died a death with no explanation. Then we have the Microsoft sales that have a ridiculous amount of room for improvement compared to Steam and PlayStation sales, along with their ludicrous pricing of their online content. For example, Call of Duty: World at War if I was to buy it directly through my Xbox would cost me €30/$40/£25. The original Gears of War would also cost €30/$40/£25 when I can pick it up online or in a store for £6 or less. This should be embarrassing to them, yet they do not address the issue in the slightest. If someone knows a genuine explanation for this price model, please let me know in the comments, really. It completely baffles me almost to the point of tears, and I haven’t shed a tear since I came down with a heavy dose of piles in 2001.
I can only hope with the imminent launch of their new console, Microsoft will usher in some new changes with their rewards scheme and online store, as it can only be a good thing. They are already suffering from athletes foot limping after their rivals in various departments, so it is time to start fresh and hit the ground running come November.
Do you agree? Or does Games with Gold fulfill your needs? Let us know in the comments below.
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This article was first posted on August 31, 2013