When it comes to video game subscription services, console gamers have it pretty easy — they’re mostly stuck with PlayStation, Nintendo, or Xbox’s first-party services. PC gamers, on the other hand, have a lot of choices to pick from.
Currently, Microsoft’s Game Pass for PC, Ubisoft’s Uplay+ and the Humble Choice subscription from Humble Bundle are the most notable PC gaming subscriptions. Each service has a unique library of games, special offers, and other perks, but which one is the best? Let’s compare.
The Xbox Game Pass on PC is almost too good to believe and right now, it costs Australians $1 for the first month and then $4.95 for each month after.
While the PC Game Pass library doesn’t get you the exact same titles as Microsoft’s Xbox Game Pass library, many of Microsoft’s first-party Xbox Series X games, like Halo Infinite, can be found on PC via Game Pass. That’s a pretty nice deal on its own, but Game Pass has a lot more than just Halo and Forza.
There are also dozens of third-party and indie releases and new games show up at a steady pace — many of which are playable on launch day.
In addition to the massive library, subscribers will also get access to Microsoft’s upcoming Xcloud streaming service once it’s available, which will let you play your Game Pass library on phones, laptops, and other devices via cloud streaming.
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Humble Bundle is known for its generous (and charitable) sales on large collections of games, but the company also has a Humble Choice monthly subscription service that’s arguably even more enticing.
The service offers three different subscription levels:
- Lite ($7.99 per month): Access to the “Humble Trove” library of over 90 free games and 10% off any Humble Store purchases.
- Basic ($19.99 per month): All of the Lite subscription benefits, and you get to redeem up to three additional free games from a batch of 10 unique titles each month.
- Premium ($29.99 per month): Redeem up to nine extra free games per month, access to the “Humble Trove,” and up to 20% off Humble Store purchases.
The monthly selection can vary in quality, but it routinely includes popular and new titles. The “Humble Trove” library is pretty good. Users redeem their games via product codes on other storefronts such as Steam. While that can be a tedious process, it means the games are yours to keep even if you cancel your subscription — something you don’t often get from “once you’ve cancelled, you’re cut off” subscription services.
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At $19.95, Uplay+ is one of the most expensive options available, but hardcore-Ubisoft fans (and only hardcore Ubisoft fans) will get a lot out of the service.
Naturally, Uplay+ carries Ubisoft games exclusively. Ubisoft has an impressively varied catalogue — everything from open-world action games, turn-based strategy games, and RPGs to artsy platformers, racing games, and military shooters. The list includes every Assassin’s Creed, Watch Dogs, and Far Cry release to date, plus classic series like Rayman, Prince of Persia, and Might and Magic.
Games in the Uplay+ library include all expansion, DLC, and season pass content at no extra charge. Any new Ubisoft releases will be available on the release day, and subscribers even get access to beta events for unreleased games.
So which is best?
There’s a reason we opened this list with Xbox Game Pass on PC; it’s by far the best service on the list, and easily one of the best deals in gaming, period. Look at this way: with the $4.95 a month deal, you’re paying about $55 per year with that $1 introductory month included. That’s less than the cost of a single new game, and game pass lets you play many of the biggest releases on day one.
That said, Humble Choice is a pretty rad deal too, and getting to keep all the games you redeem even after cancelling is a significant selling point over its competition. It might not have the immediate gratification of playing the latest new releases, but it’s a better long-term investment.
Uplay+, on the other hand, is a much more niche service. It’s an easy sell if you’re really into a few of Ubisoft’s current franchises or want to catch up on its older releases, but it probably won’t have much appeal outside of that audience.
Do you need a subscription service?
While most of these services are absolutely worth the monthly fee, none of them are necessary to play PC games on the cheap. There are plenty of other ways to snag free or heavily-discounted games.
For example, the Epic Games Store lets users pick one to two free games from a small selection every week — no subscription required. You have to claim each game from the Epic Games Store app, as they aren’t added to your library automatically, but they’re yours forever if you manage to snag them while they’re available.
Other stores like Steam, Itch.io, and GOG occasionally give away games too, and there are numerous free-to-play games on all three digital storefronts. You can play Fortnite, Apex Legends, DOTA 2, and even Destiny 2 without spending a cent.
Between Steam Sales, Epic Games Store freebies, and the surprising number of high-quality free-to-play games out there, you’ll have plenty of stuff to play. And if you decided to pair all of that with a PC gaming subscription service, you’ll have more than you could ever play in a single lifetime.