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Xbox Live’s Next “Free” Game? Defense Grid

This is what we call a "soft launch" of a new service.

UPDATE: My bad. The first game was Fable III. This is what we call a "soft launch" of a news article.

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Ahead of Xbox One’s launch later, Microsoft is rolling out some new Xbox Live features, including Free With Gold, which distributes older games at the low price of nothing to XBL Gold users. The first release is Defense Grid: The Awakening, a tower defense game.

Brad Shoemaker is excited about this, I guess?

Free With Gold is a direct response to a similar service that's proven extremely popular on PlayStation Plus.

Users are understandably upset about this unexciting launch, given Microsoft teased Halo 3 and Assassin's Creed II at E3. Yeah, Microsoft didn’t promise those games would be the first games as part of Free With Gold, but it’s also not surprising people would make that safe assumption.

“Halo 3 and Assassin’s Creed II were mentioned as part of the program - no date was given for their release,” said Xbox Live director of programming Larry Hryb on Twitter. “I don't know what titles will be released when, but I'll let you know what they are when I find out.”

If Defense Grid is all Microsoft could offer at launch, it should have, at least, been prepared to offer a better tease of what's coming in the next few months.

Patrick Klepek on Google+
131 Comments
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Posted by Vextroid

Got to start somewhere I guess?

Posted by MooseyMcMan

Microsoft half-assing it again!

Edited by Thomper

Defense Grid is a pretty good game. Defense Grid is also a game I bought on Steam a few years back for a dollar.

If you're launching your free games service, and competing with Sony who is offering Battlefield 3, Saints Row the Third and a bunch of other stuff this month, Defense Grid is not a good choice. Halo 3 and ACII are also pretty weak, but at least they're slightly more interesting.

Edited by I_Stay_Puft

Haha, another Brad Shoemaker dig? WB Patrick.

Posted by OneKillWonder_

Microsoft half-assing it again!

Even that's being generous. I'd say they're...quarter-assing it at most. This is really sad.

But then again, I've always wanted to play Defense Grid.

Posted by Nardak

Defense grid is a pretty poor way to start giving free games on monthly basis.

Shadow complex would have probably been a good game to give away. That would have been good PR for Microsoft and would have sent a message to players that Microsoft is serious about this new service.

Posted by skreba

So where does one go to download these "free" games? Tried just looking for Defense Grid (I have it on PC...I like it...and, you know, free), but it still tries to charge me 800 points to download. Or is this just because I happen to be an American living in Germany and Microsoft likes to give a big middle finger to anyone not physically in the U.S.?

Edited by MEATBALL

Over delivering on value.

Posted by Sin4profit

Do be fair, i hate tower defence games, and Defence Grid is actually pretty good.

Posted by noizy

“I don't know what titles will be released when, but I'll let you know what they are when I find out.”

LOL. Yea. You go find out.

Posted by Bumbuliuz

This is such a weak sauce from Ms. They need to do better to compete with PS Plus.

Posted by SlashDance

This month on Playstation Plus : Battlefield 3, Saints Row 3, Payday : The Heist.

Just to give some perspective.

Posted by thehideousshrew

Did this not start in the U.S. already? I live in the U.K. and we already got Fable 3 for free last month.

Posted by Ley_Lines

@skreba: as far as I can tell, it's not free yet because it's still showing up as 800 MS for me.

Edited by kimvidard

hum... will they go all in with the next game and offer... Geometry Wars 2??

Posted by plugger603

Yup lets start bitching over free stuff now. What has this society come to.

Edited by Lexus2jz

Fable III was the first free game given away from Games With Gold.

Edited by Kermity

Wasn't Fable 3 the first free game offered? And I gotta say, I'm pretty excited to get this game for free. I've already played the crap out of Halo 3 and AC2

Posted by thehideousshrew

@kermity said:

Wasn't Fable 3 the first free game offered? And I gotta say, I'm pretty excited to get this game for free. I've already played the crap out of Halo 3 and AC2

Yes it was.

Posted by DaemonBlade

Defence Grid was also a give away for people who backed the next season of Penny Arcade's DLC podcast. I guess they want to get people into the game so they'd get the next one that's coming out.

Posted by Kaowas

@thehideousshrew: Same here in Canada. Fable 3 was the first free game they launched the day of the Microsoft E3 conference... Which broke the server that Fable 3 was on and I couldn't download it and play it for a week.

Edited by Sputty

@plugger603: It's not free. The moment they offered this is a service it would be critiqued and compared to existing systems. PS+ has better bonuses while being a less restrictive service and that's the competition.

In general, if you give someone something as a reward of some type and it's lacking from what people expected it would've been better not to offer anything. It comes off as insulting and dishonest.

Posted by XChairmanDrekX

You would think they would start off strong with a service like this to give the impression that gold is just as worthwhile a service as psplus. Looks like they dropped the ball here IMO.

Posted by Smokey_Earhole

Beyond fucking funny. Between this and Mattrick getting the fuck out of dodge, this has been a hilarious day so far.

Posted by MaximusArtimus

Also, these games are free to keep, even if you cancel gold. Unlike PSPlus where you can only play then while you pay the subscription.

Posted by bassman2112

I mean... I like Defense Grid; but it is no Saints Row the Third or Battlefield

Posted by OurSin_360

Fable 3 was first last month, this is first for july with a second coming on the 16th.

But it's kinda ironic that it seems microsoft is now trailing behind sony in terms of online services. It feels the companies wanted to switch roles and see how it feels on the other side.

Posted by josephforrester

Wasn't Fable 3 the first one....last month

Edited by MeatSim

Well I have Halo 3 and AC2 so at least it's a game I don't already have. Also apparently Fable 3 was the first free games with gold game, though that's not a strong first game either.

Posted by SargeGulp

Or X-COM.

Posted by RazielCuts

“Halo 3 and Assassin’s Creed II were mentioned as part of the program - no date was given for their release,” said Xbox Live director of programming Larry Hryb on Twitter. “I don't know what titles will be released when, but I'll let you know what they are when I find out.”

He also said in a reddit thread - 'I only found out today.' How if anyone does Major Nelson not know what the release schedule for this thing is when he's the Director of Programming for the XBL service?

Posted by Lexus2jz

@meatsim said:

Well I have Halo 3 and AC2 so at least it's a game I don't already have. Also Fable 3 was the first free games with gold game, though that's not a strong first game either.

Compare Fable 3 to the first game PS+ had, I'd say that makes Fable 3 a pretty strong first game.

Posted by mikey87144

Can we all agree that Sony's current "free" offerings are better? Regardless of the terms I'd rather have Sleeping Dogs than Defense Grid.

Posted by jimmy_p

Posted by MindChamber

I wouldve preferred Iron Brigade. Ive been wanting to play that but dont feel its worth extra money (to me)

Posted by Krakn3Dfx

I played the crap out of this game on the PC, good stuff. Kind of a weak console offering tho IMO, especially when they're only doing this until the XBO release.

Posted by RecSpec

To be fair, Sony started pretty slow as well. Before they had PS+ there was Qore, which was...never mind. I'm sorry for bringing that up.

Edited by louiedog

The promo page (currently down) says that this promo starts today. It classified Fable 3 as a bonus game. It's all kind of silly, and yeah Fable 3 came first, but I can understand where the confusion would come in and how this would be called the first free game.

Edited by Spitznock

With them talking about Fable 3, Halo 3, and AC2, I was expecting these freebies to be full retail games (even if they're pretty old full retail games).
It's pretty crummy to complain about free things though, so sure, XBLA games are cool too.

Edited by RVonE

Yup lets start bitching over free stuff now. What has this society come to.

It's not free. It's a paid service with a competitor that seems to offer a better deal.

Edited by Lexus2jz

@mikey87144 said:

Can we all agree that Sony's current "free" offerings are better? Regardless of the terms I'd rather have Sleeping Dogs than Defense Grid.

Of course they are way better but they have had a year to get to that point.

Posted by NmareBfly

Defense Grid is actually pretty great and the developers seem to be cool guys, but when MS is trying to position this as equivalent value to Sony's offering it falls rather flat.

Edited by hermes

@lexus2jz said:

@mikey87144 said:

Can we all agree that Sony's current "free" offerings are better? Regardless of the terms I'd rather have Sleeping Dogs than Defense Grid.

Of course they are way better but they have had a year to get to that point.

To be fair, the first month line up included Saints Row 2, Infamous, Lara Croft and Ratchet & Clank, among others...

Not to disrespect Defense Grid, but Microsoft invited this by pitting it against other, better offerings and making their promotion last only 3 months.

Posted by Wolf3

@thehideousshrew: Yes, the U.S. had Fable 3 since E3. It was up until a couple of hours ago (on July 1st, not the claimed 30th end date). Now there's just...nothing listed.

Posted by Wolf3

@plugger603: It's not free. I paid $15 for 3 months worth of whatever these games are. It's not super expensive, but that's obviously not free.

Posted by Nadafinga

Microsoft had a chance here to wow everyone after the PR nightmare of the last few weeks, they could have come out with a nice big title for free....and they drop Defense Grid?

Sheesh.

Posted by BaconGames

Aw, poor Defense Grid. That game is fucking great (obviously if you hate tower defense then you hate tower defense) but yeah, putting Defense Grid out there like this does it no favors other than invite a lot of unnecessary snark its way. I could care less that there are better games on PS+ if the best argument people are putting forth is just shitting on Defense Grid. Here's a better way to do it:

While this is certainly a start, clearly PS+ is more of a robust service that has some killer games this month.

To be fair, if you look over the course of PS+, a lot of those games and months are questionable in my mind so it's only recently that PS+ has added some great games that made that service worth getting.

Posted by Patman99

Although it is great that Microsoft has embraced the free games model started by Sony, it seems extremely misleading that when they first announced the service, they announced ACII and Halo 3 as free games but now are saying that we don't know when they will be released.

I am more likely to play defence grid but I feel like they showed this real big flashy games and then yanked them out from under us and replaced it with a much smaller deal. Sure, we will get ACII and Halo 3 eventually, but they should not have showed those games unless they were prepared to release them first.

Posted by redbliss

Fable 3 was the first free game that MS offered, but it wasnt part of this free game thing they are doing.

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