April with Games with Gold Will Be Huge

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Steve Anderson
The Video Store Guy
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April with Games with Gold Will Be Huge

For those out there of the Xbox persuasion, you're likely already familiar with the Games with Gold program. Indeed, you've probably already picked up a free game or two with the service, or maybe even jammed your hard drive full of freebies. But you may want to make a little room, because reports suggest that April is going to feature double the freebies of a normal month.

A combined total of six games will be given away in April; two of which will be available for Xbox One, and four for Xbox 360. Starting April 1, Xbox One players will be able to get "Pool Nation FX" and "Child of Light" available for the entire month. Xbox 360 players, meanwhile, will get "Gears of War: Judgment" and "Terraria" at no charge through Tax Day, while the rest of the month will provide "Assassin's Creed 4: Black Flag" and "Army of Two: The Devil's Cartel".

Reports suggest that the Games with Gold program has seen over 100 million total downloads since its launch, and a combined achievement of over five billion total Gamerscore points earned in the process. April was chosen to offer up the expanded array of games out of a desire to celebrate the gamers, which seems to be something of an odd choice. It would seem more reasonable, at first blush, to wait for an anniversary or the like, but there were milestones in there that might have helped cement the decision--the 100 million download, for example--to go with April.

Still, this does a good job of illustrating how important programs like Games with Gold are. Yes, it's just "giving away games," and that's a seemingly obvious move. But this not only draws attention to some titles that might be overlooked, but also allows for more value overall for those who buy the system. Consider for a moment: there are two systems you can purchase, each of nearly equal technical prowess. One costs $200, and the other costs $400. Both systems will get the same games, but the $400 system will give away 12 free games every year. Which one would you buy?

For a lot of gamers, the answer would be the system that costs double, and that's proof of the value free games represent. Microsoft might well know that its systems are flagging a bit in sales and taking advantage of free games to draw interest, and it's a tactic that's likely to work on at least some level. Still, only time will tell just how well it works, but it's likely to have at least some impact.

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