Games with Gold for the XBox One – A Worrisome Premise Despite Confirmed Titles

Games with Gold

It is June 1st, and as of now there is no definitive date for when we can expect to see Halo: Spartan Assault and Max: the Curse of Brotherhood arrive on our XBox One‘s for free, even though those games have been confirmed for program rollout for June on the XBox One. Microsoft‘s own news outlets report that the games will arrive on “specific dates coming soon“. This is not an entirely confidence inspiring soundbite. On one hand, I would like to be supremely confident that there is no way MS would risk gooning this up on the eve of E3, so maybe they are just waiting to make them go-live just prior to that event. On the other hand, if it is not part of the E3 announcement strategy, is the deployment of these games and provisioning as free downloads for XBL Gold subscribers a low priority that could drag out beyond the first week of the month?

Halo: Spartan Assault is set between the events of Halo 3 and Halo 4. It features online co-op against hordes of Flood as well as Covenant forces.You know; it’s more Halo. And the XBox One needs it badly. Forget about the price drop and going sans Kinect. What the XBox One needs is games, and it needs free, low-cost ones that are compelling and appear to be of at least equal value to what PlayStation gamers are getting through PlayStation Plus. But right now there is no telling when this thing will show up. There is not even a mention of Games with Gold on the XBox One storefront with a “coming soon” tagline or anything. This is disconcerting to say the least.

Halo Spartan Assault

Halo Spartan Assault

In contrast, XBox 360 gamers are ready to roll with Dark Souls, Charlie Murder, and Super Street Fighter IV: Arcade Editionwith the first title available right now. The PlayStation Store is readying to roll out Trine 2: the Complete Story and PixelJunk Shooter Ultimate for the PlayStation 4, and starting in July, those free games (2 per month) will be available for the PS4 from the first Tuesday of the month until the first Tuesday of the following month; no guesswork. I have a lot of confidence that even the June games are going to be ready to roll this coming Tuesday.

Max: the Curse of Brotherhood

Max: the Curse of Brotherhood

While I can hold my horses for the arrival of the other free Games with Gold title for this month, Max: the Curse of Brotherhood, the shifty-feet approach to announcing dates for Halo: Spartan Assualt’s arrival is making me more than nervous. Microsoft should really have this wired by now. The lack of transparency is not placing me in a state of mind that would encourage me to recommend the XB1 over the PS4 to anyone who happened to ask me. At this crucial time, standing at the entrance into summer, when there will be students with two to three months of downtime, some of whom are looking to purchase a new console with those hard-earned summer job bucks, where is Microsoft leaving gamers to go? They are potentially ceding a lot of the mindshare that encourages gamers to go where the free and inexpensive games are to Sony, as they have been doing for some time. Let’s hope they turn it around soon.





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Agasicles has been, and continues to be, all over the map, physically literally, and figuratively. When he is not changing diapers or chasing the dog, he tries to squeeze in some gaming, and even tries to write about it from time to time. He is also into movies, comics, and is trying to perfect the art of binge-streaming television seasons via various streaming services.


  1. They said they are coming with the June system update. Not an exact date, but I would say this is an example of a forthright message “transparency”.

    • @mike_mcmeans:disqus and @incendy:disqus – I understand your perspective. But it is not as confidence-inspiring as an actual date, as you mentioned incendy. And for current owners of the XBox One, it makes sense. I am not sweating it personally because I already have an XBox One and the games will show up when they show up.

      But only about ~19 million people have purchased current gen consoles, as opposed to the roughly 264 million who own consoles from last generation (or you can discount the 101 mil. Nintendo Wii owners if you want). My guess is that those who have chosen to wait outside the fence are weighing factors to make their choice, if they are going to re-up for another gen console at all, just as I was for the first few months following the XB1 and PS4 launches. I bought both, but most people who come to me to ask “which one, PS4 or XB1?”, are only intending to buy one.

      In the factor of which console is likely to provide the better free games experience, right now I give that nod to Sony. Until MS delivers on a comparative experience on the XB1, they are arguably behind, and what I am saying here is that not providing a commit date and not having the games ready on 01 June, as they were on the 360, or on a normal rollout date, as they will be on the PSN this Tuesday, seems to indicate that there are technical problems that have not been ironed out to the point where a more refined target date can be provided. That impacts potential buyers, as well as investors who are asking MS why they have not sold the same number of units as Sony has. I realize that the business end of gaming does not interest all gamers, but it is a part of the industry, and opinion articles on those factors are part of the ongoing discussion on Gamers Sphere.

  2. “June’s system update will debut Games with Gold on Xbox One, with Max: The Curse of Brotherhood and Halo: Spartan Assault. We will announce specific dates that these games will be available soon.”

    Looks pretty transparent to me. Just have to wait for the system update.

  3. You forgot to mention that the sky was falling.

  4. Oh no, the world is exploding.

    How do things like this get written up. I would think gaming bloggers would have more knowledge then the average console user. It has been clearly stated several times by multiple Microsoft sources the games will be available after the required June system update. The update and free games will arrive soon. Either the update will be here just after E3, as many are predicting. Why After E3? Because there are further rumors of there being still some features being added to this update that will not be announced until E3 or they don’t want to worry have additional things to worry about leading up to E3. Or the update will come later, like the third week, or heaven forbid at the end of month. In any case you will still get your 2 games for June and 2 more for July. So calm down, take a breadth.

  5. What? Whoever wrote this just STFU. The games will land when they land. Pathetic attempt to concern troll. That check from Sony finally cleared huh?

  6. You should consider altering your bio to state that you also DON’T keep up with the Microsoft updates requiring a system update requirement for the Xbox One prior to being able to download the free Xbox One games as there was previously a DRM issue that would prevent you from being able to play the free games purchased from the store offline, this update will in effect fix that issue hence why it is a requirement and stated by Microsoft that the games will be available once the June update is implemented.

    If you don’t like Microsoft or the products it provides then why don’t you just come out and say that instead of hiding behind a wall of bs insinuating that “OMG Microsoft promised it’s gamers something and never delivered”, something tells me you don’t even own an Xbox One so clearly if that is the case then everything you write regarding Microsoft is derogatory and therefore everyone should treat it with the same contempt that you emphasize in YOUR opinion, this being a prime example.

    Either get up to date with the news that Microsoft releases prior to posting your article or quit whining and stick to your “preferred” console of choice which clearly is NOT the Xbox product.

    • I’m not sure if the category is unclear, but this actually is an opinion piece by Agasicles, I’ll measure the probability of changing the category from “Editorial” to “Opinion Pieces” to avoid this kind of confusion

  7. June update is rumored to be the 9th

    • Thanks @lostbytes:disqus, I can see MS taking that tact and trying to blend the rollout of the update into part of the “good news story” theme at their E3 press conference. Hopefully they have estimated that the 9 days into June is enough runway to ensure that there are little to no problems with the rollout of the update.

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