Thursday, February 22, 2024

Too many game subscription services? Here is how to choose

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Console gaming is is starting to look more and more like Netflix: Instead of buying a disc at the store and placing it at home, subscription services from Sony and Microsoft let you access tons of games for a monthly price , or even stream them without the need for a long download. But between Xbox Live Gold, Game Pass, xCloud, PS Plus, and PS Now, it’s hard to know what does what and what is worth paying for. Let’s break it all down.

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PS Plus vs. PS Now

Let’s start with Sony, which has a slightly simpler range of offerings. If you have a PlayStation 4 or PlayStation 5, you can subscribe to two different services: PlayStation Plus and PlayStation Now.

Playstation plus is Sony’s online multiplayer service. For $ 9.99 / month (or $ 59.99 / year), you can play online with friends and rivals. (Without a subscription, you can only play single-player games offline.) PS Plus sweetens the deal by giving you a few free games each month, which you can keep as long as you’re subscribed – and if you have a PS5, new PS Plus collection adds 20 of the best PS4 games to catch up on. There are also exclusive PlayStation Store discounts, and best of all, you can often get PS Plus for a great deal. reputable sellers on eBay or buy codes from amazon, so it’s an easy purchase.

Playstation now is Sony’s game streaming service. For $ 9.99 / month (or $ 59.99 / year), you can stream hundreds of games right to your console or PC, without having to download and install them. You’ll need a stable internet connection for this to work, but it’s basically like Netflix for PlayStation games – and it’s also the only way to play PS3 and PS2 games on your modern console. Note that this is different from PS Remote Play, which allows you to stream games from one PS4 or PS5 in your home to another PS4 or PC – it’s free for everyone, as long as you own the console. and games. A PS Now subscription streams games from the Internet and includes access to hundreds of games as part of your membership.

Note that PS Plus and PS Now are separate subscriptions, so if you want online multiplayer and online game streaming, you’ll need to do both.

Xbox Live Gold for Game Pass for Game Pass Ultimate

The stability of Xbox services is much more confusing – there are three separate subscription services, some of which have separate tiers and include other bundled subscriptions. Here’s everything you can subscribe to from Microsoft.

Xbox Live Free (formerly known as Xbox Live Silver) is not actually a paid subscription, but for clarity I am including it here. The free version of Xbox Live is just Microsoft’s brand image for its online services. Xbox Live is where you create your online profile and friends list, send and receive messages, and more. However, you cannot play games online with friends unless you have a paid subscription to …

Xbox Live Gold is Microsoft’s online multiplayer service. For $ 9.99 / month (or $ 24.99 per quarter), the membership lets you play Xbox games online with friends. (A Gold membership is not required to play Microsoft PC games online, however.) You get two free games per month as part of your membership, plus discounts on other games from the Microsoft Store. Microsoft used to sell annual subscriptions to Gold but recently shut down, fueling rumors that the service may be phased out soon. If so, you will be able to convert your remaining Gold service to the new Game Pass service (see below).


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