Do you think video game subscription services are worthwhile?

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A console generation or two ago, gaming subscription services might have been met with complete ire and disdain, perhaps indifference, at best. PlayStation Plus, in the time of the PlayStation 3, wasn’t even required in order to play games online. And yet, nowadays, there are so many subscriptions and monthly payments that you could easily spend more than the cost of a AAA game a month just to have access to all of them. Whether it’s the randomized collection of games you keep forever in each month of Humble Choice, subscriptions to access certain studio’s libraries on a month-by-month basis like Ubisoft Plus or EA Play, or rotating troves of games through Xbox Game Pass and PlayStation Now, there’s an almost endless amount of choice when it comes to monthly services for video games.

Some of them, such as Google Stadia or GeForce Now let you stream games, rather than play them on your own hardware. It lets gamers with lower-end hardware have the ability to still play major releases without feeling left out. For some, it’s a fantastic way to open the door to more casual gamers, but others see it as more tenuous; input lag can affect your perception of the game, and some countries still lack the internet infrastructure to handle, let alone the service itself entirely.

PlayStation Now initially operated on the same streaming-only basis, but quickly pivoted to also allow local downloads. The option of choice is always a good one to have, and perhaps best of all, you don’t even need a PlayStation system to stream them. Just having a PC and DualShock 4 is enough to access a library full of “PS4 exclusive” titles. On the other hand, having it separate from PlayStation Plus means those subscribed to both services at once, especially if they’re paying on a month-to-month basis, can see things get expensive very quickly.

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You’ve also got Nintendo Switch Online, which even compared to lesser-discussed services like EA Play, gives you perhaps the least overall features--just selective cloud saving, online access, and a handful of retro titles. Fortunately, it’s the least expensive option, but even still, it leaves many wanting more from Nintendo, especially with their history and backlog of amazing retro titles going to relative waste on the Switch.

And of course, there’s Xbox Game Pass, the most heavy-hitting subscription of them all. Bundling not only every Xbox first party game, but every first party game on launch, as well as random other games, Game Pass offers an incredible value. Plus, you can upgrade to Game Pass Ultimate for a little bit more, and have access to Xbox Live Gold. Given just how many free trials or $1/month promotions Microsoft has offered, plenty of gamers are locked into years of the service, especially after they were allowed to convert leftover Xbox Gold into Game Pass Ultimate for next to nothing.

Given all those options, which one is your favorite? And if it’s not Xbox Game Pass, why is that? Or are you the kind of person who prefers their games physically, opting for subscription services only because you need them to play online, if at all?
 

sonicrings

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I think they're a complete waste of money. Especially Nintendo's. I don't care if it costs less than their competitors. They literally offer NOTHING in terms of infrastructure. It's still P2P. You know why their online play was free for an entire decade up until the Switch? Because P2P negates the need for any servers. So why should we pay now? it's the same as before!

They use the BS excuse that you get those shitty Nintendo Switch Online emulator games, but they don't even offer a good selection. Like, it's literally free for them to just give us good games to play. Instead, we get random crap like NES Soccer and Ice Hockey or whatever, with a FEW gems. All for $25 a year.

And to top it off, they don't let you use cloud saves unless you have a subscription, at which point some games still won't support it for no good reason. I wouldn't be surprised if the friend list is completely locked out without a subscription as well.

There's just no defending NSO's value. That is, of course, unless you factor in how cheap it is to upgrade to a family plan. An extra $20 gets you 7 more slots for friends to either pay a few bucks for or just use for free. Now that's value! It's worth getting the family subscription if you only have 2 people who are going to use it. Doesn't change the fact that this stuff should be free to begin with though.
 

deisuke1234

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I think that the main issue with gamepass and psnow would be people have mentioned that either will get the kinda of same issue that the streaming services has. That would be certain plattform not having the game that you want and you might end up forced to buy many different services. I also think the 90$ is way to much and if those companies truly wanna stop piracy than they should reconsider the price tag.
 
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If I buy a game physically I usually play and complete it. My digital library (PSN, Stadia, Epic, Steam, Ubi etc.) contains thousands of games I never played and never intend to play.

I cancelled most of my subscriptions and went back to buy the games I wanna play - it‘s much better + digital cannot give you the feeling like when you unbox a limited esition of a game.
 

Shalashaska98

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From a marketing point of view, subscriptions are more profitable for companies. Yet one can reverse this by managing their subductions well: By pausing or cancelling the subscription when not used. Also if someone doesn't play much it's better to just buy games. I personally prevent to just buy games as subscriptions make me play even if I don't really want to, but I have to cause I paid for the subscription.
 

PiracyForTheMasses

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I think they're a complete waste of money. Especially Nintendo's. I don't care if it costs less than their competitors. They literally offer NOTHING in terms of infrastructure. It's still P2P. You know why their online play was free for an entire decade up until the Switch? Because P2P negates the need for any servers. So why should we pay now? it's the same as before!

They use the BS excuse that you get those shitty Nintendo Switch Online emulator games, but they don't even offer a good selection. Like, it's literally free for them to just give us good games to play. Instead, we get random crap like NES Soccer and Ice Hockey or whatever, with a FEW gems. All for $25 a year.

And to top it off, they don't let you use cloud saves unless you have a subscription, at which point some games still won't support it for no good reason. I wouldn't be surprised if the friend list is completely locked out without a subscription as well.

There's just no defending NSO's value. That is, of course, unless you factor in how cheap it is to upgrade to a family plan. An extra $20 gets you 7 more slots for friends to either pay a few bucks for or just use for free. Now that's value! It's worth getting the family subscription if you only have 2 people who are going to use it. Doesn't change the fact that this stuff should be free to begin with though.
Do you know why their online play was free for a decade? Obviously not. It obviously wasn't because games are peer to peer. Look at AAA games released on Xbox & Playstation, majority of them are peer to peer & yet you have to pay to play online.

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Meepers55

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For me, PS Now Japan is worth it just because they have Sonic 06 on it. I've heard other people use it to play old JRPGs as well, so that's also a plus. Then there's the plus of being able to play these games not only on PS4/PS5, but on PC as well. Sure, you need a decent internet connection to make use of this, but if you do have said connection you should be able to play with no noticeable hickups. Also, it only costs about $35 for a year of PS Now Japan on G2A, which is a lot better than $60 for PS Now US. I'd recommend it if you're looking to play older titles, specifically PS3 titles, on modern hardware.
 

btaggs

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Game pass ultimate is definitely worth it but I say this because I have basically stopped buying games all together and just wait for them to come to gamepass. The last game I bought was Star Wars Squadrons and about 2 months later it was free on gamepass. Pretty much said never again after that.
 

anhminh

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Nah, I don't think so.

They all aim to be the first video game Netflix but they fail to see that video game is different to television show. Average, a gamer spend more time on one game than most of television show and they hardly change game in between so having access to more than one game at time is unnecessary or even distracting. With the price of subscription you can own a game forever and don't have to waste it on game you don't play.
 

|<roni&g

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Just say NO (was meant to be the no smoking style O with cross through but emojis not work here)
WAIT and buy games used or pre owned or borrow from a friend.
Keep it as it should be, don't poke holes in your pocket.
Stoopid kids will want it though and parents will oblige and even the parents are probably stoopid gamers who buy clothes for their lame online character
 
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The Catboy

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The Nintendo app and their online doesn't feel like it has much value, it feels more like online abilities are being held ransom.
That’s literally what it is. Most of the subscription services tend to provide value that that is pretty hard to argue with. I use PS+, Nintendo Online, and Apple Arcade (through a family plan I am part of,) and the only one I think isn’t worth much is Nintendo Online. Nintendo Online isn’t much of an upgrade from their previously free online service because the online still sucks. There’s still lag, still stupid Nintendoism, and still other issues that the only reason to pay is the low as fuck price. The bonuses aren’t worth the value either. Having some free games is fine but the fact that they don’t regularly add to them sucks. If my online access wasn’t being held hostage by Nintendo, I wouldn’t pay for their online service.
 
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Tom Bombadildo

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Depends on how good the service is TBH, and how the future will look with these services.

Something like Game Pass on Xbox/PC I would say yes, because MS brings their first party games to the subscription launch day pretty much, and then includes a big ol' list of actually decent titles. Adding in the series they acquired with their Bethesda purchase and then their partnership with EA for EA Play, you're getting a big fat huge list of games for only $120 a year (or $180 for Ultimate). I do pay for PC Game pass, because there are tons of games on there that I'll eventually play and get to that totally justifies the $10 a month.

PS Now is also half-decent for the price you pay, $60 for a big list of PS2-PS4 games is nice, even if you can only download the PS4 games and have to stream the rest. But their list of games tends to be a lot more limited in that you'll only really get older titles and nothing current, so it's certainly one of those "depends on you" things than anything. I do wish Sony would've just included PS Now (or even like a small gimped version of PS Now) into PS+ so you don't have to pay for two subscriptions, but meh maybe that'll change in the future. I don't personally bother with this one, as at this point I already own all the PS4 games I want to play and can emulate the PS2/PS3 titles I'd want to play as well. So meh.


I don't really consider Nintendo's Switch online thing myself really, given how extremely low effort their offerings are. If I wanted to play old ass retro games, I'll just emulate them or play them on my own consoles kthx.



But the biggest issue with them to me is if they end up evolving the same way video subscriptions have, where every other big publisher decides they don't like their cut from MS or Sony or whatever and create their own that you'd have to subscribe to for their games. At that point, subscriptions = big no. I don't expect it'll go that way any time soon, but it's certainly a possibility I wouldn't want to see.
 
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Pipistrele

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In developing countries where gaming (particularly console gaming) is prohibitively expensive, they absolutely do. Just for context, certain non-sale games here in Russia can cost you up to 7000 rubles, which is 1/4 of an average worker's monthly paycheck - naturally, you can sacrifice a significant chunk of your income to play one or two games a month, but if want to enjoy good releases without driving yourself into poverty, then services like GamePass and PS+ are no-brainers.
 
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playstays_shun

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I am addicted to Splatoon 2 + MK8D among others so for NSO - yes

lots of great free games for some months (FF7 remake that I sold the disc for when the game was still hyped last year, because my backlog was too big, Control Ultimate Edition, the new Oddworld I haven't played yet, to name a few), and have to have online play for PS5 - so PSN 12 mo for ~$30 through cdkeys - yes.
 

Rith12

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For me, PS Now is absolutely worth it, especially if you get it during black friday. $30 subscription for almost 400 ps4 and ps4 games for a year? Can't really beat that. I just finished my 1-year sub for it and it was totally worth it.
 
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