There are currently two console-based services giving away free games every month. We often compare them to each other, and most people like to rant about Xbox Live and rave about PS Plus. Are they being unreasonable, or is there really a difference in value offered?
Push Square looked into the value and scoring of every game given away by PlayStation Plus in 2014. Looking at each month and comparing the North American and European games, the conclusion looked good. PS Plus gave away $1,349.29 and £960.64 worth of games in the two regions respectively. That’s a monthly average of $112.44/£81.72. Seeing as the annual subscription to the service costs $49.99/£39.99, it certainly pays for itself. Of course, not all games were stellar; there were some better or worse months. However, with an average Metacritic rating of 79/78 depending on the region, it is still a valuable proposition. The only other reason locally that we might use PS Plus is probably for the ability to play online multiplayer on the PS4. It’s not like we can use Share Play locally, but the games make it more than worth it.
So what about the other offering? Xbox Live’s Games with Gold program also gave away free games in 2014. Polygon decided to compare the two, although they point out an important caveat – PS Plus gives games away on more platforms thanks to the Vita, and Xbox only started to give away games for the Xbox One in June. However, in 2014, Xbox Live’s Games with Gold gave away $584.67 worth of games to consumers for an average of $48.72 worth of games each month. A year’s subscription costs $60, which means that players will make back their subscription fee in less than two months of free games.
This isn’t an exact science – both programs offer added services, many of which we can’t take advantage of in South Africa. However, looking purely at the games, we can see that PlayStation Plus does offer better value. Xbox have consistently said that they’re committed to this program and want to offer us better games, but we will need to keep waiting for that – I’ve yet to be blown away by the Games with Gold offering.
In the end, either program is excellent for people who can’t afford to buy the latest games each month. If you’re patient, most of the excellent games that you want to play will come to PS Plus; you may just need to be exceedingly patient to also get the games you want to play on Xbox as those titles seem to lag behind by a few extra years.
I never used to subscribe to PS Plus, but last year I saw real value in it before I got my PS4. After a couple months of subscription, I had a mini library of games for when I got the new console. It helped to keep the PS4 feeling worthwhile, even when I couldn’t afford to buy all the newest games for it. While I haven’t seen similar giveaways on the Xbox One, it certainly has the potential to add value for those who do the same thing – it’s a nice way to start your console’s life cycle with a much larger collection of games than you could afford to buy otherwise.
Last Updated: December 15, 2014