Gaming is starting To see more like Netflix: Instead of buying a disc in stores and popping it up at home, subscription services from Sony, Microsoft, Nvidia and others allow you to access or even stream lots of games for a monthly price without the need for long downloads. But with Xbox Live Gold, Game Pass, xCloud, PS Plus, PS Now, Nintendo Switch Online, and everything else, it’s hard to know what works and what to pay for. And before we mention mobile gaming. Let’s break it all down.
Updated November 2021: We’ve expanded this guide to mention Nintendo Switch Online, Apple Arcade, Google Play Pass, Google Stadia, GeForce Now and Amazon Prime gaming subscriptions.
PS Plus vs PS Now
Let’s start with Sony, which has a slightly simpler range of offers. If you have a PlayStation 4 or PlayStation 5, you can subscribe to two different services: PlayStation Plus and PlayStation Now.
This is Sony’s online multiplayer service. At $ 10 per month (or বছরে 60 per year), you can play online with friends and rivals. (Excluding subscriptions, you can only play single-player games offline.) PS Plus sweetens the deal by offering you a few free games each month, which you can keep as long as you are a customer. If you have a PS5, the 20 best PS4 games will be added to the new PS Plus collection so you can watch. There are also exclusive discounts in the PlayStation Store — and most of all, you can often get PS Plus super cheap from reputable vendors on eBay or buy codes from Amazon, so this is an easy purchase.
PlayStation Now is Sony’s game subscription and streaming service At $ 10 per month (or $ 60 per year), you get access to hundreds of PS4, PS3, and PS2 games, 800 of which you can stream directly to your console or PC via the Internet, without having to download or install them. Or you can download and play over 400 PS4 games in more traditional, offline fashion. Streaming requires a stable Internet connection to work, but otherwise, it’s like Netflix for PlayStation games — and it’s the only way to play PS3 and PS2 games on your modern console. You do not need a special cow PCO.
Note: PS Plus and PS Now are separate subscriptions, so if you want online multiplayer and online game streaming, you need to pony up for both. PS Now streaming is also different from PS Remote Play, which lets you stream games from your home PS4 or PS5 to another PS4 or PC. Remote play is free for everyone as long as you own consoles and games
Xbox Live Gold vs. Game Pass vs. Game Pass Ultimate
The stability of Xbox’s services is much more confusing – there are three separate subscription services, each with a few separate layers and other bundled subscriptions. Here’s everything you can do to get a subscription from Microsoft.
Formerly known as Xbox Live, the Xbox Network is not actually a paid subscription, but for the sake of transparency, we include it here. This is where you create your online profile and friends list, send and receive messages, and more. Microsoft allows online multiplayer without paying for more than 50 free-to-play games. However, you cannot play premium games online with friends unless you have a paid subscription.
At $ 10 per month (or $ 25 quarterly), this subscription lets you play Xbox games online with friends. (You do not need a Gold subscription to play Microsoft’s PC games online.) You will receive two free games per month as part of your subscription, as well as discounts on other games in the Microsoft Store.
Subscribe to Game Pass on your Xbox and you will have access to hundreds of games to download and install. Standard games for the console cost 10 per month to pass and include “over 100” games, with some headlines occasionally circulating in Netflix-style. While Microsoft’s first-party Xbox Game Studio titles will appear on the service, others may take longer to appear.
It’s similar to the Xbox game pass for consoles, but as the name implies – it lets you download and play those games on your PC. It costs the same $ 10 per month but includes games from EA Play, which means it has a slightly larger library.
As the name implies, this subscription includes everything we’ve mentioned so far. It’s a combo service for 15 per month that lets you access entire game passes and EA Play libraries on your PC and Xbox, including online multiplayer and discounts (no separate Xbox Live Gold subscription required). This includes Microsoft’s new game streaming service, xCloud, which is in beta and streams games from the Internet to your Android phone. If you want everything Microsoft has to offer, you can get it in Game Pass Ultimate. This is one of the best gaming deals right now – although the moniker really depends on your habits. It works if you play a lot of different games – but it may not be so compelling if you tend to stick to a few titles for months at a time.
If you have Xbox Live Gold Credit, you can convert it to Game Pass Ultimate at the rate described on this page.