If you prefer to stay inside, you might turn to video games to pass the time. There is just one problem, though—video games get expensive really, really quick. But, there’s a way to mitigate the cost of gaming with various gaming subscription services, allowing you to have access to a wide array of games for a small monthly fee.
But with so many services out there, which subscription service is the best? Which does each one offer? Are there other ways to enhance your gaming experience? We answer all of your questions below!
While Microsoft and Xbox has lagged behind on many aspects in this generation of gaming, one thing they’ve excelled in is with the Xbox Game Pass. The Game Pass is available on both the Xbox One and PC, and the service offers a wide selection of rotating titles every month. Most Xbox One exclusives are available on the Game Pass on release date … sometimes even sooner!
On top of that, Microsoft often has sales on the Game Pass Ultimate, which has both the Xbox One and PC Game Pass rolled into one, and offers free months of other subscriptions like Discord Nitro.
Speaking of Discord, the text and voice messaging system is basically the best option for multiplayer communication on the market. The voice chat is better than most team chat options available in-game, and you can talk to your friends or community easily in the app. If you want, you can even broadcast your game to a server!
Discord Nitro provides certain benefits, like being able to upload bigger files and being able to use server-exclusive emojis over all of your servers. Trust me, the latter is worth the price of admission.
Find the available Discord Nitro options at Discord’s website.
Nintendo’s Switch service is a bit of an odd one. The only free games you get are NES and SNES titles, which are sometimes modified for online play, but otherwise the same retro games you know and love. There’s also Tetris 99 I guess, though.
But Switch Online’s value is … well, in its value. It’s only $20 a year for a subscription, and the service lets you play games like Animal Crossing: New Horizons and Super Smash Bros. Ultimate online. And isn’t that the important part?
Many people are familiar with PlayStation Plus, Sony’s online service that provides a couple of free games a month. But for a gaming subscription service, you’d instead want to go for PlayStation Now.
PlayStation Now is similar to the Xbox Game Pass, but with Sony’s library instead of Microsoft’s. You can even use PlayStation Now on PC, which isn’t something everyone knows about. However, PlayStation Now goes on sale a lot less often than Xbox Game Pass, and doesn’t offer quite as many benefits as Microsoft’s service.
The PlayStation 4 is the preferred console for most people, but it does have a bit of a problem—loading times. Some games, like Monster Hunter: World, have unbearably long loading times on the PS4, but a lot of this can be mitigated with replacing the hard drive with an SSD.
It’s a relatively simple process, and one worth the effort if you place on playing on the PS4 a lot. You can also opt for one with more storage space on it to ... which is the bane of most modern-day consoles. Of course, SSD are also fantastic for PCs, if you need an upgrade.
Of the publisher-specific subscription services, Origin Access from Electronic Arts is probably the best of the batch. Origin Access gives you games like The Sims 4 and recent releases like Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order. Origin Access Basic is only $5 a month, but it has less available than Origin Access Premier, which is $15 a month.
EA Access is the same service on consoles, but is a separate subscription and has a worse selection. It’s better to stick to Game Pass or PlayStation Now for consoles.
UPlay+ is just like Origin Access, but for Ubisoft titles. If you’re looking for more open-world games like Watch Dogs and Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, you’ll be able to play them here. Whether you prefer UPlay+ or Origin Access will mainly depend on what publisher you like more. I much prefer Origin’s launch to UPlay’s launcher, but too.
You can sign up for UPlay+ at Ubisoft’s site.
If you’re playing games on PC, or even just using your PC a lot, you’ll really want to consider a VPN. VPNs are private networks that will protect you against viruses and hackers, and also allow you to bypass regional restrictions on the Internet.
So if your gaming poison are MMOs, a VPN will help not only to keep you safe, but also get past any regional restrictions if you are playing a title that didn’t release in your country.
NordVPN is one of the better VPN services, and it’s 70% off right now. Give them a look!
Humble Choice is a little different from other subscription services. There are three tiers to the subscription, but for $15 a month, you’ll get to choose 9 games from the wide selection of games available monthly. Unlike other subscription services, though, you’ll get to keep these games forever, even if you end your subscription.
You also get access to the Humble Trove, which is a more typical subsciption-like service, but with more indie titles than the others.
Sign up at Humble Choice’s site.
The subscription services for iPhones and Android phones, respectively, are great if you game on your phone a lot. While the subscription is active, you can download any available game and play it, just like any of the other gaming services, just for… mobile devices. It’s pretty nice.
Of the two, Apple Arcade has the better games selection, but Google Play Pass also includes non-gaming apps that may interest you. Either way, you’re kind of stuck to the service that matches your phone’s operating system, anyway.
If you game on your phone a lot, it can be hard to actually hold onto the thing and control your game properly, especially if you’re playing titles like Fortnite or PUBG. A nice grip or mobile gaming controller can make it easier to see the screen and hold your phone, so your gaming experience gets much, much better.