Subscription Services in Gaming: Are they worth it?

With the increase in popularity for movie streaming services, the gaming industry was quick to follow with such subscription services. From giants in the industry like Sony and Microsoft, to cloud gaming services like GeForce Now, they are a regularity for gamers. However, are they worth your money, or should you avoid them?

Ever since the NES Family Computer and Sega Genesis in the 80s, subscription services were present in the gaming industry. Not many people remember (ourselves included) the appearance of the service of Dial-up Cartridges where people could pay to download games through television cables. Yes, you read that right, downloading games in the 80s. Yet, these services were not as popular, and they only got traction with the arrival of the last generation consoles. Ever since the launch of the PS4 and Xbox One, subscription services like PlayStation Plus and Xbox Live are the norm, where they allow you to play games online.

After those services, these companies started to test the water with services like cloud gaming such as PlayStation Now or straight-up offering games like EA Play. Yet none of them compare to the popularity and value of the two most liked subscription services: Xbox Game Pass and GeForce Now.

Xbox Game Pass

Xbox Game Pass has quickly rose to power with its incredible value for money and huge catalogue of games. With more than 300 games both on Xbox consoles and PC, it is hard not to see why it is so popular. However, what separates it from its competitors are the day one releases of the service. By just being a subscriber, you can play games such as Forza Horizon 5 or the upcoming Plague Tale: Requiem on their release date. While this strategy makes Xbox lose some money, it cannot be denied that it is the selling point of the service. As such, Xbox Game Pass offers a lot of value for what gamers pay, making it a worthy subscription service.

Credit: Microsoft

GeForce Now

Quite a different service than Game Pass, yet one that has gained a lot of popularity in recent times. And rightly so. GeForce Now from Nvidia is a cloud streaming service, where gamers can play games using only your internet, connecting to a gaming rig that does the job for you. Moreover, it is certainly the best cloud streaming service, demolishing its competition with its low latency and overall quality of streaming. Who doesn’t want to play Red Dead Redemption 2 on a GeForce RTX 3080 rig with details to max, from a mere ultrabook? Given the rise in popularity for cloud streaming ever since the start of the chip shortage in 2020, Nvidia knew how to capitalize on the opportunity and created a great streaming service that, for the moment, has no real competitor.

Credit: Nvidia

Are these services, on the other hand, worth it?

While we consider Xbox Game Pass and GeForce Now to be the best subscription services in gaming, we must consider why we need these services at all. Undeniably, we are going towards a digital domination of games availability, with physical releases losing more popularity each year. After all, who doesn’t want to just pay for a game and have it in that instant. That’s where these subscription services want to enforce themselves: the convenience of using them.

Do you want to have a huge library of games without paying individually for each one? Buy Xbox Game Pass. Do you have an old PC but want to run the latest games? Buy GeForce Now. Do you want to play classic games from the PS1, PS2, and PSP eras without having the consoles? Buy a PlayStation Plus. It is a simple as that.

All in all, these services are a thing of taste, as they distinguish themselves quite visibly. Each service offers something different, and obviously you would want to buy one for your console of choice, or for your reliable PC. The question of whether they are worthy depends on your needs and the value you want for your money. However, the two services that we mentioned in this discussion are certainly the ones that offer the most value for what you pay, and you should consider them in your next decisions.

What do you think? How many subscriptions are you paying for? Do you want to try something else or just quit them altogether? Let us know in the comments below!

For news, reviews, guides, and discussions of the latest games, stay tuned to Games Row and keep playing!

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