Which Video Game Subscriptions Are Worth It?

Which Video Game Subscriptions Are Worth It?

As the Coronavirus, and its latest Delta variant, still rages worldwide, many of the world's population are stuck on their couches and on the lookout for the next thing to save them from boredom.

The entertainment business is one of its biggest beneficiaries and in gaming, the landscape is ever-changing, especially with the meteoric rise of subscription services. From free games, to discounts and cloud streaming, or even both!

There are a dizzying array of choices right now. To help you decide what's best for your brand of emptiness, we have compiled the best features of 11 of today's available subscription services.

Apple Arcade

Apple Arcade

What you need

Apple iPhone, iPad, Mac, Apple TV

What you get

You gain access to a large collection of award-winning games with absolutely no ad interruptions and in-app purchases. If you're not 100% sold on it, avail of the one-month free trial to get a feel of their titles. With Apple's Family Sharing feature, you can share the subscription with up to 5 family members.

The Downside

The library isn't as big as it should be

Verdict

Mobile game ads are pretty much a given at this point. Apple gives us a way out of all that for a fair price.

Google Play Pass

Google Play Pass

What you need

Any Android Device

What you get

Google Play Pass has a large catalog of games as well as apps and podcasts. Their games include popular titles like Stardew Valley, Limbo, and Death Squared. More titles are added every month. By subscribing, you get access to all of them. And just like the Apple Arcade, you can share with up to 5 family members.

What makes Google Play Pass different is how it incorporates essential apps like Photo Studio Pro into the mix.

The Downside

While the Play Pass wins in quantity, the games aren't quite as curated as it is on the Apple Arcade.

Verdict

Apple Arcade may appeal to a lot of gamers but Google Play Pass can win you over with its variety of offerings. Whether it’s games or apps and podcasts, this will serve you well every month.

PlayStation Plus

PlayStation Plus

What you need

A PlayStation 4 or a PlayStation 5

What you get

PlayStation Plus was Sony’s first subscription service. Originally, it allowed players access to the multiplayer function. It has since leveled up the service by letting us play with friends that don’t even own the games.

Every month, it gives you two games that you can freely download and play. On top of that, there are exclusive game skins, cosmetics, and weapons from certain titles. If you’re on the PS5, the PS Plus Collection is a great addition to the console’s somewhat limited list of titles.

The Downside

You can only keep the games if you stay on the subscription.

Verdict

Multiplayer is an essential feature in a lot of today’s games. With the PS Plus, you’ll have a fuller experience with your games. Getting two free games per month is just a sweet deal overall.

PlayStation Now

PlayStation Now

What you need

A PlayStation 4 or PlayStation 5. A high-speed internet connection (minimum 5Mbps)

What you get

The second in Sony’s duo of subscription services for the PlayStation. Compared to the PS Plus, PS Now is like Netflix.

By subscribing, you get instant access to a library of over 800 games spanning the PS2 and PS3 to the PS4. This library includes some of the best new games, like Red Dead Redemption 2 and God of War.

It’s worth noting that the service includes a Cloud Streaming. This lets you play your games without the hassles of downloading them. It used to be capped at 720p; a recent update increased the stream resolution to 1080p. You can even play on a PC. Some games require touchpad capabilities so you need a DualShock controller to play them.

The Downside

Like the PS Plus, you don't necessarily own any of the games you download. And if you want to stream games, you're gonna have a hard time if you live in places with bad internet.

Verdict

If you still don’t have a huge library of games to play on your PlayStation, PS Now’s offering is a great choice.

Xbox Game Pass

Xbox Game Pass

What you need

A PC, or an Xbox One or Xbox Series X|S; alternatively, an Apple phone or a tablet, or a select number of Android devices.

What you get

The Xbox Game Pass offers a few choices to players within the Microsoft gaming ecosystem. Depending on the devices that you own, it has choices for those who are exclusively on the PC or Xbox, both with the same features at the same price point. The only difference is the PC Pass includes the EA Play.

The best option by far is the Xbox Game Pass Ultimate. For just five bucks more, you can have access to Xbox Live Gold and Beta Xbox Cloud Gaming, still in beta. That's on top of the discounts, games, and EA Play access of the regular Game Pass.

With Xbox Cloud Gaming, you can play your Xbox games on PC and even on Apple phones and tablets. It won’t matter if you own the consoles or not. The library is expansive with 390 titles from the Xbox console and 278 from the PC.

The Downside

Xbox Cloud Gaming is still in beta and only available in select regions. Check out the list. If you’re a big multiplayer fan, not having Xbox Live Gold on the basic passes may be a bummer.

Verdict

Just thinking up the cons for the Xbox Game Pass was a challenge. If you love games and have the money for them, this is a smart investment.

Xbox Live Gold

Xbox Live Gold

What you need

An Xbox Series X|S or an Xbox One

What you get

The upgraded subscription service for Xbox’s online features. By subscribing, you’ll be able to play multiplayer on your paid games like Destiny 2, Gears 5, GTA V, and more.

Every month, Xbox Live Gold gives you two games that you can download and play for free. They’re not always gold but they have a competitive selection that can go head-to-head with the PS Plus every month. On top of those essentials, they also offer up to 50% discounts on Xbox titles and other add-ons.

The Downside

Like most other subscriptions, you’ll only get to keep and play the titles as long as you’re on it.

Verdict

You won’t really need it if all you’re after are free-to-play multiplayers. But if you’re all about playing with friends, it’s a crucial service to have. Have a PC and are still building up your own library? You may be better off just getting the Xbox Game Pass Ultimate.

EA Play

EA Play

What you need

A PC or a console from the PlayStation or Xbox family.

What you get

EA is known for its yearly releases of sports titles, from Madden to FIFA to NBI Live. With EA Play, you’ll get access to them, and more, like Mass Effect and Dragon Age!

Chasing after yearly titles can be tough on the wallet. EA makes that easier by letting you play, at least, ten hours of their new releases, even before they launch. With the EA Play PRO, you’ll get unlimited access.

On top of unlimited access to older games, you also get 10% discounts on all EA digital purchases. It even stacks on top of reduced prices in the store. The more you level up in the subscription, the more challenges and rewards you’ll get. There are in-game rewards too.

The Downside

If you’re in it for EA’s flagship sports titles, you’ll have to wait for the season to end before you can see the game in the basic subscription vault. In that context, ten hours isn’t really much. And no, it doesn’t include the Sim 4’s extortionate DLCs.

Verdict

If EA’s games are your thing, and you’re thinking about whether to buy their latest offerings, EA Play’s ten-hour testing time may be the answer to your prayers. For Xbox players, just having it with the Game Pass is a no-brainer.

Ubisoft+

Ubisoft Plus

What you need

A PC

What you get

Let’s face it, Ubisoft’s games aren’t cheap. With their new subscription, you’ll gain access to a treasure trove of over 100 titles for just $14.99.

What’s included in the selections are the latest releases like Assassin’s Creed Valhalla and Watch Dogs Legion, as well as some old titles like Rainbow Six Siege and Anno 1800. To complete your experience, it even comes with the Premium versions of the releases. With cloud streaming services like Luna or Google Stadia, you can bring the experience to your mobile devices.

Ubisoft+ also rewards you with customizations, boosters, and other items every month.

The Downside

You won’t be able to keep your games outside of the subscription. (You can keep your saves though, in case you think of buying the game on the same platform.)

It's another launcher added to a growing list of game launchers.

Verdict

Much like EA’s subscription, Ubisoft+ gives their fans exactly what they need. As it’s not bundled with other subscriptions, you may want to hold off this pricey investment if you’re only eyeing one or two games.

Google Stadia

Google Stadia

What you need

A PC, or a compatible phone or tablet; or a Chromecast Ultra to play on your TV

What you get

Google Stadia was one of the first cloud streaming services launched, allowing you to play and stream your games on different platforms through the internet.

With a Stadia PRO subscription, you’ll get access to a growing collection of games. These include games like Everspace and Star Wars: Jedi Fallen Order. The Pro also includes the 4K streaming feature. If the games you like aren’t on offer, you can purchase games directly with some exclusive discounts. Their version of Cyberpunk 2077 is highly praised.

The Downside

It’s a year in and it’s still not available everywhere. (If you’re from the Philippines like us, just keep scrolling). With a lot of internal conflict in Google, rumors abound that the service may be discontinued.

Verdict

Google Stadia has been overlooked for the most part of its lifespan. The launch was unspectacular, plagued by latency issues that it claimed not to have. While things have improved, the overall perception hasn't changed. If you appreciate the flexibility between devices, Stadia could still be a viable choice.

Amazon Luna

Amazon Luna, formerly Prime Gaming

Status

Early Access

What you need

A compatible Fire TV device; A PC or Mac; An iPhone or iPad; or one of their limited number of compatible Android devices; 10 Mbps internet speeds minimum for 1080p, or 35 Mbps for 4K

What you get

Luna is Amazon's new cloud gaming platform. It’s not fully released yet introductory price of 6 dollars. Beware that price may increase after the early access period.

With the Luna Controller, which costs $49.99 streaming games will be smoother because of its separate Wi-Fi connection which reduces the input lag by up to 30 milliseconds. The controller will have Alexa integration and allow you to switch between devices smoothly.

Unlike PS Now which upgraded to 1080p recently, Amazon Luna’s streaming capabilities start out at that resolution. However, it has added a 720p option for those on slower internet connections.

Since Amazon owns Twitch, it will be integrated into the streaming service from the start. If you’re already subscribed to Ubisoft+, it will also be available on the platform so you’ll have access to your games using the Cloud service.

The Downside

It’s still only available in the US, and it’s not quite up to par with Stadia’s more stabilized tech.

The list of games you can play on the platform is still very limited. There’s currently no option to buy games within the platform.

Verdict

Amazon Luna is making the competition tougher for Google. That’s good news for all of us. Being a newer product and still on early access, Luna is bound to have a bit more kinks to its system. As a cloud streaming service, your experience will ultimately be decided by your location’s internet capabilities. It may be worth giving it a try if you’re on the market for cloud streaming platforms. For those coming from the Stadia, you may want to wait till newer features go online.

Humble Choice

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What you need

A PC or a Mac

What you get

Humble Choice is Humble Bundle’s monthly subscription program that replaced their old monthly bundle model. With Humble Choice, you get a selection of up to 12 games every month and you’ll be able to pick and choose which ones you want.

Unlike other subscriptions, you’ll be able to keep all the games you pick every month. These monthly selections include Triple-A games as well as some of their curated indie titles.

If it’s your first time signing up to Humble Choice, you’ll even get a promotional discount which lets you keep all 12 games every month for just $12.Otherwise, you’ll get their regular price of 9 games for $19.99.

In any case, you’ll be allowed to pause your subscription any time if you don’t like any of the games in the monthly selections. What makes Humble Choice stand out is its commitment to donate 5% of its Humble Choice profits to a featured charity.

The Downside

With a focus on many indie games, you might not always like the selections.

Verdict

Humble Bundle has been diversifying its selections lately, expanding into music and even software. While it’s been great, with its rising prices and stagnated game choices, it’s not easy to recommend right now. Still, it’s hard to discount it for the effort to give back to the community and put indie developers on the radar.

2Comments

  • I'm surprised GeForce Now didn't make the list.
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  • Just close your eyes and go for Xbox Game Pass and use this trick to convert Xbox Gold to Ultimate for 3 years. Its the cheapest and will be the best investment for 3 years. You will get EA Play as well. https://www.reddit.com/r/XboxGamePass/comments/j6afou/guide_to_getting_cheapest_game_pass_ultimate/
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