Opinion: Following Television, Gaming Industry is Bloated with Subscription Offerings

When it comes to television, streaming services are the way of the world. Netflix spearheaded the movement as brick-and-mortar stores like Blockbuster crumbled. Pricey cable dropped in popularity. Now, we have more subscription services that offer streaming that we can shake a stick at. In addition to Netflix, people can choose to stream shows and movies from Amazon Prime, Peacock, Hulu, AppleTV, Disney+, Discovery+, and Showtime–just to name a few. Some can be bundled, too. While these less pricey options are now commonplace, have you ever taken a step back and added up how many streaming services you have? While $8.99 a month here and $4.99 a month there don’t appear to threaten your wallet, I have heard from friends and family members that they have several services that add up quickly. I, too, had to review my subscriptions because I noticed I wasn’t keeping budget any longer.

With the recent announcement of Ubisoft’s new subscription service, Ubisoft+, I realized I may have that same problem with gaming as well. Let’s take a look at what are available

(Note from the author: Prices are in USD. This is not an all inclusive list):

  • Nintendo Switch Online:
    • Standard: $19.99/year or $34.99/year for a family plan of up to eight people
      • Includes: online play, NES and SNES games, cloud save data, smartphone app, special offers (e.g. Tetris 99)
    • +Expansion Pack: $49.99/year and $79.99/year for a family plan of up to eight people
      • Includes: Nintendo 64 and Sega Genesis games, Animal Crossing Happy Home Paradise
  • PlayStation Plus: $59.99/year
    • Includes: online multiplayer, monthly PS5 and PS4 games, member discounts on games and DLC, cloud save data
  • Xbox GamePass: $9.99/month (console, PC); $14.99/month (Ultimate)
    • Includes: Hundreds of playable games including day one releases, cloud gaming, free perks such as in-game content (Ultimate, PC, and Console varies with addition or Gold and/or EA Play. See website for details)
  • Xbox Live Gold: $59.99/year
    • Includes: online multiplayer, two free games each month, including XBOX 360 backward compatibility, discounts on games and DL
  • Ubisoft+: $14.99/month
    • Includes: Hundreds of Ubisoft games, including new releases like Far Cry 6 and Riders Republic. There’s also a multi-access plan currently with Google Stadia ($17.99). It also offers all major DLC packs.
  • Just Dance Unlimited: 1 month $3.99, 3 months $9.99, 1 year $24.99
    • Includes: Access to a diverse catalog of more than 600 songs for the Just Dance franchise, exclusive new content monthly, and community challenges.
  • Amazon Luna: $5.99/month
    • Includes: Cloud gaming access to growing library of games, ability to play on two devices at a time, and supported by non-console devices such as Fire TV, Chromebooks, Android, iPhone, and iPad.
  • Apple Arcade: $4.99/month or $49.99/year
    • Includes: Unlimited access to 200+ games.
  • Google Stadia Pro: $9.99/month
    • Includes: Cloud gaming to compatible devices, similar to Amazon Luna. Standard Stadia is free.
  • Netflix Games: Free with Netflix subscription
    • Includes: Five mobile games at this time (this is a new product), which as Android and iOS friendly. Offline play is available for some games.

Phew. That was exhausting. Sure, this would be a gamer’s dream–a never ending list of playable perks; however, this isn’t so healthy for your piggy bank. While I’m not here to tell you how to spend your money, I would say most adults do not have the funds to enroll and maintain every TV and video game subscription service. Many times, we forget how many we have as we enroll one after another.

It is financially important to take a step back from time to time and evaluate what your subscriptions are. Forget about “console wars” and brand loyalty. What is most important is getting the most bang for your buck. For example, Nintendo Switch Online’s new Expansion Pack received loud complaints by many for the price and what it had to offer. However, for someone who grew up with Nintendo64 may be content as it provides exactly what they like. You need to ask yourself what aspects are most important to you. Do you value cloud gaming? Would you prefer the ability to play on your mobile device? Perhaps you are not an Xbox fan, but the long list of free third-party titles in Game Pass could be worth your money than two or more subscriptions you already pay for!

Subscriptions are a great way for gamers to improve access and even help with game preservation while saving money–just make sure you review them often and that you don’t tip the scales and end up paying for more than you need or use.

Let us know what gaming subscriptions you use by joining our Discord or Facebook group!

Sources: Consumer Reports, Ubisoft, Ubisoft Plus, Nintendo Switch Online, PlayStation Plus, Xbox GamePass:, Xbox Live Gold, Ubisoft+, Just Dance Unlimited, Amazon Luna, Apple Arcade, Google Stadia Pro, Netflix Games

Image Sources: Vecteezy, Ubisoft Plus

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