UPDATED: First free Xbox 360 game for Gold members is Defense Grid: The Awakening

Microsoft’s Games with Gold program has kicked off with the first free title being offered to Xbox Gold Live members.

The game in question is Defense Grid: The Awakening – a 2009 Xbox Live title that normally retails for 800 Microsoft Points. Two free games will be offered each month, with the next becoming available on July 16th.

The Games with Gold scheme was announced at E3 with both Assassin’s Creed II and Halo 3 confirmed as featuring in the offer at some point.

Fanboys will be quick to point out that the offering pales in significance to Sony’s PlayStation Plus freebies. In July PS+ subscribers are entitled to free copies of PS3 titles Battlefield 3, Payday: The Heist and Saints Row The Third as well as PS Vita duo Unit 13 and Ninja Gaiden Sigma Plus

Remember that both Xbox Live and PlayStation plus charge 40 for annual membership.

UPDATE: As pointed out by one eagle-eyed reader, you could argue that Fable 3 was the first free Xbox 360 game to be offered under this scheme. Although you could also argue that it wasn’t an official Games with Gold title. Other things we might have an argument about today:

* Which is better – Empire or Jedi?
* Should you really prick sausages before grilling them?
* Man of Steel is a better film than Superman Returns, but is Superman Returns actually a better Superman film?

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