2015 has been among the other things the year of free games offered by PlayStation Plus and Xbox Live. We are all happy and glad this is happening, as this is a symbol of Sony and Microsoft caring about their users and fans. But we also know there is a lot of room to improve upon this base, mainly for two different reasons for the two different services. Xbox Games With Gold needs to start offering more recent titles, if it wants to really be interesting for consumers paying an annual subscription.
PlayStation Plus Instant Game Collection needs instead to start supporting more relevant PlayStation 4 titles. Those launched on PS3 are very good and often AAA productions, but on PS4 they have been mostly exclusively indie or digital. So it is very clear what these two services have to improve and which are their specific weaknesses, and we are pretty sure Sony and Microsoft will work upon them to make their platforms more attractive in the future.
Sure it is something that most come from both of them. We would be really disappointed in case none of platform holders makes the “quality leap” just in the wait for the competitor to make it first, creating some kind of cartel that would only harm consumers. Taking a look at what happened in 2015, by the way, we can see some good games coming from both Xbox Live and PlayStation Plus. For an in-depth and top quality analysis, you should check this and this other article from Polygon; here will just see the best for each platform, which we find might be more useful for you to judge whose service has “won” 2015.
Ultimately, the best Xbox One game of the year offered by Games With Gold in our opinion is Thief – since it reaches the offer in the second half of this month, maybe it’s a good sign of things to come in 2016. We’re telling this considering a few parameters like: quantity of contents delivered; quality; retail cost and timing. Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag was also in the race but it arrived very late in comparison with the actual release date, same as Tomb Raider Definitive Edition.
Child of Light, Valiant Hearts: The Great War and Rayman Legends were also pretty good offers coming from Ubisoft, but those were not to consider full AAA titles, at least when they arrived on the GwG service. Same for Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes, which was also part of the Xbox 360 offer in the month of October.
Talking about PlayStation Plus Instant Game Collection, based on the same parameters we considered for Xbox One, the best PS4 title delivered for free seems to be July’s Rocket League. It’s not an AAA production and it’s not a retail game, but at least it has a high playtime value which you should not underestimate in case you want a lengthy home console title.
For PlayStation 3 things shaped up really differently, with a lot of great games launched for free although not being so much recent. 2015 seemed to have kickstarted a different way with inFamous First Light, which was a standalone expansion to inFamous Second Son and looked the ideal for Sony to begin launching AAA titles on PS Plus.
That didn’t happen, by the way, with the company exclusively relying on indie and digital titles just like it is doing with PlayStation Vita. We think and hope that next year is going to be different, since with PS3 there was also a long time where games offered were not as great as they are today. Time will only tell if Sony has the will to make that jump ahead.
In the end, looking back at 2015, which are your considerations on Games With Gold and PlayStation Plus Instant Game Collection? Do you use them both? Which is the one you are most satisfied with? Let us know in the comments section below.