Each television network creates its own streaming application and each major game publisher wishes to obtain its own subscription. EA, Microsoft and Ubisoft have already launched their subscriptions – but is it worth it?
PC gaming: an embarrassment of wealth
There are several subscription services for PC games. Some offer buffets at will, while others are streaming services for which you do not even need a gaming PC.
The idea of a subscription to a game library is not particularly new. The EA for PC service has been running since 2016 and the Xbox Game Pass for the console has been deployed in 2017. Nevertheless, Microsoft and Ubisoft have put up until 2019 to catch up with EA's advance on PC. Other game makers with launchers, such as Activision Blizzard and Epic Games, have not yet followed suit.
How do they work?
The basic idea is to download an application hosting the service on your Windows desktop. Most of these applications include a game launcher, a game store, ads, and social features, such as chat. Once the application is downloaded and connected to your account, you can download games from the service. It's similar to Steam or Epic Games Store, except you do not pay for individual titles.
Below you will find all the options available from the three main gaming subscription services:
EA Origin Access Basic: The oldest of the services we are looking at was launched in 2016 and has become a multi-level service. The first level is Origin Access Basic for $ 5 per month, or you can pay $ 30 for one year. Basic gives you access to what EA calls "The Vault": a multitude of PC games including (to date) more than 200 titles, such as Battlefield V, Battlefield I, Star Wars Battlefront II and Madden 19. Origin members get 10% off their purchases at the Origin Shop.
EA Origin Access Premier: At $ 15 a month or $ 100 a year, this level adds only 10 extra games to this writing. However, you also get early access to the full version of upcoming games. Basic, for comparison, has a 10-hour time limit for early-access titles. If the new EA games are important to you, then Premium is the best buy. It also does not require you to pay for a game like Anthem, which seemed interesting and exciting at launch, then problems.
Xbox Game Pass for PC: While Xbox users were happily using Game Pass for two years, Microsoft finally remembered the PC player in June 2019, when the service was launched. At $ 10 a month, it gives access to more than 100 games. Microsoft promises to include all of its proprietary titles with Game Pass, as with the console version. Like the EA service, it offers a full load of older games, as well as new titles, such as Metro Exodus and the upcoming Gears 5. In addition, the Xbox indicates that members benefit "exclusive discounts and offers for members".
Xbox Game Pass Ultimate: This service offers Xbox Live Gold subscribers (essential for most Xbox owners) and a GamePad for PC and console. This is a fantastic offer for anyone who owns a gaming computer and an Xbox console at home, as new proprietary titles from Microsoft are cross-platform compatible. This means you can start playing on the console, report your progress to your PC, and then return to the console.
UPlay Plus: This is the most recent service: it starts on September 3, 2019. UPlay Plus will cost $ 15 per month to access 108 games, including The Division 2, Rainbow Six Siege, Assassin's Creed: Odyssey (and the old titles of Assassin's Creed), and The Far Cry Series, starting with Far Cry 2. This is by far the most expensive service we have presented. However, subscription fees not only cover basic games, but also additional content and extensions for most titles. Neither EA Origin Access nor the Xbox Game Pass covers anything of it. It would be nice if Uplay Plus were to offer a less expensive "no DLC" version, but maybe it will be in the future.
Are they worth it?
Now here is the difficult part. As there are many styles of play, we can not say that any of these services is a unique option. So we invented some theoretical profiles to compare the needs of different players.
For this list, we assume that the average player buys about three AAA titles a year, not counting the games he could possibly buy for sale. This is our best guess, is that there is not much current information on the game buying habits. Still, about $ 180 a year on new releases seem pretty much ok.
Here are the best services for certain types of players:
The bargain hunter: If you pay for an option of all the services we have covered at advertised prices, it will cost you $ 330. It's a little more than buying five games a year, but you get a large catalog.
The fan of the brand: If you are all about Xbox, Ubisoft or EA, buying the service of your brand is a no-brainer. One year of Xbox Game Pass for PC would cost you around $ 120 for the minimum service. Origin Access Basic would cost $ 30, while Premier would cost $ 100. Uplay Plus would cost $ 180 each year.
The complétionniste: Players more interested in finishing campaigns will probably find no value in subscribing to all three services. A better option would be to choose either the Xbox Game Pass with Origin Access Basic or Uplay Plus by itself. This would be equivalent to almost three purchases of AAA securities per year. The downside for the finalists is that, except for Uplay Plus subscribers, additional content will cost more.
Cross-platform: If you have an Xbox and a PC, you should consider the Xbox Game Pass, especially if you're a fan of Microsoft's proprietary titles, like the Gears of War series and (coming later this year). Halo.
The schemer: No matter what service (s) you choose, the bonus is that you can cancel at any time. So, if EA is launching a game you want to try, sign up for Origin Access Premier, play the game, and then cancel the service when you're done. It's easy to do with a monthly subscription and ideal for those who do not want to commit for a whole year.
What you will not get
Although these offers are excellent, they do not even cover all the upcoming titles that interest PC gamers. Projekt Red's Cyberpunk 2077 is not available on any of these services, nor is the classic classic of this studio, The Witcher 3. Epic games and any new version of Activision Blizzard will also be limited.
The final result
Again, it's hard to say one way or another whether these subscriptions are worth it (a lot depends on your taste and your style of play). That's why we used the basic profiles above to look at various options and look at the value from several angles. Another thing to consider is that once you stop paying your subscription, you lose access to the games.
If you are a player who does not have a lot of time to play, it might be better for you to buy some titles directly and play at your own pace. In this way, you do not have a timer or monthly subscription on your head.
Nevertheless, for players who like to play a lot but are hesitant to pay a high price for AAA titles at launch, these services are worth a look.