Microsoft’s Games with Gold program and Sony’s PlayStation Plus both offer a new batch of free Xbox and PlayStation games each month to the subscribers of their premium services.
The comparison between the free Xbox 360 and PS3 games is where the meat of the competition lies.
This month, Sony offers three PS3 games (Puppeteer, Pro Evolution Soccer 2014 and Skullgirls: Encore) against Microsoft’s two contenders on the Xbox 360 (Dust: An Elysian Tail and Saints Row: The Third).
The combined value of the Games with Gold games is $34.98, while the average value is $17.49. The combined value of the free PlayStation Plus PS3 games is $114.97, with an average of $38.32.
The free Xbox 360 games being offered in May are a bit older than the free PlayStation games. Dust: An Elysian Tail came out in August 2012, and Saints Row: The Third released in November 2011. In comparison, Puppeteer and PES 2014 debuted in September 2013, and Skullgirls: Evolution is from February 2014 (though it’s a re-release of Skullgirls, which originally came out in April 2012).
Dust: An Elysian Tail and Saints Row: The Third have an average Metacritic score of 83.5 and an average Metacritic user score of 7.70. Puppeteer, Pro Evolution Soccer 2014 and Skullgirls (Skullgirls: Encore doesn’t have a Metacritic score, so I’m using the Metacritic score for the original Skullgirls, which is the same game) have an average Metacritic score of 80.0 and an average Metacritic user score of 6.47.
Overall, Sony is offering a lot more on last-generation consoles than Microsoft this month. The fact that Sony is offering three games for last-gen consoles while Microsoft is sticking with two is a huge advantage to Sony. The value of the PS3 games is much higher than the value of the Xbox 360 games, which is at least partly due to the fact that all of the PS3 games offered were released within the past year. The only place where Xbox 360 has a major advantage is with the Metacritic user score; Metacritic users didn’t like PES 2014 and Skullgirls nearly as much as the critics.
The last-generation consoles is where any competition between Sony and Microsoft ends, as far as free games.
Microsoft still isn’t offering free Xbox One games with the Games with Gold program, but Sony has been putting up a free PlayStation 4 game every month since soon after the console launched.
Sony also has the PlayStation Vita, which adds another two games to Sony’s repertoire in May. Sony offers three times the number of games with PlayStation Plus as Microsoft offers with Games with Gold.
I’m not saying that Microsoft needs to make a handheld in order to compete with Sony, but they do need to start offering free games for the Xbox One. If they match the Xbox 360’s model and offer two games a month for the Xbox One, Xbox Live Gold might actually be able to compete with the value that PlayStation Plus currently brings to the table.
Right now, though, PlayStation Plus subscribers are getting a lot more bang for their buck than Xbox Live Gold users.
Edited by: Samuel J. Paul
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