Whether you’re looking to play the best games on PC, console, or mobile, there is a gaming subscription out there designed to fit your needs.
Signing up for these services saves you money while granting access to hundreds of premium, high-quality titles.
In this list, we’ll be recommending the best gaming subscription services to check out in 2021, along with the price, platforms supported, and target audience for each.
Now let’s take a look at the best video game subscriptions for PC, console, and mobile.
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Xbox Game Pass
Price: $9.99 to $14.99 per month
Platforms: Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, PC
Best for: Xbox users and PC gamers
If you’re looking to get the most bang for your buck, Xbox Game Pass is a fantastic service that offers 100+ high-quality games for both Xbox and PC users. The selection varies depending on your platform of choice, and every game is downloaded and played locally through your console or PC.
Something to keep in mind about the XGP library is that many of the titles offered are major triple-A releases, including first-party Xbox games. This makes Microsoft’s service a lot more enticing than other services, which tend to focus on older titles and smaller indie games.
Moreover, Microsoft continues to improve the service by adding new features, such as streaming integration via Project xCloud, its upcoming cloud-gaming service. Soon, Game Pass subscribers will be able to access games on smartphones, tablets, and web-browser enabled devices.
Initially, the price for Game Pass on PC was half that of Xbox One users since the service was still in beta. However, each tier now costs $9.99 individually, or $14.99 when combined through Xbox Game Pass Ultimate, which also includes Xbox Live Gold. New subscribers can sign up for an introductory price of just $1.
Price: $9.99 per month
Platforms: PS4, PS5, PC
Best for: PlayStation users who want to play classic PS2/PS3 titles
Although Microsoft may play second fiddle to Sony in the console department, the roles are actually reversed when it comes to gaming subscriptions, with many considering PlayStation Now to be the inferior service.
This is mainly due to the fact that a majority of PS Now titles are older games from previous generations. With that said, there are a decent amount of more recent games, many of which are also available on the PC version of PS Now. In terms of volume, it boasts a staggering 800+ game library spread across the PS2, PS3, PS4 (and soon PS5) eras.
Originally, users were limited to streaming games but Sony has since provided the option to download and play games locally. PlayStation Now starts at $10 a month but you can save some money by signing up for three months for $25 or get a full year for $60. New subscribers can try PS Now for free for seven days.
Price: $4.99 to $14.99 per month
Platforms: PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, PC
Best for: Sports game enthusiasts and Star Wars fans
Formerly known as EA Access on consoles and Origin Access on PC, EA Play lets you play over 90 games for no additional cost. While most of the titles offered are older sports games, you can also find newer entries from notable franchises like Star Wars, Mass Effect, Dragon Age, Need for Speed, Battlefield, Plants vs. Zombies, and more.
This makes it an ideal pick for anyone who’s missed out on any of the above series or wants to revisit these titles for less than their combined retail cost. The starting price for EA Play is $5 a month but you can get six months for free by signing up for the full year for just $30.
There’s also a ‘Pro’ tier for PC that costs $15 a month or $100 for a whole year and includes some extra perks. EA Play Pro members are given a 10% discount in EA’s digital store (previously called Origin), early access to certain games (up to 5-days before they launch), and can access a rotating selection of first and third-party games via The Vault.
Nintendo Switch Online
Price: $3.99 per month
Platform: Nintendo Switch
Best for: Die-hard Nintendo fans
Nintendo has always had a very different approach to making video games and rolling out new services than Sony and Microsoft. In fact, up until the Switch, features like online multiplayer were provided at no additional charge, whereas the other two charge a premium.
The main reason to sign up for Nintendo Switch Online is to access online multiplayer and cloud-saves. However, there’s a lot more to explore if you consider yourself a lifelong Nintendo fan or simply admire retro games.
That’s because Switch Online includes a growing library of both NES and SNES titles along with exclusives like Tetris 99 and Super Mario Bros. 35. These titles have been updated to support save states, alternative display options such as 4:3, Pixel Perfect, and CRT filters, and local/online multiplayer.
Even though its offerings pale in comparison to Xbox Game Pass and PS Now, Nintendo has made the wise decision to scale Switch Online’s monthly fee accordingly. Users can pay $4 a month, $8 every three months, or a flat $20 for the full year. There’s also a family plan that lets up to eight users use Switch Online for just $35 a year.
Price: $14.99 per month
Best for: PC gamers who primarily play Ubisoft titles
If you’re a fan of Ubisoft series like Assassin’s Creed, Far Cry, Watch Dogs, or any of the Tom Clancy games, then you might want to consider signing up for Uplay Plus. It features a library comprised of roughly 100 Ubisoft games from throughout the company’s history.
The only downside is it’s currently only supported on PC. That being said, if you’re already spending a lot of money on Ubisoft games and DLC each year, why not save yourself a couple bucks and gain access to an extensive catalog of shooters, open-world games, and more.
Games are readily available at launch along with any premium DLC, add-ons, or season pass content. Uplay Plus costs about $15 a month, which is a bit pricier than the competition, considering you’re limited to games from a single publisher.
Price: $4.99 to $19.99 per month
Best for: PC gamers who want to fully own games while supporting causes
Humble Choice (formerly Humble Monthly) is a unique take on a gaming subscription service in that users technically own most of the games they install. It’s a strictly PC gaming service and requires you to use Steam to facilitate downloads.
It’s definitely worth it if you’re the type of person who plays lots of different games, and even more so if you love supporting good causes since 5% of your subscription goes to a preselected charity each month. With that said, we recommend checking out previous months’ offerings to see the caliber of games typically included.
Humble choice starts for as low as $5 a month for the ‘Lite’ tier, which gives users access to the Humble Trove of about 100 games. The ‘Basic’ $15/month tier includes Humble Trove in addition to a 10% storewide discount and three handpicked games you get to keep from a pool of 10-15 titles each month. The ‘Premium’ $20/month tier ups the ante to 9 games every month and a 20% discount.
Apple Arcade is an excellent subscription for anyone in the Apple ecosystem who wants to play the best video games mobile has to offer. It features a wide selection of over 100 titles from well-known publishers. The best part is there are no pesky ads or in-app purchases repeatedly shoved in your face.
The service covers an assortment of genres ranging from puzzle games to full-on RPGs, many of which are exclusive to Apple Arcade. The downside to using it is the relatively low frequency of new games added compared to Xbox, PlayStation, and even Nintendo.
While the launch lineup was quite impressive, Apple appears to have fallen off their game as of late. It’s not that big of a deal-breaker considering how cheap the service is, specifically $5 a month (or $50 a year), which includes a one-month free trial.
For the same price as Apple Arcade, android users can sign up for Google Play Pass and explore a much larger library of 350+ mobile games and apps. There are no ads or in-app purchases to worry about, and Play Pass is supported by most Android-based devices.
While the Google Play Pass library may be more varied than Apple’s and even includes a few timed-exclusives, it merely lacks the same amount of polished, high-quality games. Still, you should have no problem finding a game you enjoy and may benefit from having access to other premium apps.
Price: $12.99 per month
Best for: Gamers who use Twitch or already subscribe to Amazon Prime
If you’re an Amazon Prime member, then there’s a good chance you’re missing out on a ton of complimentary features ranging from free movies to free music and even free video games via Prime Gaming (formerly Twitch Gaming).
Initially, the service only covered free in-game items and cool perks for Twitch users. However, it’s since expanded to include a curated selection of up to 12 free games that get rotated out each month. Once games are redeemed, they’re yours to keep.
Additionally, users receive one Twitch Prime credit per month, allowing you to sub to your favorite Twitch streamer for free. You can also receive Twitch-exclusive goodies and free in-game items. Amazon Prime costs $13 per month or $120 for a full year.
Price: $0 to $9.99 per month
Platforms: PC, Mac, Android, Nvidia Shield TV
Best for: Gamers with fast and reliable internet connections
GeForce Now is a game-streaming service that offers an alternative way to play games on low spec PCs, Macs, Android devices, and Nvidia Shield TVs. It requires a substantial amount of internet bandwidth and speed, meaning the results you receive will depend on your connection quality.
In contrast to similar services like Google Stadia, GeForce Now doesn’t have a library of games to browse through but instead features an assortment of free-to-play titles like Destiny 2 and Fortnite. So unless you plan on bringing your own digital games, it might not be worth it for you.
However, the reason we recommend it over Stadia or even Shadow is its low-cost barrier to entry. The ‘Founders’ tier of GeForce Now will run you $10 a month and includes a 90-day free trial. Founders have priority access to Nvidia’s servers and can stream games with RTX ray-tracing for up to six hours at a time. If you can forgo the ray-tracing, Nvidia also offers a ‘Free’ tier limited to one-hour sessions.
Which Gaming Subscription Service Is Best?
While it would be easy for us to simply pick our favorite service and be done, it’s important to remember that each one is tailored for different types of gamers. Sure, there’s a bit of overlap between Xbox Game Pass and PS Now or Apple Arcade and Google Play Pass, but they all have their quirks at the end of the day.
If you do most of your gaming on a mobile device, your choice will likely come down to whether you’re an Apple or Android user. The same can be said of Xbox and PlayStation, although we’ll admit Game Pass definitely takes the edge in that matchup.
Lastly, are you obsessed with a specific publisher like Ubisoft or constantly nostalgic for retro games made by Nintendo? Or, are you more concerned with using your love of video games to inspire change and help improve the lives of others?
In that case, Humble Choice may be the right service for you. Most of these services offer free-trials and promotional deals, so you can always try multiple ones and see what works.