Games with Gold Promo Opens with Defense Grid

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Microsoft took to the E3 2013 stage to tout their “Games with Gold” promotion, selecting Halo 3 and Assassin’s Creed 2 to debut the free download publicity march… and instead they give users Defense Grid: Awakening.

Nothing against Defense Grid; it’s a fantastic XBLA title. However, on the same day, Sony announced Battlefield 3 as a free download to PlayStation Plus users. Microsoft’s seemingly impossible slip in public perception seems to have no end.

Major Nelson states retail games announced were never said to be the first “free” games in the promo. Reddit user Kryptunmo points out exactly why the community thought otherwise by quoting the keynote verbatim:

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Should people be angry about which free game Microsoft is offering? Probably not, more so since promised titles are, after all, still coming. However, in the face of competition and for PR purposes, why not offer the games stated? What could possibly be holding up unlocking games over four years old? Are Halo 3 and Assassin’s Creed 2 some grand finale for this short-lived Gold member giveaway?

Personally, I’d prefer free XBLA games over retail games already available for a few dollars physically. So few digital-only titles on Microsoft’s service have ever been discounted, it would be refreshing to see some of those unknown classics in the limelight. Halo 3 sold 8.1 million copies worldwide, Assassin’s Creed 2 9 million across all platforms. How many copies of these will actually be given away? I’d much prefer to see a small team with unfortunately sagging sales of a lost gem be in this limelight; they need the exposure.