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Top 10 Best Gaming Services – March 2020

Top 10 Best Gaming Services
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These days there’s a ton of different ways to access the games you love thanks to the wide variety of options out there, but we feel that these are the best gaming services that you can get for your money. Or lack there of depending on which one you choose.

Because there are more than a few options, we grabbed the best gaming services and put them together in this list and ranked them from one to ten. The ranking is of course purely subjective and your ranking may differ.

These are however the best options if you love gaming, regardless of the order.

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Top 10 Best Gaming Services – Summary

Below is a summary table of which gaming services are on this list. If you’re short on time and simply want to see which services we picked, you can view them all directly from the table included here.

If you want to read a little more about each of our picks, you can view the actual longer list below the summary table.

 

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Monthly CostIn-service cost (per item)
EA Origin Access$4.99/$14.99
Uplay+$14.99
Xbox Live Gold$9.99
PlayStation NOW$9.99
Project xCloudFree (For Now)
Google Stadia$9.99Varies by game add-on
NVIDIA GeForce NOWFree/$4.99
Shadow$12.99/$24.95/$34.95
PlayStation Plus$9.99
Xbox Game Pass$4.99/$9.99/$14.99

Top 10 Best Gaming Services – Ranked List

10. EA Origin Access

Starting off this list of best gaming services is EA’s Origin Access, which comes in two different flavors – Basic and Premiere.

The former is obviously the cheaper option and that may be the best option for some based on what it is they’re looking to get out of a service. It does also come with less features though. So that’s something that people will want to weigh out.

For that $5 a month, you get 10-hour long trials of upcoming games (early access), as well unlimited access to a collection of games in the Basic Vault, which includes titles like Need For Speed Payback, Battlefield V, Anthem, Dead Space and more.

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What you won’t get is unlimited access to the newest games, which you will only find in the Premiere Vault along with the Premiere plan. This is the better option if you want the latest EA games, like Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order, FIFA 20, and Need For Speed Heat just to name a few.

You also get rid of the 10-hour long trial of upcoming games and replace that with access to the full game without limits on time. Which one is right for you depends on whether or not you actually like EA games, and whether or not you care if they’re the absolute latest titles.

Overall though EA Origin Access is a decent offering in both slots as there are some very good titles in both.

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9. Uplay +

For the most part, Ubisoft’s entry into the game subscription industry is not too different from EA. Uplay+ is about the same as Origin Access, except there’s only one plan.

It costs $14.99 a month and for that you’ll have access to over 100 different games from the Ubisoft lineup. Including both new titles such as the upcoming Watch Dogs: Legion, and classic titles like the earlier Assassin’s Creed games.

Ubisoft is promising access to upcoming new releases as they come out, too. Though so far there’s no word on if this will include every single new game that the publisher launches.

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Since there’s no cheaper plan option here, it may not be the best fit for you. As $15 a month is a lot to cough up if you don’t care for most of the games from the publisher.

Like Origin Access, games will be revolving which means they won’t stay in the library forever. And at some point they’ll be taken out of the lineup. That being said Ubisoft is likely to add in more games than it takes out.

8. Xbox Live Gold

  • Price: $9.99
  • Sign up: Through your Xbox console or at the Xbox Live Gold website

The must-have service if you own an Xbox console that you actively play on, Xbox Live Gold is how you play online with friends across a large library of games.

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Whether it’s the latest Call of Duty, Fortnite, or NBA 2K, or any other game that supports online play, you definitely want Xbox Live Gold. The service also grants you discounts on new games every single month so you aren’t paying full price for those digital downloads.

On top of all that it includes the Games With Gold perk, which is basically at least one or two free games every single month. This is similar to PlayStation Plus, and in fact is more or less the same thing but for the Xbox One.

You can certainly use an Xbox One without paying for this sub. But you miss out on a lot of value without it, and you can’t play online without it either. If you’re primarily a single player gamer, then that’s not an issue.

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You definitely want this if you plan to play online though.

7. PlayStation Now

https://youtu.be/k6cYrBTH92U

Want games on demand with your PS4? Then you want PlayStation Now. While this was not nearly as nice when it first launched years ago, it’s come a long way and is now available for the much cheaper $9.99 per month.

You get access to hundreds of games that stream right to your PS4 without having to download a thing. Games rotate out regularly but new ones also come in to take their place.

On top of all that you can also access PlayStation Now on more than just your PS4 console. You can also play on your PC. Which is a great way to access all those PlayStation games you love if you’re away from home but have a laptop with you.

You won’t always get the absolute latest titles, but you do get a fair amount of newer titles mixed in with classics from across the different PlayStation systems.

Really the best part about it is that you can play these games on your PS4 or on your computer. That’s what really makes this an awesome service if you like PlayStation over other platforms, or at least like it the most.

6. Project xCloud

Project xCloud would be higher on our list of best gaming services but the fact that it’s still in a closed beta preview that you have to be accepted into forces it to be more in the middle.

There are also some inconsistencies with the quality of the streaming depending on what game you play.

For the most part, though, xCloud is very impressive and is going to be one service to watch out for as it gets further into its life cycle. Right now you can play it only on Android smartphones, but it will expand to more devices later on.

The silver lining is that it’s compatible with a pretty wide variety of phones on the Android platform. It also supports multiple controller types (not just the Xbox One controller), and it has a large list of games.

There are over 80 to choose from and Microsoft is likely to add more the further it gets into the preview. By the time it actually launches out of beta you could see a couple hundred game options.

Most of the games in the library are almost a year old or older, but you do have access to some more recent titles like Gears 5. What makes this so good though, is that since it’s in beta it’s completely free.

So if you sign up and you get in, you won’t pay anything to access the library of games that are available. And you can play them anywhere you have internet access since it works with Wi-Fi and mobile data.

It probably won’t work as good on mobile data though. So use it with caution when not on Wi-Fi.

5. Google Stadia

https://youtu.be/Ry72b_fIKAk

Despite all the jokes and negative press that Stadia has gotten, the service is impressive in many ways.

Google took something that had been tried before (more than once) by other companies and services and made it work way better than anything that came before it. The technology behind it is sound and there’s a ton of potential.

That isn’t to say that Stadia isn’t without its downsides. And there are more than a few. It has a very small list of games right now. The only way to access it for the majority of people is to pay for the $130 bundle, at least until the Base option is released, and it comes with a $9.99 monthly fee on top of the bundle price and the cost of games.

These negative factors have rubbed some consumers the wrong way. For better or worse though Stadia has been steadily improving in almost every area it’s been lacking. We’re inching closer to a launch of Base, and missing features are starting to be rolled out.

Google has even gotten a lot better at the communication part when it comes to relaying updates to consumers and the fans. The only major area it’s still lacking is games. While there are some good options on Stadia at present, it still has a very small library.

It’s not even a third of what Microsoft offers in the FREE Project xCloud service. And that’s in beta still. For mostly this reason, we ranked Stadia at right in the middle of our best gaming services list.

There are more positives though. It now supports more Android phones and it’s always supported various controller types. And you can play it on a multitude of devices including Android phones, your PC through Chrome, and via Chromecast.

You can even start the game on one of those devices and pause it, then pick it back up on another in a pretty seamless way. Stadia may have had a rocky start but there is still loads and loads of potential and Google still has a chance to dominate in this space. So long as it hurries things up.

4. NVIDIA GeForce NOW

NVIDIA’s GeForce NOW is a relatively new service that just launched out of beta last month, but it’s already garnered a huge number of subscribers thanks to its versatility.

You can play games through this service on laptops and desktops running on Windows 10, or you can play on a wide variety of Android phones. The best part about it all is that you access games through the game stores you already use.

Instead of buying these straight from NVIDIA, GeForce NOW merely acts as a tool for you to access your games from Steam, Uplay, GOG, The Epic Games Store and more.

The major benefit to this, is that if you primarily play games on PC and you tend to pick up the newest games as they release, chances are you will be able to play them through GeForce NOW. Of course there are some downsides.

A number of game publishers have requested that their games be pulled from the GeForce NOW service, and NVIDIA obliged by removing those games. This includes games from Square Enix, Activision-Blizzard, and most recently Bethesda, among others.

That means when DOOM Eternal launches later this month, you won’t be able to play it through GeForce NOW unfortunately. You will however be able to play it on Stadia.

If you’re a Destiny 2 player, then you’ll love GeForce NOW. Because it lets you access the Steam version of the game, and if PC is your primary platform for it, then you can play with your clan and friends. Something which Stadia is unfortunately lacking unless your clan and friends are also on that platform.

GeForce NOW has two tiers, which include the free tier and the Founders tier. Free is free, but it limits you to one-hour play sessions before requiring you to log out and log back in if you want to continue playing. You also don’t get RTXOn.

Founders bumps you up to six-hour play sessions and adds the RTXOn feature so you get the best graphics in the games that support this. So there is give and take to GeForce NOW just like there are with the rest of the options on our best gaming services list.

Even though GeForce NOW has lost access to games from some publishers, NVIDIA is hoping to re-add those games back at some point. Overall GeForce NOW has a lot to offer and it works pretty well, earning it the number four spot.

3. Shadow

https://youtu.be/-EDO7HaLOeg

For game streaming, the most unshackled is Shadow. It works differently than the others as it’s more or less just a virtual PC that you stream to your device of choice.

You can install any software you want which means you can install Steam, GOG, The Epic Games Store, and even Windows games from the Xbox game store.

You could also install the Battle.net launcher, though technically playing games like WoW using a service like Shadow is against the terms of service and people have been banned for it if caught. So go about that with caution.

Aside from Activision-Blizzard games though, most any other game is accessible. And it works on way more devices than any of the other streaming services. You can play on tablets, smartphones, Windows desktops and laptops, and even Mac desktops and laptops.

This platform-agnostic nature is what sets it apart and really ahead of the services. It comes at a price though as Shadow is the most expensive option. It starts at $24.95 normally for the annual plan but Shadow is currently (as of March 4, 2020) running a deal where you can get the annual plan for $12.99 a month.

The annual plan signs you up for a year-long term. So if you choose this option you have to keep it. The fees are still billed monthly though, and you’re getting the cheaper cost because you chose to sign up for a year-long term.

If you want the month-to-month plan, the price goes up to $34.95 a month. So obviously the versatility comes at a cost. Another downside is that Shadow isn’t available in every state. Whereas something like GeForce NOW or Stadia is available across the entirety of the US, Shadow isn’t available in certain states, like Arizona.

And this is a drawback for the service and for some users. You may find this to be the most desirable service, but not have access, and that’s a shame. Because of its functionality, though, and its wide range of device support, it wins the number three spot on best gaming services list.

2. PlayStation Plus

If you have a PS4 or PS3, then you know of PlayStation Plus. It’s similar to Xbox Live Gold but for the PlayStation console.

With it, you get access to exclusive discounts on digital games in the PlayStation store and you can play online multiplayer games. You also get at least two free games every single month.

Some months you may even get a third. Again just like with Xbox Live Gold you don’t need PS Plus for single player games. That is unless it has online features and you want to make use of them.

You will need it however if you want to have access to playing online with friends. And to be quite honest, it’s worth it for the discounts and the free games.

Normally this is $9.99 a month if you go with the monthly plan. However you can buy the annual plan at $60, and this cuts the overall annual cost in half. Sometimes you can even pick up the annual plan at a discount, and these are the times you should really consider going for the annual pass.

1. Xbox Game Pass

We’ve reached the end of our best gaming services list and the number one service that we’ve chosen is Xbox Game Pass. I am personally more of a PlayStation fan, but Xbox Game Pass is an indisputable champion among every other service we’ve chosen.

It offers a huge list of games to choose from, multiple publishers and not just one like EA or Ubisoft, and it’s fairly inexpensive for what you’re getting.

Plus, it works on both Windows PC and consoles. If you want the console plan, it’s $10 a month. If you don’t own an Xbox One and you want the PC plan then it’s $4.99 a month as an introductory price, and you can even sign up for $1 a month right now because the PC version is still in beta.

What Game Pass is, is a service that lets you access both the latest games and some more classic titles and everything in between. You download these games to the platform you sign up for, and you can play them with unlimited access.

The one caveat is that games are cycled through the service regularly. Which means some games will eventually be pulled from Game Pass as others are brought in. For the monthly cost though, you don’t pay for the games. You download them for free and play them as much as you want.

If you own both a PC and an Xbox One and you want access to Game Pass from both, the best option is the Ultimate plan which is normally $14.99 a month. It does however come with Xbox Live Gold for your console as part of the package, and you can join this for $1 as well.

The difference here though is that it’s only $1 for the first month and then $14.99 after that. Whereas the PC version is going to stay at $1 if you sign up right now while the deal is still active.

For the money, Xbox Game Pass is the best gaming service on the market right now. All because it has immense value. If you’re looking for a gaming service to subscribe to, and have a Windows PC, you can’t beat it. This is why its number one on our best gaming services list.