During these trying times, being able to afford video games is a luxury. Video game subscription services are now everywhere and they are viable options for people who can’t afford full-priced games. The question is: which one (or two) should you pick? As a service to the consumer, I spent my hard-earned stimulus check from President Trump to find the right video game subscription service for you!
- Playstation Plus – This is Sony’s online service subscription for the past decade. For 50 bucks a year, subcribers are provided two free games each month for all their Playstation consoles. Throughout the years, the value of Plus became less and less appealing. The AAA games that are included in the subscription can keep you occupied for awhile but if you have video game ADD like I do, then those games will not hold you for long. Not only that, Sony hiked up the price by $10.
For a while, Playstation gave a competitive offer for their subscription services but it is not the case today. Playstation Plus is not much better than Xbox Live, especially with Xbox Game Pass. Two free games every month and a couple of extra discounts will not cut it. Playstation Plus is starting to fall behind and Sony needs to think of a way to make its service more compelling.
2. Xbox Game Pass (PC) – There is plenty of value here, especially for PC users. Brand new games like Gears Tactics and Minecraft <Dungeons> make the $1 entry fee absolutely worth signing up for. The $10 recurring fee (not including promotions) does not seem heavy as long as Microsoft keeps bringing their heavy-hitting games in the library. The Xbox client is well-made and user-friendly. I have no problems when downloading games and having them work. That is something that gamers often take for granted is having their games work right away.
Notable games: Gears of War games, Halo series, The Outer Worlds, Metro Exodus, Forza Horizon 4, Minecraft <Dungeons>
Slay the Spire and Moonlighter are also present along with dozens of indie games like it. If you have not experienced any exclusive games from Xbox, now is your chance. Microsoft deserves to be praised for this. Also, playing Forza Horizon 4 with haptic feedback is a life-changing experience.
Microsoft made a few moves that made Xbox Game Pass even better. This company has been heavily invested in their gaming editions by acquiring Bethesda, the company behind the Elder Scrolls and Fallout franchise back in March. EA Play , was soon integrated into the Game Pass.
MLB The Show is Microsoft’s latest addition to the Xbox Game Pass. What’s special about Microsoft’s acquisition of the MLB The Show? Two things:
- MLB The Show doesn’t have a competition in the realistic baseball market.
- MLB The Show was a Playstation exclusive.
Microsoft finally tapping into this franchise will serve them well in the future.
- Origin Access (PC) – Electronic Arts’ Origin Access has two tiers of subscription: Basic and Premier. The basic package includes 10-hour trials for full games. To get full access, the Premier version of Origin Access offers that for a cool $15 a month. Origin Access subscriptions include EA exclusives like are exclusives like Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order and Battlefield. There are also in-game items you can get in games. In Apex Legends, players will receive some gun skins and some premium credits.
Notable games: FIFA series, Madden series, Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order, Battlefield series, Need For Speed series.
Origin Access is a decent one-time purchase if you want to check out EA’s new titles like Battlefield and… Anthem. The Premier pricing of $15 is just too much to bear if you need a video game subscription. I suggest checking it out for Jedi: Fallen Order but other than that, forget it.
Origin Access is now rebranded as EA Play and their offerings stayed the same. Star Wars Squadrons is a new game that is included as a trial for the basic package and the full game for the premier. Games like Squadrons is what keep EA Play a good value.
EA is looking to get rid of their game distribution client Origin. Since EA Play has been integrated to most major video games subscription for free or as a paid add-on, Origin is getting phased out. Most EA games are also available for purchase on Steam, making Origins obsolete. With all these changes, I’d say EA is doing
This for the best. Origins problems from downloads progress to broken games. I’m looking at you Command & Conquer.
- Playstation Now (PS4 and PC) – As an early adopter and current subscriber of Playstation Now, I highly recommend it you own a Playstation 4. PC users? Not so much.
Notable games: The Last of Us, Spider-Man, Uncharted, God of War games, Bloodborne
First, let’s talk library. There is a huge variety of games to choose from, including Playstation exclusives like Marvel’s Spiderman, The Last of Us, Uncharted, and so much more. Third-party games like Metro: Exodus and Control are available as well (as of June 2020). Despite having a great service for PS4 users, the same love cannot be found for the PC. Yes, you can play PS4 games like Spiderman on your gaming PC but you can only stream them.
Not only is it an insult to my RTX card, playing games this way can be an unwieldy experience because of input lag, even with decent download speeds. Sony needs to figure out how to make the streaming better experience or allow full game downloads for PC users. That being said, if Sony accomplishes this monumental task, having Playstation exclusives available to download on PC will be a huge success. This service had adapted to the flow of the market and I believe it can do it again.
Playstation Now got some good additions in their game roster. Borderlands 3, Marvel’s Avengers, and one of my favorite games, The Long Dark are just a few of them.
The Playstation exclusives are still present, otherwise, what is the point of this subscription, right? Their client is satisfactory for Sony on PC but the experience could be a lot smoother.
All of these things are great but there are still no downloadable games on PC.
Sony, please allow game downloads for Playstation Now subscriptions and I will gladly place 2 extra stars on your rating. For now, I will take your half a star as hostage.
- Google Stadia Pro (PC) – I would like to preface this by saying I received my subscription through a free promotional incentive for being a Youtube Premium subscriber (I may have a subscription addiction). Starting with the good, Stadia has a good-looking and snappy browser.
Notable games: GRID, Destiny 2, Zombie Army 4: Dead War
Gameplay: Excuse the rubber-banding, I had to do this over Wi-Fi. For better results, use a wired connection.
The gameplay experience is smooth with little to no input lag. Artifacting is common but that is the result of a slow internet connection or lag spikes. However, the responsiveness of Stadia’s gameplay experience is undermined by its lack of games. Stadia’s top games are Grid and Destiny 2. These are not bad games but these games alone will not satisfy the $10 asking price. Thankfully there are indie games to go along with them but is simply not enough. Stadia only has 18 games in its “Pro” library. . Google has done a fantastic job with the user experience, like making game streaming bearable for the first time, but there are not enough games for 10 bucks. Stay away from Stadia until there are enough games to warrant the purchase.
Google Stadia added a search bar. To be honest, there is not much good things to say about it at the moment.
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