Another Look at Gaming Subscriptions

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I rediscovered an old post that I’d written about the idea of game subscriptions – this was back when Origin Access (now renamed EA Play) was first announced in 2016. I can see that I was curious about the concept of renting a library of games, and posed the question of whether it would be worth it to consider.

I never did sub to Origin Access, but fast forward a few years, and I’m in love with PC Game Pass right now. As a matter of fact, I fired up a couple games this weekend – one that I enjoyed but wouldn’t have bought due to my own preferences and reasons. It has ultimately been saving me money.

The idea for this revisit also came from the recent announcement that Humble Choice is also providing a library of games along with the monthly choice games. I’ve never subbed to Humble Choice simply because I already have too many games in my backlog to keep adding to it monthly. Not to mention, many of the games I’ve seen in Humble Choice I either wouldn’t buy or I already own if I was interested in it.

In this environment of gaming subscriptions, it’s almost as if Humble needs to step it up for the monthly cost. I’m sure there are folks still happy enough with their random game picks each month, but with options out there like PC Game pass, not having a library is just not competing.

I’ve also been turned on to Prime Gaming lately, thanks to my sister pointing out that it also provides random monthly games you can claim and keep. I already pay for Amazon Prime every year, so I may as well snag free games, right? This system is a bit different in that you must log in to select your games to keep them in your library. It also requires yet another launcher, which is a bit annoying, but it is what it is.

Another service that I didn’t even consider to be a subscription service is Nintendo Switch Online. I mostly pay for it for online gaming, but I’d forgotten that it has perks in providing a library of Nintendo and SNES games, too. So that counts!

My Thoughts on Gaming Subs

Maybe it’s because I’m getting older that I’m less worried about ownership and more into experience. There are some games that, yes, I want to own it and I will go out of my way to purchase that game (physical if possible).

But seeing how many games are in my backlog and knowing my gaming habits, I’ve become less worried about owning those games on the fringe. You know the ones I mean – the games that you’d like to just to try out, but wouldn’t necessarily need to keep forever.

When I was younger, this idea would have horrified me. What do you mean that I would temporarily have access to a game through a sub? And that the company chooses which games are in the library, which can come and go depending on business decisions and licensing agreements?

Heck, I didn’t even buy into Steam until it was established because I feared buying digital copies of games – I mean what happens to my games when Steam folds? Nothing lasts forever.

But after being in a more digital environment and seeing how the games I enjoy come and go over time, the idea of a subscription that allows me to dip into games just for the experience isn’t so scary anymore. In fact, I find a sense of freedom in it.

No longer do I keep filling up a backlog and snagging games on sale because I want to try them – games I often don’t even play until much later, if at all. Instead, I can sample games and decide if they’re worth being on my forever list.

More importantly, I can experience games that I wouldn’t normally have tried because I tend not to buy games (lately) unless I know I absolutely must play it. This allows me to expand my gaming horizons while saving me money. And… if I find my next new favorite game, I’ll be supporting a gaming dev with money I might not have before.

That being said, I am not pro ONLY subscription models for games. What makes it work for me is that there’s a balance between owning what you really want and trying the rest out.

For a pretty cool list of gaming subs and their prices, check this page out!

Do you have any gaming subscriptions? If so, do you use them and what do you think about them?

6 responses to “Another Look at Gaming Subscriptions”

  1. Humble Choice, Xbox Game Pass and Playstation Plus are the three I currently have. Occasionally add an MMO over the top of that.

    PS+ is fairly hit and miss for me. It’s the one I unsub/resub to the most, depending on what is out there. I mostly keep it for the access to games it provides from the PS+ collection for my youngest, as its still cheaper than buying them all outright. 😛

    XBox Game Pass I have for another year as part of the deal from getting the Xbox Series X, and I could see myself potentially cancelling that one after this — or more likely, filling that on/off-again role of PS+.

    Humble Choice I’ve been much more consistent with since I joined years ago, but the near-constant disappointment of it (despite it unarguably still being good value for money, lol) does mean I’m always walking the razor’s edge of cancelling. I don’t think the changes announced will have any bearing on this either. It’s entirely down to what they offer in the bundle each month for me. If the quality of the offerings continues to be so low, I could see myself leaving permanently rather soon!

    Liked by 1 person

    • This is a great breakdown of these services – thanks for sharing your experiences with them since the only one I’m partially familiar with is the PC Game Pass (which I know is different somehow from Xbox Game Pass). I guess I’m hearing that one nice thing is the flexibility to drop the sub and come back when you feel there’s a reason to.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Bit late to the party. The not owning isn’t actually the point that is annoying, for me it’s the “limited time”. In the last years I seem to have formed several bad habits, foremost not playing a game from start to finish (or until I feel Iam done with it) and sometimes not even starting to play the “new” game. That’s what makes these subs completely useless for me. Either I’d have to think about paying for a whole year or longer or actually play something just now because I’m paying for it. :/

    Liked by 1 person

    • That’s fair! For me, however, I prefer to rent for the exact same reason. I’ve learned that I rarely ever finish a game anymore, so I don’t feel as bad exploring games and not finishing them if I’m only paying a small fee every month to try as many games as I’d like. If there’s a game I know that I want to finish and really love, then I will buy it straight out to avoid what you’re describing, because I’d feel that way, too!


  3. Xbox Game Pass and PC Game Pass are really good subscriptions now in my opinion! They’re always adding new games and the majority of them are top tier. Sometimes the popular games get taken out and put back in a lot though … (Must be some underlying marketing to get people hooked on them and then to buy it) … think GTA V and Rainbow Six lol … but apart from that the subscriptions are generally good 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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