Microsoft Adding Free Games, Other Improvements to Xbox Live
Microsoft isn’t ignoring the changes Sony has made to the online market with its Playstation Plus, and with Xbox One, the company intends to step up its Xbox Live subscription service.
During its E3 2013 press conference, Microsoft announced a few new changes to Xbox Live alongside lots of new games coming to the console. Up first, Microsoft is emulating Sony’s big selling point with Playstation Plus, which is the addition of free games for subscribers. Microsoft will offer Xbox Live Gold subscribers — who currently pay $60 a year for the online service — two free games as part of their subscriptions.
The first two games offered as part of the free program are Assassin’s Creed 2 and Halo 3, although Microsoft said more games would be in the offing in the future as well.
A few other changes coming to Gold subscriptions should make the service a little more worthwhile. For one, Microsoft is making a Gold subscription more viable for multiple users in a given household, meaning that if one player is subscribed to Gold, other players on that same Xbox One — say, little brothers and sisters, for example — can play multiplayer and access other premium Gold capabilities, even without the Gold subscriber’s account logged in.
That’s a big change from how Xbox Live functions on Xbox 360, in which multiple players are forced to use the same account for multiplayer and other features.
Finally, we’re seeing a few other features and minor changes. A partnership with Twitch TV means that Xbox One players can save their game replays and share them with friends online. Xbox Live is also increasing its Friend List cap over 100 to bring it in line with other social media (and will likely be expanded further with things like Facebook integration, which we see on Xbox 360 now). And Microsoft is finally doing away with its irritating Microsoft Points currency and moving to real money, so you’ll know the actual, conversion-free prices of things you buy on Xbox Live.