So many game subscription services, so little time: how to choose

Since the first months of coronavirus pandemicUS Sale of video games have seen a huge surge as people try to stay home and socialize. As video games are likely to remain relevant to the masses in the coming months and years, more people might consider a game streaming service.

The best game streaming services offer options that can enhance your console experience, such as: Such as exclusive content, early access to upcoming game releases and creative indie titles. If you’re unsure about shelling out for one Xbox Series X or PlayStation 5 later this year and you’ll get tired of it Xbox One or PS4these services give you access to new and interesting games and features to keep you entertained.

Read on for information and advice on how to choose the best game streaming service for you, including those that have free trial offers. One note: the services included here allow you to download and play games locally, not in the cloud – so you won’t find them Google Stadia or Amazon’s newly announced cloud gaming service Luna on the list.

Continue reading: Apple Arcade vs Google Play Pass: Which $5 Game Streaming Service Wins?

EA/Screenshot by Shelby Brown/CNET

Gaming giant Electronic Arts offers two gaming services: EA Play (formerly EA Access) that works with Xbox One and PS4 consoles, or EA Play Pro (formerly Origin Access and Origin Access Premier) that works with PCs. EA Play costs $5 per month or $30 per year. EA Play Pro costs $15 per month or $100 per year. The new services are the same as before. According to EA’s website, it’s just a name change.

With an EA Play subscription, you get early access to new releases with 10 hours of gameplay, unlimited playlist access, and 10% off EA digital purchases. However, the subscription is only valid for one platform – Xbox One, PS4, Origin or Steam.

When you subscribe to EA Play Pro for PC, you get early access to new Deluxe version releases, unlimited access to the Pro Play List, Pro-level rewards and content, and a 10% discount on EA digital purchases.

Screenshot by Joseph Kaminski/CNET

A subscription to video game streaming platform PlayStation Now, Sony’s “Netflix for games”, gives you access to over 800 PS4, PS3 and PS2 games on PlayStation 4 and PC. You can either download games to your console or stream them. PS Now offers a seven-day free trial, and then three plans — $10 a month, $25 for three months, or $60 for a year.

PS Now includes both exclusive games and popular hits like Doom Eternal, Call of Duty: Warzone, The Last of Us, Just Cause 4 and Shadow of the Tomb Raider. There are also online multiplayer games, sports games, and family-friendly options. The game collections are updated monthly. So far, Iron Man VR and The Last of Us II have been postponed.

To get started, you’ll need a PS4 or PC, a PlayStation Network account, and a DualShock 3 or 4 controller. In addition to the PS Now subscription, PlayStation recommends an active broadband connection of at least 5 Mbps. If you’re using a PC, you’ll need to download the PS Now app.

Screenshot by David Carnoy/CNET

Microsoft’s Xbox Game Pass offers unlimited access to over 100 games on console, PC, or both. The subscription features popular games like Ori and the Will of the Wisps, Bleeding Edge, and NBA 2K20. The games are sorted into categories so you can easily find the right one for you, whether it’s family-friendly games, action games, or games that are about to be phased out of the platform. From there, just download the game to start playing.

Depending on your gaming needs, there are different plans such as: B. Xbox Game Pass Ultimate for $14.99 per month, which adds the perks of the social gaming network Xbox Live Gold and Xbox Game Pass (typically $9.99 per month each). This bundle gives you these benefits on console and PC. Xbox Game Pass Ultimate now also supports mobile and tablet gaming from the cloud, although it’s still in beta.

Xbox Game Pass for PC is available on Windows 10 after downloading the Xbox Beta app from the Microsoft Store. Right now, PC Game Pass has an introductory price of $1 for the first month, then $10 per month.

Additionally, EA Play will be available as part of Xbox Game Pass Ultimate on Xbox consoles — including the Xbox Series S and Series X. Starting in December, you can download games and play the EA Play library with an Ultimate or PC subscription Windows 10 PCs at no additional cost.

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Announced at E3 last June, Ubisoft Plus is Ubisoft’s PC gaming subscription service that includes a library of over 100 games for $15 a month. In addition to the games catalog, you get early access to beta programs, free weekends, trials, DLCs, expansions and updates, and a discount on purchased games.

Browse PC games like Ghost Recon: Breakpoint, Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey, and Far Cry: New Dawn. After finding a game you want to play, activate it and it will appear in your game library on Ubisoft PC.

The Ubisoft Play desktop app is not available for Mac.

Shelby Brown/CNET

Apple Arcade, Apple’s $4.99 per month or $50 per year mobile gaming subscription service, launched last year. You can now play 130+ games on iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, Mac and Apple TV devices. If you sign up, you can try out Apple Arcade with a one-month free trial.

Continue reading: Apple Arcade Review: Mobile Gaming Gets A Massive Upgrade For $5 A Month

The service offers exclusive single-player, multiplayer and AR games in different genres from developers such as Square Enix, Bandai Namco, Ubisoft, Capcom and Hipster Whale. Top titles include nostalgic favorites like Pac-Man Party Royale, Rayman Mini and Frogger in Toytown, but there are also new hits like Crossy Road Castle and Ultimate Rivals: The Rink.

Apple Arcade lives on the App Store and the games are downloaded to your device for you to play offline. You can play directly on any of your Apple devices, or use Microsoft Xbox One S and PlayStation DualShock 4 controllers for a more traditional console experience.

New games and game updates are released almost every week, so there’s always something new to try. Apple Arcade has no in-game ads or purchases, and a subscription works for up to six family members. One of the downsides is that some of the most anticipated titles – including Fantasian and The Pathless – have yet to be released.

GameClub/ Screenshot by Shelby Brown/ CNET

GameClub is a mobile game subscription service full of back catalog games that gives you access to 100+ titles, synopses, game history, tips and strategies. For $5 per month, you can play games with no ads or in-app purchases. No internet connection is required as the games are downloaded from the App Store and not streamed. In addition, game progress is saved locally on your device, you can share your subscription with family members and play on iOS and Android.

GameClub organizes content similar to Apple Arcade. You can sort different genres like RPG, Strategy, Adventure, Action, Tower Defense and Arcade. In addition to old favorites and insider tips, the app regularly adds more titles. Most recently, GameClub brought Big Journey, Barbarian and Monster Wars to the platform. Some games – like Mikey Shorts and Mage Gauntlet – are also compatible with PS4 DualShock and Xbox Wireless controllers via Bluetooth.

Ultimately, the choice between Apple Arcade, Google Play Pass, and GameClub comes down to what device you have and what games interest you the most.

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