Over the past year we’ve seen game subscription services launch, grow, and evolve, and it’s time to check-in and find out which services offer the best bang for your buck. From Xbox Game Pass to the newly announced Amazon Luna and everything in between, we break down each of the biggest game subscriptions available today to help you decide which is best for you.
Note – all prices are in USD, and will vary from country to country.
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Xbox Game Pass (+Ultimate)
Platforms: Xbox One, Xbox Series S, Xbox Series X, PC, compatible Android devices
Price: Console Only $9.99/mo, PC Only $9.99/mo, Game Pass Ultimate (Xbox One, PC, mobile streaming + Xbox Live Gold) $14.99/mo.
Trial Period: Xbox Game Pass Ultimate $1 for first month
The king of game streaming continues to be Xbox with its Game Pass subscription service.
Even though Sony was first to the subscription party, Microsoft has just about perfected the formula. Xbox Game Pass allows you to play over 100 games as part of an ever-evolving catalog, including all of Microsoft’s first-party titles on the day they launch such as Halo Infinite, Gears Tactics, and more.
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With the recent acquisition of Bethesda, Microsoft is adding a back catalog of games to its service starting with DOOM Eternal. To make this even sweeter, all future Bethesda games will be included in Game Pass the day they launch including The Elder Scrolls 6 and Starfield, not to mention any future Fallout, Wolfenstein, and DOOM games.
If that wasn’t enough to entice you, Microsoft also announced a partnership with EA to bring EA Play to Game Pass this November at no additional cost. This will add another roughly 60 games to Game Pass including Titanfall 2, the Mass Effect series, Battlefield V, FIFA 20, Need For Speed Heat, and more.
Xbox also recently added mobile streaming to Game Pass Ultimate for those with a compatible Android device. Game progress is synced to your Xbox Live account allowing you to pick up where you left off between console and mobile.
If you don’t have an Xbox, Microsoft also offers Xbox Game Pass for PC as a standalone service. For $9.99 per month you’ll have access to a library of over 100 games, often including games rotated in and out each month.
There’s also a number of limited-time perks and challenges included with Game Pass that you can take advantage of including 3 months of Postmates Unlimited, 3 months of Discord Nitro, free in-game loot, and more.
Platforms: PS4 & PC
Price: $59.99/12 mo., $24.99/3 mo., $9.99/mo.
Trial Period: 7-days free
Sony’s PlayStation Now service has been around the longest, beginning back in 2014. The service was originally available for PS4, PS3, PS Vita, PS TV, and select Sony Bravia TVs, but support has since ended on older platforms.
Currently, you can stream PS4, PS3, and PS2 games to your PS4 or PC. Additionally, Sony added the ability to download PS4 and PS2 games for offline play, however, this feature is only available on PS4. PlayStation Now still boasts the largest catalog of all the major streaming players at over 800 games for $9.99 per month. If you’re interested in checking out PlayStation Now, Sony offers a 7-day free trial that you can take advantage of.
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The best value is subscribing for the entire year, which only costs $59.99 – or the price of one full-priced game. The only downside to the service is that many of Sony’s biggest releases of this generation are suspiciously absent – including Horizon: Zero Dawn and Spider-Man, just to name a couple. There are some heavy hitters here, though, including God of War, The Last of Us, Bloodborne, and the original Uncharted trilogy of games on PS3.
Wondering what you should play? Check out our index that lets you sort the entire PS Now catalog by review score, release date, and more.
Google Stadia Pro
Platforms: Stadia-compatible devices,TV via Chromecast Ultra, laptops/desktops via Chrome browser
Trial Period: 1 month free with purchase of Stadia Premiere Edition ($99)
Google Stadia Pro is the premium tier of Google Stadia that includes a catalog of games updated on a monthly basis that includes Destiny 2: The Collection, HITMAN: The Complete First Season, and more. Additionally, you can stream games in 4K HDR with 5.1 surround sound on compatible devices (and with a minimum download speed of 35Mbps). Stadia Pro also offers discounts on games not included in the rotating catalog.
While Google also offers a free tier for Stadia, there are no games included in the service by default. Games will need to be purchased individually and will stream at a maximum of 1080p with stereo surround sound.
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For those looking to jump in and check out Stadia Pro, Google offers the Stadia Premiere Edition for $99 that includes the Stadia controller and a Chromecast Ultra for hooking up to your TV. While you can technically use any controller with Stadia, the Stadia Controller offers the best experience including seamless switching across screens, Google Assistant integration, and an easy capture button.
In our updated review we said Google Stadia’s “catalog is still troublingly empty and a handful of its most exciting features haven’t been mentioned for months.” With the addition of a free tier for Stadia, there’s little incentive to subscribe to Stadia Pro in its current state, save for a handful of old games available as part of the service.
Platforms: PC, Mac, Fire TV devices, iOS/iPad OS (via web browser), Android (coming soon)
Price: $5.99/mo. (introductory price)
Trial Period: Nothing announced, early access registration is open
Amazon has officially entered the game streaming market with Amazon Luna, its take on cloud-based games. Initially, it looks very similar to Google Stadia Pro, featuring a growing library of games that can be accessed across your many screens. But, what makes Amazon Luna unique are the various “game channels” you can subscribe to.
Amazon’s own channel, Luna+, will launch with games such as Control, Resident Evil 7, A Plague Tale: Innocence, and Yooka-Laylee and The Impossible Lair for the introductory price of $5.99 per month during its initial early access period. At launch, games will stream at 1080p/60fps, although Amazon has stated that 4K is “coming soon” and recommends a minimum internet speed of 35Mbps for the best experience. With Luna+, you’ll be able to stream to two devices simultaneously.
The Ubisoft channel will also be coming to Amazon Luna which will offer the latest games from Ubisoft’s catalog when they become available, including ultimate editions for specific titles. Pricing has not been announced, but games will be playable at 1080/60 with 4K being added later, as well. This is “the first of multiple Luna game channels in development, where customers can play games from their favorite publishers and genres,” Amazon has stated.
Twitch integration will be at the core of Amazon Luna, allowing you to watch streamers play games and jump right into playing the game yourself immediately, if available on Luna.
Amazon’s Luna Controller will also be available for $49.99 and feature Alexa integration as well as seamless device switching across platforms since it is connected to the cloud, and not directly to the device itself. You can also connect a mouse and keyboard or 3rd party game controllers to play with Luna, as well.
While there is no release date yet, you can sign up to be one of the first to try Amazon Luna once it launches. Also, check out everything we learned about Amazon Luna so far.
Platforms: iOS, iPadOS, macOS, tvOS
Price: $4.99/month, $49.99/year
Trial Period: 1-month free
A subscription to Apple Arcade gives you access to over 100 premium games, all built exclusively for the service. One of its standout features is that all games included in Apple Arcade are ad-free and none of them feature any in-app purchases or microtransactions. Furthermore, all games can be downloaded to your device and played offline, which is great for people who utilize public transportation and can’t always be connected to the internet. A single subscription of Apple Arcade covers up to six family members for one single price.
Over the past year Apple Arcade has added a number of exciting indie games including Grindstone, What The Golf?, Sayonara Wild Hearts, The Last Campfire, and many, many more. The majority of games can be played with a DualShock 4, Xbox One, or MFi controller paired via Bluetooth making this a great way to check out new games on the cheap.
Your progress is synced across iCloud, allowing you to put the game down on your iPhone or iPad and pick it up on your Mac or Apple TV. And, with the latest software updates for all of Apple’s platforms, you can even pair your PlayStation 4 or Xbox One controller. New games will be added to the catalog each month.
Curious how the service stacks up? Check out our hands-on impressions of Apple Arcade.
EA Play (Formerly EA Access and Origin Access) / EA Play Pro (Formerly Origin Access Premier)
Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, PC (via Steam or Origin)
Price: $4.99/mo or $29.99/yr (EA Play), $14.99/mo or $99.99/yr (EA Play Pro)
Trial Period: None
EA recently rebranded its streaming service to EA Play across consoles and PC in an effort to unify the two services, however, all the same benefits remain. With EA Play you’ll have access to The Play List—a library of EA titles across its most popular franchises including Mass Effect, Madden, FIFA, Battlefield, and more. Additionally, you’ll be able to play up to 10 hours of new release titles when they launch. If you want to purchase games or digital content not included in the service, you’ll save 10% on your purchase, as well.
EA Play Pro is exclusive to Origin, EA’s PC game launcher, and offers the same benefits as EA Play plus more. You’ll have access to The Pro Play List which offers the entire EA Play catalog plus unlimited access to new release titles such as Madden NFL 21, FIFA 21, and Star Wars Squadrons when they release. Some titles even include early access up to 10 days before launch. EA Play Pro also includes upgraded versions of certain titles that give players season pass content and additional in-game goodies.
Both EA Play and EA Play Pro also offer exclusive in-game loot to subscribers including Madden Ultimate Team packs each month, FIFA Ultimate Team rewards and XP boosts, in-game cosmetic items, and more.
If you’re an Xbox Game Pass subscriber, Microsoft announced that EA Play will be added to Game Pass by the end of 2020 at no additional cost.
Platforms: PC only, coming to Google Stadia in 2020
Trial Period: None
Ubisoft announced UPlay+ during E3 2019, a subscription-based service that gives players access to over 100 Ubisoft titles which include many popular franchises such as Assassin’s Creed, Watch Dogs, Tom Clancy games, and more. Similar to Xbox Game Pass and EA Play Pro, you’ll have access to the latest Ubisoft titles the day they launch.
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Currently, the service is only available on PC but Ubisoft has confirmed that UPlay+ will be available on Google Stadia sometime in 2020. The current catalog includes recent titles like Tom Clancy’s The Division II, Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, and more, and will feature upcoming games such as Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, Watch Dogs Legion, Far Cry 6, and Immortals Fenyx Rising.
With UPlay+ you’ll also have access to premium editions of certain games, which includes all expansions, DLC, and add-on content at no additional cost. Games that offer beta periods or early access trials are included in the subscription, as well, allowing you to play some games early. Currently, UPlay+ is available for $14.99 per month, with no annual plan, meaning the service will cost you $179.88 a year, or roughly the cost of three full-priced games. If you’re a fan of Ubisoft’s catalog, and plan on buying its upcoming titles, then UPlay+ is a great offer – if not for the premium edition of the games alone.
So, assuming you wanted to have it all, what would it cost you? If you are looking at subscribing on a month-to-month basis to all services, it will run you $75.93 each month. This includes access to Xbox Game Pass Ultimate, PlayStation Now, Google Stadia Pro, Amazon Luna, Apple Arcade, EA Play Pro, and UPlay+. If you are looking for the best price, you’ll need to spend $209.97 up-front, then $45.96 a month for the additional services, which effectively works out to $63.46 per month – roughly the price of one full-priced release. If you were to subscribe to every service, you’d have a catalog totalling over 1,500 games. If we assume the average cost of these games to be $30, that’s roughly $45,000 in value! With an average game length of about 20 hours, that means it would take you roughly 30,000 hours to play through everything – that’s almost 3 ½ years! And you thought your current backlog was daunting.
Which of these services do you currently subscribe to? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.