Much like the TV and media business, subscription services have gained a lot of popularity in the gaming industry in recent years. Physically buying a game and media, in general, has become much less common than it used to be. The utility provided by most subscription services these days, far surpasses individually buying games, especially in wake of the spike in game prices worldwide.
But out of all the video-game subscriptions out there, which one is the best for you? We’ve got you covered with our list of every major gaming subscription available, ranked from worst to best.
Most of these services will allow you to play games after downloading them as usual, but some of the picks also offer built-in streaming services as well. These subscription services are essentially all-in-one solutions for all your gaming needs. In fact, some of the best ones offer so much more than anyone could’ve imagined a year or two ago.
We sincerely hope that you’ll be able to decide on the best bang-for-your-buck service after giving our list a read.
10). Netflix Games
Like most people out there, you probably didn't know that Netflix offered gaming services. That is for good reason, as likely no one would ever want to buy Netflix for the games. In fact, the data suggests that less than 1% of users on the streaming service have ever tried playing a game via Netflix Games.
The poor advertising strategies incorporated by Netflix are partly to blame, but realistically speaking, the games aren’t really special either.
Netflix Games can be accessed by anyone who subscribes to Netflix. The service is reserved for Android and iOS apps and has a decent suite of mobile games in its inventory. Some good mobile titles such as Moonlighter, Poinpy, and into the Breach are available but overall, nothing too impressive.
We only recommend checking out Netflix Games if you already have a Netflix subscription.
9). Nvidia GeForce Now
You’ve probably heard about this service at least once in your life. Celebrated graphics card manufacturer Nvidia has been trying to break into the streaming business for a long time now. In fact, the beta version of GeForce Now first came out in 2015. It’s basically a type of cloud streaming service, comparable to the likes of Stadia, but better in many regards.
Geforce Now doesn’t offer a fixed library of games or anything like that, you’ll still have to buy the games from online digital stores. After you’ve connected Geforce Now to your Steam or Uplay library, you will now be able to stream your games via cloud servers. So, basically, if you don’t have a premium gaming rig or you’re just too busy to use one and want to game on the go, then this service is for you.
It supports PC, Mac, iOS, and Android as well as Nvidia’s Shield TV. A major problem is that not every game will support Geforce Now. So, you’ll have to check the compatibility of the games by yourself before you buy this subscription.
- The service offers three tiers of subscription.
- The Free tier will allow you to play for only one hour at a time, the setup will be pretty basic too.
- The Priority tier boasts a 1080p resolution at 60fps with RTX-powered premium servers. It will cost you 10$ a month and you can stream up to 6 hours.
- The RTX 3080 tier, as can be guessed by the name, gives you access to rigs consisting of an RTX 3080. You’ll be streaming in 4K 120fps for up to 8 hours at a time. This tier costs around 20$ a month.
You can use this service multiple times a day, there’s no daily limit. It is suggested that you first check out the free service, and see if you’re comfortable with the environment or not. Overall, Nvidia GeForce Now gives good performance but is still quite the expensive option for a lot of people.
8). Prime Gaming
Prime Gaming, much like Netflix games, is included along with the cost of an Amazon Prime membership. As much as we’d like to recommend Amazon Prime in itself due to perks like super-fast free shipping and exclusive discounts, no one would ever recommend it solely for gaming. Prime gaming is just one of the many perks a Prime membership has to offer.
A Prime membership costs 15$ a month or 139$ annually. Prime gaming can give you access to around half a dozen PC games per month. Sometimes, on special occasions, they may even give out dozens of games in a relatively shorter time window.
Many of the games are generally somewhat obscure, but occasionally you’ll get handed some good indie titles and even AAA games, like Mass Effect, The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, and Assassin's Creed: Origins. These are some of the games Amazon has given away in 2022. In addition to the freebies, Prime also offers some in-game content for big-time multiplayer games such as Apex Legends, GTA Online, and Pokemon Go.
Then, there’s also Luna, Amazon’s in-house game-streaming service. It’s definitely not worth the cost, but you can check it out for free. If you have a Prime subscription already, Amazon will provide a handful of games that you can stream for free. The free service is available for a month only, so you can give it a try if you like.
7). Humble Choice
Sometimes regarded as one of the best subscription services for PC gamers, after the Xbox PC game pass, Humble choice comes with several perks. At 12$ a month, you’ll get access to free games each month. You can basically own these games after you claim them.
Generally, the line-up is pretty decent too. For September 2022, the Humble Bundle includes the likes of Just Cause 4: Complete edition, Descenders, and Crusader Kings 3. There’s no schedule in place that tells which games will be included in the line-up, so it's a bit of a risk in that you might not want to play the games that are available.
In addition to the basic Humble Bundle, you also get access to the Vault. It includes a collection of over 50 indie titles that you can permanently own, while new ones keep on getting added. There’s also the Humble Choice collection, which is essentially a rotating roster of games.
You get access to this collection only as long as you remain subscribed to the membership. Nonetheless, the Humble choice bundle still offers a lot as you get to keep everything else. Moreover, five percent of Humble Choice's revenue goes towards charity every month. So, subscribing to the service also helps in serving good causes, in addition to filling up your game library.
6). Nintendo Switch Online
The base Nintendo Switch online package costs around 4$ per month, 8$ for three months, or 20$ annually. Switch Online, much like PlayStation Plus or Xbox Gold, is needed to play most of the online multiplayer offerings on the console. Nintendo’s first-party titles are also included in this, so yes, you’re going to need the membership for the likes of Animal Crossing and Splatoon 3.
Overall, Nintendo’s online multiplayer environment isn’t the best available. Even some of the most popular online switch games face an array of performance issues, not generally encountered in PlayStation or Xbox environments.
Nintendo does focus on local multiplayer and probably is optimized as such. Top-tier multiplayer games like Apex Legends and Fortnite won’t require a Switch Online membership to be played. In addition to this, Switch online members also get access to massive catalogs of NES and SNES games like Super Mario and The Legend of Zelda.
Even though there are some top-tier titles present in Switch Online libraries, most of what we get today is obscure and worthless. However, a useful functionality the Switch membership does provide is cloud saving. It comes in really handy if you ever want to upgrade your Switch or have more than one Switch console at home. The family plan costs $35 per year.
Nintendo Switch Online + Expansion Pack
Last year, Nintendo added a second tier known as Switch Online + Expansion Pack. With a relatively hefty price tag of $50 for an individual membership and $80 for the family plan, the service adds Nintendo 64 and Sega Genesis libraries. These libraries do contain some really beloved Nintendo games such as Super Mario 64.
Right now, the expansion pack offers a lot of bonuses and has added hits like Mario Kart 8 Deluxe Booster course pass and the Splatoon 2 Octo expansion. In this regard, the expansion provides good value for money but these bonuses won’t matter to players previously unfamiliar with these Nintendo games.
5). Google Play Pass
Very similar to Apple Arcade and launched around almost the same time, Play Pass is Google’s move in the mobile-gaming subscription business. Costing 5$ a month but a surprising 30$ annually, it provides good value for money.
In contrast to Apple Arcade which focuses primarily on juicy exclusives, Play Pass relies on popular multiplatform hits that are readily available on the play store. Some of the best gems include Star Wars: KOTOR, Limbo, Sonic the Hedgehog, and Monument Valley 2.
Google Play Pass subscription can be readily shared between five family members, just like Apple Arcade. Most of the games are controller-supported and you won’t have any problems connecting to almost any Bluetooth controller you might have.
Overall, it’s a nice and inexpensive service. The family plan is highly recommended for Android users with an interest in mobile gaming.
4). Apple Arcade
A mobile gaming subscription with zero microtransactions and an ad-free experience, Apple arcade might just be one the best services for the small screen at the time. Launched in 2019, the service boasts more than 180 games in its inventory. The fee isn’t that bad either, with the subscription costing $5/month or $50 a year.
The library is rapidly evolving and is known for adding premium releases from quality studios. The service also gives you access to many exclusive games as well, What the Golf? and Grindstone are only a few of the exclusive titles the service has to offer.
Popular hits such as Oregon Trail, the Seven Sirens, and Fantasian are readily available on Apple Arcade. The catalog covers a wide variety of genres from deep RPGs to simple puzzle games.
Apple Arcade games are compatible with the iPad, iPhone, and Apple TV. A lot of the games offer controller support as well, so you can gain a switch-like experience from your devices. Honestly, it is safe to say that every iOS user with a knack for mobile gaming should at least give Apple Arcade a shot. The subscription can be canceled at any time and doesn’t cost a lot either, so why not?
3). EA Play
Coming to the more hardcore gaming subscriptions on our list, EA Play is a solid budget-sensitive service with a lot of added advantages for the price. The service will set you back $5 per month or $30 for an annual membership.
EA play currently offers almost 100 games in its catalog, but it does include some antiquated sports sims in that. Nevertheless, the service also boasts top-notch AAA titles like Mass Effect: Legendary Edition, several Battlefield games, a bunch of Star Wars games, the latest FIFA and Need for Speed titles, plus many others. Frankly, even if you were to buy one of these games these days, they could cost you more than the yearly membership.
The subscription is offered via Steam and Origin on PC. In addition, it is also offered on Playstation and Xbox, which have the most extensive library of games due to some 360 titles also being included.
Overall, it’s a great service that would provide the most value for PC or Playstation users because of the low yearly cost. Xbox users don’t really have to go for it as EA Play is already included in the Xbox Game Pass Ultimate. The subscription also allows you to play game trials for upcoming games, you can play for up to 10 hours and decide whether you’d want to buy it or not.
EA Play Pro
The EA Play service also offers a pro-tier for $15/month or $100/year. It gives you early access to all upcoming EA titles. This is especially beneficial for sports sim fans who would rather spend $100 once instead of buying multiple sports releases in a year.
2). PlayStation Plus
In June 2022, Sony’s basic online multiplayer subscription was merged with its streaming service called PS Now, the result of which was Sony’s answer to the Game Pass. The new PlayStation Plus service has three tiers offering varying perks and prices.
The tier system is relatively new, so it’s somewhat early to predict how well it’ll fare against the highly-acclaimed Xbox Game Pass. Nonetheless, the offerings look enticing and it is recommended to at least give the new service a chance. The tiers will be explained one by one.
PlayStation Plus Essential
The original PS Plus membership has been renamed PS Plus Essentials. Without this membership, you won’t have access to the vast majority of online multiplayer games.
With Essentials, you’ll get access to three free games per month. And in this regard Essentials is offering better value than Xbox Live Gold, as it gives out relatively better games for the same $10/month or $60/year price tag. Some of the most popular releases on Essential this year were NFS Heat, Yakuza: Like a Dragon, Persona 5 strikers, TOEM, and God of War.
These are great games for the price tag on the membership. Additionally, Essential members will have access to 19 extra PS4 games including Unchartered 4 and Days Gone. The catch is that these games can only be accessed on the PS5.
PlayStation Plus Extra
This tier comes with all the benefits of the Essential tier, along with an inventory of more than 400 PS4 and PS5 games. You can download and play these any time you want. Though the library is continuously evolving, you don’t know which games will be replaced by new ones.
The catalog consists of some top-of-the-line exclusives such as Ghost of Tsushima Director’s Cut and Marvel’s Spider-Man. In addition to these, you’ll get many other third-party hits such as AC Origins and Far Cry games.
PS Plus Extra costs around $15/month or $100/year. At first glance, the cost does appear to be worth it. But when compared to the Game Pass, it must be considered that PS Plus Extra does not offer any day one exclusive PlayStation games.
Overall, PS Plus Extra has a lot of potential. If you’re a new player or a veteran who would like to revisit some of the classics, the extra tier will serve you well.
PlayStation Plus Premium
Known in some countries as PS Plus Deluxe, this $18/month or $120/year subscription offers the most content for PlayStation users. With a separate retro catalog consisting of hundreds of PS3, PS2, and PSP games, it definitely stands out. It allows for game streaming on PC and console.
You must stream the majority of the PS3 games present and for that, you’ll need a strong internet connection as well. The games are undoubtedly quite impressive with titles like Resident Evil, Ratchet and Clank, Sly Cooper, and the God of War series being highlights.
Considering the fact that Premium is only slightly more expensive than Extra, you’re better off trying out the best tier instead of the second best.
1). Xbox Game Pass
The one service to rule them all, as of today, the Xbox Game Pass is by far the best gaming subscription service money can buy. Everything from its value for money, to its breadth of games, is incredible. Game Pass is basically divided into four tiers. One for PC and three for Xbox, let us explain them in detail:
Xbox Live Gold
The most basic Xbox subscription available today has become somewhat obsolete with the introduction of Xbox Game Pass Ultimate. The only perks you get for $10/month or $60/year are some free monthly games and access to online multiplayer.
What’s concerning is that the freebies have been constantly disappointing and obscure. The Gold membership will work out for you if you play a lot of multiplayer games like Call of Duty and Grand Theft Auto Online with friends.
Many of the top-tier multiplayer games like Apex and Warzone do not require a Gold membership.
PC Game Pass
The best PC game subscription by far, PC Game Pass offers a library filled with hundreds of games for a measly $10/month. This includes all the first-party Microsoft game releases for PC as well as games featured in the Xbox Game Pass.
The only downside is that you don’t get access to cloud computing on this Game Pass. But all in all, this service provides better value for money than any other PC subscription.
Xbox Game Pass
The standard Xbox game pass costs $10 a month and gives you access to a huge library of games. The only downside being that it doesn’t come with an Xbox Gold membership, so you won’t be able to play multiplayer.
If you’re the kind of gamer who enjoys playing solo games and wants diversity in their gaming setup, then this Game Pass is for you. However, for only $5 more per month, you can get access to the Ultimate Game Pass, which surpasses every other subscription by a wide margin.
Xbox Game Pass Ultimate
Xbox Game Pass Ultimate is our pick for the best overall gaming subscription service in this generation. You can get started for just $1 on a 30-day trial, after which you’ll be charged $15/month. In return, you’ll get access to a diverse catalog of more than 400 games via the Ultimate Pass Library.
The best part about the Ultimate pass is its focus on first-day releases. All of the upcoming Microsoft games will become available day-one on the Ultimate Pass. This is especially significant, considering some of the most highly anticipated first-party titles are set to release next year on Xbox. Titles such as Starfield, Redfall, Stalker 2, and Forza will be available to play on day one for Xbox Ultimate Game Pass members.
A strong roster of popular titles has already launched on the Ultimate Pass. These games include the likes of TMNT: Shredder’s Revenge and Tunic.
You also get access to Microsoft’s back catalog from the Xbox 360 onwards, which includes many of the classics we have loved and appreciated. Moreover, the Ultimate Pass also comes with a built-in EA play membership, which adds an additional hundred games to the library.
In case you’re wondering, yes, the Ultimate Pass does include Xbox Live Gold too. So, you won’t be encountering any multiplayer-related problems. All these perks make the Xbox Ultimate Game Pass shine out as the best game subscription available today. We recommend it to every Xbox user out there.