Times have changed, and the way we enjoy games have changed along with them. Long gone are the days where we would save up our money for one game that would last us months on end, our undivided attention set on perfecting it as much as possible before making the next purchase. Whereas we once would spend days on end researching, weighing our options, and ultimately choosing which game we’d like to commit to playing, we now have a multitude of games available to us at any given time. Akin to the advent of Netflix or Hulu, gaming subscription services have fundamentally changed the way we’re able to enjoy the games we play.
Now, the important decision becomes: which subscription services should I give my hard-earned cash on a monthly basis? Justin Williams Laser has broken down the pros and cons of some of the most popular services so you can make the best possible decision.
Xbox Game Pass
Justin Williams Laser tells us the Xbox Game Pass includes an impressive library consisting of hundreds of games from the Xbox One, Xbox 360, and even a few original Xbox games. All the games must be downloaded to your hard drive before you can begin playing, but thanks to the Xbox One’s “early start” feature, some games will allow you to begin playing while the rest of it continues to download.
The game selection is incredibly good, with some AAA titles such as Gear of War 5 being available on the service the same day it is released – something unprecedented until now. Out of all the streaming services, in Justin Williams Laser’s opinion, the Xbox Game Pass is a strong contender for best game selection.
Xbox Game Pass has one unique aspect compared to other streaming services: for an extra monthly fee, you can upgrade to Game Pass Ultimate, which grants you access to Game Pass on your PC. If you have a computer capable of playing most modern games, this is definitely worth it. Justin Williams Laser informs us that although there is a lot of overlap when it comes to games available, the PC Game Pass also includes many exclusive games, including some not found on Xbox in the first place.
At a glance, the PlayStation Now service is very similar to Xbox Game Pass. Justin Williams Laser explains, “The PlayStation Now platform is basically Sony’s answer to Microsoft’s Game Pass. It’s got some of the same games, plus a bunch of PlayStation exclusives. The main difference,” he continues, “is that PlayStation now offers players the ability to stream the games instead of having to download them.”
While this may seem like a huge step up, Justin Williams Laser warns: while video streaming seems to have hit its stride, streaming games is still pretty rough. Even with a fantastic internet connection, you’re going to be experiencing loss of visual fidelity and input lag.
EA Access (available on Xbox One and PlayStation 4), or Origin Access if you’re playing on a computer, may seem superfluous at first glance. But, according to Justin Williams Laser, it might be a great choice depending on what you’re looking for.
Unlike the other streaming services, which offer a wealth of games from varying publishers, EA’s service only offers games published by themselves. While this may seem like a step down from your other options, Justin Williams Laser tells us there’s no shortage of fantastic games on the service. However, users should be aware that the library is much smaller on PS4 than on Xbox—a result of Sony’s hesitance to cannibalize its own sales. The PC version, Origin Access, has by far the largest library, with an impressive 243 games to choose from.