Subscription models à la Netflix have now also found their way into the video game world. Xbox Game Pass, EA Play or Uplay + make it possible. GIGA presents the most popular services so that you don't lose track of the growing selection of gaming subscriptions. So you can find out at a glance what they cost and what other advantages they bring with them.
Pay only once a month and then play as many games as you want? With various gaming subscriptions, this dream has long since become a reality. With such game flat rates, you get access to a steadily growing library of video game hits and can then play them on your gaming PC or console. We'll introduce the most popular services and help you find the best gaming subscription for your needs.
The best gaming subscriptions 2020: content
Gaming subscription services 2020: All GIGA recommendations at a glance
|Available games||Price (monthly)||platform||offer|
|Xbox Game Pass||200+||from 9.99 euros||PC, Xbox||At Amazon|
|EA Play||130+||from 3.99 euros||PC, Xbox, PS4||At Amazon|
|Uplay +||100+||14.99 euros||Pc||In the Ubisoft Store|
|Humble Choice||90+||from 4.49 euros||Pc||In the Humble Store|
|Nintendo Switch Online||70+||3.99 euros||Nintendo Switch||At Amazon|
|Prime Gaming||20+||7.99 euros||Pc||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|
|Amazon Kids +||1,000+||from 2.99 euros||Fire tablet, Kindle, Android||At Amazon|
Best value for money: Xbox Game Pass
- Large selection of games
- Available for PC, Xbox and combined
- Cloud gaming for Android
- Xbox Live Gold included
- In the future also EA Play and Bethesda Games
- PC versions only through Microsoft Store
With the Xbox Game Pass you get unrestricted access to over 200 games – you can play them for 9.99 euros per month either on your Xbox One or on your PC. Alternatively, you can also opt for the Game Pass in the Ultimate version. There you then pay 12.99 euros for Game Pass, Xbox Live Gold and the ability to stream over 100 different games on your smartphone or Xbox.
It gets even better: towards the end of 2020, EA Play will be part of the Xbox Game Pass and it will be completely free. If you have subscribed to the Game Pass for the PC or the Ultimate version, you will soon be able to play numerous EA titles such as Titanfall 2, Need for Speed Heat or FIFA 20 at no extra charge. As if that weren't enough, the portfolio of the publisher Bethesda, which was swallowed by Microsoft, will also be part of the Game Pass in the future: Doom, Fallout or Wolfenstein will then be on offer if the games are not already. Due to this constantly growing range, the Xbox Game Pass is also our current price-performance winner.
For AAA gamers: EA Play
- 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
Not only manufacturers of hardware such as Sony or Microsoft, but also video game publishers have long been offering their games with the typical Netflix subscription. EA is no exception and allows users to choose whether to buy the games once or play them in exchange for a low monthly fee on the PC, PS4 and Xbox. Electronic Arts offers two different models: EA Play and EA Play Pro.
EA Play costs 3.99 euros per month and gives you access to over 130 games from EA. Including the latest offshoots from FIFA or Battlefield, but you can only play them in a 10-hour trial.
This is where EA Play Pro comes in, because the subscription gives you unlimited access to all new releases. Therefore, the higher price of 14.99 euros per month is due here – but that's hardly a logical thing in our opinion. In the meantime, the service is even available directly in Steam and you may save yourself the installation of an additional launcher.
For mainstream gamers: Uplay +
- Steadily growing number of Ubisoft exclusives
- Early access and beta programs to new games
- Subscription also includes premium editions of the games including DLCs
- relatively few games
- high price
Ubisoft is pursuing a similar approach to EA Uplay +. This subscription for 14.99 euros a month also gives you unlimited access to numerous Ubisoft treasures. This includes almost all offshoots of Assassin's Creed or Far Cry. In total, the subscription includes over 100 titles including the respective premium editions and the associated DLCs. Compared to Origin Access, that 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. It is therefore advisable to find out in detail beforehand which games are actually included in Uplay +. Depending on what you are interested in, membership could be worthwhile, especially since you also get earlier access to new releases.
For indie lovers: Humble Choice
- Growing library of indie titles
- Supports charity
- Depending on the subscription, additional games as a monthly gift
- Member discounts
- Free games only included in the more expensive plans
- AAA games are the exception here
The complete contrast program to previous gaming subscriptions is offered by Humble Choice. 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" – that's 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 keep three or even nine of them forever, depending on your subscription. As if that weren't enough, with every Humble Choice subscription you support non-profit organizations that also change monthly.
For retro fans: Nintendo Switch Online
- cheap price
- growing collection of SNES and NES games
- Additional functions such as online gaming and cloud storage
- Overall low functionality
Strictly speaking, Nintendo Switch Online is not a real gaming subscription. Most use the subscription primarily to get access to certain online functions in games. For example, to be able to fight raids together with other players in Pokémon Sword & Shield online, visit friends on Animal Crossing Islands or play Mario Kart matches online. Your saved games are also saved in the cloud.
Membership now also includes numerous retro classics from the NES and SNES consoles. At the beginning there were around 20, but the range is growing steadily and is therefore becoming increasingly interesting for true retro fans.
More than just games: Prime Gaming
- New PC games regularly
- Games are yours forever
- Part of Amazon Prime
- few high profile games
Prime Gaming is not a game subscription in the traditional sense, but the service of the popular mail-order company has some features to offer.
Prime Gaming is also known as Twitch Prime Loot – Difference: There is a launcher here that works independently of the Twitch app. However, the functionality and offer are identical: every month there are new games for Amazon Prime members that can be "picked up" and installed on the Windows PC at any time, either via the Twitch Prime Loot page or the Amazon Games Launcher. Most of the titles are little known or newly released console classics (System Shock, almost every SNK fighting game) – with Gone Home, Pillars of Eternity, Jotun and Superhot there were at least a few better known and critically acclaimed titles.
In addition to the actual games, you receive numerous other bonuses, such as in-game currency and loot boxes for popular online games.
Ideal for on the go: Apple Arcade
- Low price
- Large selection of new games of different genres
- Control via controller possible
- a subscription for the whole family
- Apple exclusive, not compatible with Android or Windows
- Not compatible with older hardware (from iOS 13 and Mac OS 10.15)
Apple is taking a different approach with its subscription service launched in September 2019: On the one hand, Apple Arcade 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 such as loot boxes, microtransactions or hidden costs. For 4.99 euros a month, Apple currently offers a selection of over 100 games, some of which have been designed exclusively for the service by numerous high-class developers. A trial month is free and can be canceled up to one day before it expires.
In the arcade, the iPhone manufacturer focuses on puzzle, skill, adventure and shallow RPG games from the indie sector. The child-friendly offer can also be shared using a family account. It's nice that the titles run on all Apple devices with the latest operating systems (iOS 13, MacOS 10.15) – whether it's an iPhone, iPad, Apple TV or Mac. However, older hardware is left out.
The main title in Apple Arcade is the action adventure Oceanhorn 2that is playful and visually reminiscent of Zelda. Also recommended: the comic RPG Yaga with Diablo mechanics, motley chases in Agent Intercept and absurd ball sport in What The Golf. In addition, there are hopping passages 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 won't go wrong with a trial month.
For (Android) families: Google Play Pass
- Use with up to 5 family members possible
- Lots of content especially for children
- Huge selection of games and apps
- Control by controller possible
- Big differences in quality in the included games
- no exclusive titles
The approach is similar to that of Apple Arcade Google Play Pass – Here you get access to over 500 games and apps. The subscription costs 4.99 euros per month. In return, you can enjoy all applications without annoying advertising or in-app purchases. The main attraction, however, is that the subscription can be used with up to five family members at the same time at no extra charge. There is also a wide range of content specially tailored to children.
If you also opt for an annual subscription, you only pay around 30 euros in total, which corresponds to a saving of 50 percent. The collection of available games is expanded every month. Nevertheless, there are already a number of highlights that are worth a look: Stardew Valley, The Gardens Between or Limbo. Nevertheless, one has the impression that the Play Pass is more of a hectic counter-offer to Apple Arcade, whose titles are neither exclusive nor reliably high-quality. After all: Many of the games can also be played with a gamepad such as the Xbox One controller.
For the little ones: Amazon Kids +
- In addition to games, the subscription also includes learning apps, audio books and more
- Prime members receive a discounted subscription
- Kindle, Fire tablet, or Android device required
- Not compatible with Apple devices
In addition to Prime Gaming, the shipping giant offers Amazon Kids + (previously known as Amazon FreeTime and FreeTime Unlimited), a service specially tailored for children between the ages of 3 and 12. Part of the subscription for 2.99 euros per month includes child-friendly books and radio plays as well as educationally valuable learning apps, series and films – a complete package.
The highlight: Parents always stay in control, as the applications for the Fire tablet, Kindle or Android device have extensive protection mechanisms. For example, usage time can be limited or content can be filtered according to age. It should be noted at this point that the price of 2.99 euros only applies if you are already a Prime subscriber – without the service costs 4.99 euros. In addition, there is currently no corresponding application for iOS devices.
Cloud gaming vs. Game Passes: Which Works Best for Me?
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 acquisition is too expensive for you? Here it could make perfect sense to think about cloud gaming. Even more so if you have access to fast internet. The relatively low monthly costs seem more than attractive compared to the price of a new gaming PC or a new console.
- You have the necessary hardware to handle all Top quality games to be able to enjoy, but you lack games? In this case, a pure cloud gaming service is less worthwhile. That can and will probably change at some point, but at the moment it would be more of a downgrade. Classic gaming has the advantage that you can also play offline if necessary. A Game Pass would be a better choice here.