Subscription models à la Netflix have now also found their way into the video game world. Xbox Game Pass, Origin Access or Uplay + make it possible. GIGA introduces the most popular services so that you don’t lose track of the ever increasing selection of gaming subscriptions. So you can see at a glance what they cost and what other advantages they bring.
Pay only once a month and then play as many games as you want? With various gaming subscriptions, this dream has long become a reality. With such game flat rates, you get access to a constantly growing library of video game hits and can then play them on your gaming PC or console. We introduce the most common services and help you find the best gaming subscription for your needs.
Gaming subscription services 2020: All providers at a glance
|Games available||Price (monthly)||platform||Subscribe to|
|Xbox Game Pass||200+||3.99 / 9.99 euros||PC, Xbox||At Amazon|
|Origin Access||130+||3.99 / 14.99 euros||PC||At Amazon|
|Uplay +||100+||14.99 euros||PC||In the Ubisoft Store|
|Humble choice||90+||4.49 / 13.99 / 17.99 euros||PC||In the Humble Store|
|Nintendo Switch Online||70+||3.99 euros||Nintendo Switch||At Amazon|
|Apple Arcade||100+||4.99 euros||Mac, iOS||In the app store|
|Google Play Pass||500+||4.99 euros||Android||On google play|
The Xbox Game Pass gives you unlimited access to over 200 games – you can either play it on your Xbox One or on your PC. For the PC subscription, only EUR 3.99 per month is currently due, which makes the service all the more attractive. On the console, it costs 9.99 euros a month.
Alternatively, you can also opt for the Game Pass in the Ultimate version. There you then pay € 12.99 for Game Pass and Xbox Live Gold in a bundle. From September 2020, the subscription will then be expanded to include the xCloud service for the same price, which allows you to stream more than 100 games to your console or smartphone. Due to this flexible price structure and the large selection of games, the Xbox Game Pass is also our price-performance winner.
- Combination can be combined with Xbox Live Gold
- Large selection of games
- For both PC and Xbox
- Member discounts
- So far only a few interesting exclusive titles
Not only hardware manufacturers like Sony or Microsoft, but also video game publishers have been offering their games for a long time with the typical Netflix subscription. EA is no exception and leaves it up to users whether they buy the games once or can play them in exchange for a small monthly fee. They offer two different models: Basic and Premier.
Origin Access Basic costs € 3.99 a month and gives you access to over 130 EA games. These include the latest offshoots from FIFA or Battlefield, but you can only play them in a 10-hour trial. This is where Premier comes in, because the subscription gives you unlimited access to all new releases. Therefore, the increased price of 14.99 euros per month is due here.
- Constantly growing collection of EA exclusive titles
- Early access to new games
- Member discounts
- High price for the Premier subscription
- New AAA releases are only permanently available in the more expensive subscription
Ubisoft takes a similar approach to EA with Uplay +. This subscription for 14.99 euros per month also gives you unlimited access to numerous Ubisoft treasures. This includes almost all offshoots from Assassin’s Creed or Far Cry. In total, the subscription includes over 100 titles, including the respective premium editions and the associated DLCs. In comparison to Origin Access, this may sound like very little at first, but as the saying goes: quality instead of quantity.
Unfortunately there is only this one version of the subscription and it would be advisable to find out in advance which games are actually included in Uplay +. Depending on what you are interested in, membership could be worthwhile, especially since you also get early access to new releases.
- Constantly growing number of Ubisoft exclusive titles
- Early access and beta programs for new games
- Subscription also includes premium editions of the games including DLCs
- Only relatively few games currently available
- High price
Humble Choice offers you the complete contrast program to the previous gaming subscriptions. The subscription is available in three different versions: Lite, Basic and Premium. For 4.49 euros per month you get access to the “Humble Trove“ – this is the name of the steadily growing library with currently over 90 indie games.
Humble Choice Basic and Premium cost a little more at 13.99 or 17.99 euros, but you can also choose from a rotating rotation of ten games each month and depending on the subscription keep three or even nine of them forever. As if that weren’t enough, with every Humble Choice subscription you support nonprofit organizations that also change monthly.
- Growing library of indie titles
- Supports charitable causes
- Depending on the subscription, additional games every month as a gift
- Member discounts
- Free games only included in the more expensive subscriptions
- AAA games are rather the exception here
Strictly speaking, Nintendo Switch Online is not a real gaming subscription. Most membership holders of this subscription probably use it primarily to gain access to certain online features in games. For example, to be able to play raids online with other players in Pokémon Sword & Shield. Your saves are also saved in the cloud.
Membership now also includes numerous retro classics from the NES and SNES console. At the beginning there were about 20 of them, but the offer is growing steadily and is becoming increasingly interesting for true retro fans.
- Cheap price
- Growing collection of retro games
- Additional functions such as online gaming and cloud storage
- Overall less functionality
Apple is taking a different approach with its subscription service launched in September 2019: Firstly, it is not a streaming service, because you can download all the games it contains and optionally even play offline. On the other hand, the games of the Apple Arcade are exclusive and not available in the App Store or on Android. There are no nerve factors like loot boxes, microtransactions or hidden costs. Apple currently offers a selection of over 100 games for 4.99 euros per month. The first trial month is free of charge and can be canceled up to one day before it expires.
The iPhone manufacturer focuses in the arcade on puzzle, skill, adventure and shallow RPG games from the indie sector. The child-friendly offer can also be shared using a family account. Nice that the titles run on all Apple devices with the latest operating systems (iOS 13, MacOS 10.15) – whether iPhone, iPad, Apple TV or Mac. However, older hardware is left out.
The main title of the Apple Arcade is the action adventure Oceanhorn 2, which reminds of Zelda playfully and visually. Also recommended: the comic RPG Yaga with Diablo mechanics, colorful chases in Agent intercept and absurd ball sport in What The Golf. Hopping passages are also waiting in Rayman Mini and Monomals as well as a criminal case in Tangle Tower. Many games are based on simple touch controls, some also work with a Bluetooth controller, Dualshock 4 or Xbox gamepad. Conclusion: You don’t go wrong with a trial month.
- Low price
- Large selection of new games of different genres
- Control possible via controller
- Apple exclusive and not compatible with Android or Windows devices
- Not compatible with older hardware (from iOS 13 and Mac OS 10.15)
The Google Play Pass takes a similar approach to Apple Arcade – here you get access to over 500 games and apps. The subscription is 4.99 euros per month and in return you can enjoy all applications without annoying advertising or in-app purchases. The key thing is that the subscription can be used by up to five family members at no additional charge. In addition, there is plenty of content that is specially tailored for children.
If you also opt for an annual subscription, you only pay a total of around 30 euros, which corresponds to a savings of 50 percent. The collection of available games is expanded every month. Nevertheless, there are already a number of highlights that are definitely worth a look: Stardew Valley, The Gardens Between or limbo. Likewise, many of the games can also be played with a gamepad such as the Xbox One controller.
- Can be used with up to 5 family members
- Plenty of content especially for children
- Huge selection of games and apps
- Control possible via controller
- Partly large quality differences in the games included
Whether a Game Pass à la Netflix or a cloud gaming service suits you better depends on the following factors:
- Your Hardware is getting on in years and a new purchase is too expensive for you? Here it might make sense to think about cloud gaming. Even more so if you have access to fast internet. The relatively low monthly cost appears more than attractive compared to the price of a new gaming PC or console.
- You have the hardware to do it all Top quality games to be able to enjoy, but you lack games? In this case, a pure cloud gaming service is probably worth less. Of course, this can and will change within a few years, but at the current time it would be more of a downgrade. Classic gaming has the advantage, among other things, that you can also play offline if necessary. So a game pass would be a better choice here.