Video game subscription services roundup - which is the best in 2022? - OnMSFT.com
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Video game subscription services roundup - which is the best in 2022?

Video games have become a massive business (not to mention a cultural mainstay) worth almost $200 billion as of 2021. And if you pay attention to the gaming news at all then you know that seemingly everyone and their grandmother are looking to get a slice of that lucrative gaming pie. So it’s no wonder why we are seeing video game subscription services popping up left and right, with a new player emerging on the scene almost every week, it seems.
These gaming services are no doubt a boon to gamers everywhere, especially in this age of $70 games. For a relatively low monthly fee–in many cases $5 or $10–gamers can choose from a broad selection of games to play. Gaming subscriptions may even completely supplant the traditional retail model eventually.
But with so many gaming services to choose from these days, it can be a little daunting trying to figure out which one you should sign up for. Well, fret no more, because we’ve got the scoop on all the best gaming services for 2022 and beyond. So without further ado, let’s check them out.

"The Big Boys"

Probably the biggest factor in deciding which gaming service is the best choice for you depends on the devices you own. Whether you are a console, mobile or PC gamer, there is a great gaming service for you. In the console gaming sphere, all three major players are present and accounted for with their own gaming subscription services.

Xbox Game Pass

Video game subscription services roundup - which is the best in 2022? - OnMSFT.com - October 7, 2022

Microsoft’s game subscription service for Xbox and Windows has emerged as one of the most popular, with over 25 million subscribers in over 40 countries around the world. Like other services it features a rotating catalog of games, with new additions added every month. Game Pass is available in three iterations:

  • Xbox Game Pass ($9.99 a month)–features hundreds of downloadable games, including backward-compatible Xbox, Xbox 360 and Xbox One games in addition to next-gen titles. EA Play is included in Xbox Game Pass. Members can also purchase games from the catalog at a discounted price.
  • PC Game Pass ($9.99 a month)–The Windows PC equivalent of Xbox Game Pass, with its own massive catalog of games.
  • Game Pass Ultimate ($14.99 a month)–this upper tier offers a combination of Xbox and PC Game Pass with all the benefits of each, so users are covered whether they game on Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, Windows 10 or 11, a mobile device or even a smart TV via the Xbox App and Xbox Cloud Gaming. Game Pass Ultimate members also enjoy all the benefits of an Xbox Live Gold subscription, which is included. There are also a few added perks with Game Pass Ultimate you won’t get otherwise. These include Xbox Free Play Days game trials, monthly Games with Gold, and access to Xbox Cloud Gaming for select titles.

Earlier this year Microsoft announced that it would be rolling out a new “Friends and Family” tier for the service. This plan would allow members to share their account with up to four others for $25 a month.

PlayStation Plus

Video game subscription services roundup - which is the best in 2022? - OnMSFT.com - October 7, 2022

Having launched in 2006 for the PlayStation 3, PSN has been around for a while. The service got a revamp earlier this year when Sony rolled out a new, three-tier plan. Features and services vary, and to be honest it’s a bit of a hot mess–one that requires a diagram to make sense of. The tiers and their offerings go as follows:

  • PS Plus Essential–this replaced the original PlayStation Plus. With this $9.99 a month plan you get one PS5 and two PS4 games each month. Also online multiplayer, cloud storage, exclusive discounts.
  • PS Plus Extra–this tier offers a catalog of up to 400 downloadable PS4 and PS5 games at $14.99 a month.
  • PS Plus Premium–at $17.99/month, provides all the above in addition to over 300 more games, including streamable PS3 games. Also a catalog of classic PlayStation, PS2, and PSP games that can be cloud-streamed or downloaded on PS4, PS5 or PC. Also game trials.

Nintendo Switch Online

The Nintendo Switch Online app: Everything you need to know - Polygon
Image via polygon.com

If you’re a Switch owner, then NSO is one of your gaming essentials. Nintendo’s third-generation online service, NSO offers online multiplayer for games that support it, in addition to cloud saves, access to legacy games from classic Nintendo systems, one-week game trials, and voice chat through a companion smart phone app. All this at $20 per year presents an amazing value.
In 2021 an upgraded tier called Nintendo Switch Online + Expansion Pack was released. At $50 a year, it adds N64 and Sega Genesis games to the library, and access to DLC for select Nintendo games.

Other major players

EA Play

EA Play is a slam dunk if you are a fan of EA’s games (and who isn’t?). As mentioned, EA Play is part of a Game Pass subscription. It is also available as a stand-alone service if you don’t have Game Pass, with two tiers on offer:

  • EA Play ($4.99 a month/$29.99 a year)–gives you unlimited access to a select catalog of EA games, including the ability to play select new releases for up to 10 hours days before they officially launch. Also, members-only in-game challenges and rewards.
  • EA Play Pro ($14.99 a month/$99.99 a year)–offers all the above in addition to an expanded library of games with premium editions of select games.

Ubisoft+

Formerly known as UPlay+, this game subscription service from Ubisoft offers over 100 games from the storied French game publisher behind franchises like Far Cry, Assassin’s Creed and others. It offers PC Access at $14.99 a month, and Multi Access at $17.99 a month. Also, select new games at launch and premium editions with DLCs and season passes. Ubisoft+ was made available as part of PlayStation Plus earlier this year and it is rumored to be coming to Game Pass as well, similarly to how EA Play did.

Google Play Pass

For those who are tied at the hip to their Android mobile device, Google Play Pass offers access to a curated selection of hundreds of games and apps, all without ads or in-app purchases. Google Play Pass is $4.99 a month (US), or $29.99 yearly, and can be shared with up to five family members.

Nvidia GeForce Now

Nvidia’s cloud-based gaming service is available for Windows and macOS PCs, as well as Chromebooks, Android, iOS, WebOS and Nvidia Shield devices. GeForce Now is a bit different in that it doesn’t actually sell access to a curated games library; rather, the service works the other way around. It links to users' Steam, GoG, Epic Games Store, and Uplay accounts and delivers cloud streaming through its own hardware. In other words, you bring the games, Nvidia brings the machine. Note that not all games are available, though many thousands are. Here are the tiers.

  • Free–play on a basic rig for up to an hour at a time. You also have to wait in a queue until a machine is available.
  • Priority–play up to six hours, get priority access to machines using RTX cards with performance up to 1080p at 60FPS. $8.99 monthly. $49.99 for six months.
  • RTX 3080–luxe gaming here. Eight hours of play time in a single session. Exclusive access to servers running RTX 3080 graphics cards with up to 1440p at 120FPS. $19.99 monthly. $99.99 up front for six months.

Amazon Prime Gaming

The great thing about Amazon Prime Gaming is that it is a perk included with an Amazon Prime Membership (which is currently $14.99 per month or $139 annually at the time of this writing). Included in Amazon Prime Gaming is a complimentary monthly Twitch channel subscription. It also includes free PC game downloads and access to in-game loot and content every month. If you want to also take advantage of Amazon Prime’s many other benefits, then this included gaming service might just be the answer for you.

Apple Arcade

Apple Arcade offers an unobtrusive gaming experience free of ads and in-app purchases on Mac and iOS devices. It also eschews always-on DRM, meaning users can play offline. The service currently has over 200 games in its catalog, and it features iCloud and Game Center integration. Apple Arcade has a free one-month trial, after which the service is $4.99 a month, or $49.99 yearly. Apple Arcade can also be used through family sharing, and can be had as part of the Apple One bundle.

Humble Choice

Offered through Humble Bundle, Humble Choice offers a range of perks including stacking discounts of up to 20% on Humble Store items. And there is a curated selection of games each month—known as the Humble Trove—for Humble Choice members to claim. Humble Choice costs $11.99 monthly or $129 annually.

Netflix Games

The video streaming giant added mobile games to its service in late 2021. Netflix Games is included with a Netflix membership. It even has some exclusive mobile games you won’t play anywhere else, and there are no ads or in-app purchases, and no additional fees. If you have a Netflix subscription and love mobile gaming, then Netflix Games is a no-brainer.

Google Stadia

Google’s cloud gaming service launched less than three years ago, but already Google has made the difficult decision to wind down the service in January 2023. You can still give Google Stadia a try, but obviously it isn’t going to become a long-term gaming solution for you.

Wrap up

We hope our gaming service roundup has helped you avoid the analysis paralysis and find that gaming subscription that is right for you. As we mentioned, a big part of his choice will depend on what you like to game on. So if you are committed to your gaming console of choice, then the right gaming service will be obvious. But if you are a mobile or PC gamer, then you have a somewhat wider array of options.
If you aren’t committed to any particular device and are looking for the best gaming service around which to build your gaming experience, then you really can’t go wrong with Xbox Game Pass. It has a fantastic catalog of games numbering literally in the hundreds—with more being added every month. These include first party blockbusters like Halo Infinite and Forza Horizon 5, just to name a few, as well as indie sleeper hits like Tunic and Undertale, and everything in between.
And something that shouldn’t be overlooked is the fact that Game Pass is not just for Xbox consoles and Windows PCs. It is available on an impressive range of machines via the Xbox App and Xbox Cloud Gaming. These range from mobile phones (including Android and iOS ones) and tablets to Samsung smart TVs.
All this makes Game Pass an incredible value, and it is, pound for pound, the best gaming service out there right now.

Featured image via wired.com. 

 

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