Xbox Game Pass vs PlayStation Plus — Biggest gaming subscription libraries and best prices

Xbox Game Pass and Xbox Game Pass for PC from Microsoft offers the best value for money to South African gamers when you compare the raw size of its library relative to the monthly price.

Services like PlayStation Plus and Humble Choice can offer comparable or greater value over time as subscribers unlock more games every month, but it would take several years of unlocking three to twelve games per month to reach that point.

Of course, the size of the library is not the only factor potential buyers consider before selecting a game subscription service and fortunately you can choose from a range of such services in South Africa.

Similar to what has happened in the movie, television, and music industries, game publishers are moving to subscription-based models focused which provide access to numerous titles at a fraction of the cost of buying physical or digital copies of games.

This move was supported by increased broadband access that allowed more customers to download their games over the Internet.

The shift means players can now pay much less to have access to multiple newly-released AAA games — a much cheaper options than buying a licence for each game at well over R1,000 per title nowadays.

Microsoft has been a big proponent of this business model with its Xbox Game Pass service, which launched in 2017.

Available on PC (since 2019) and Xbox, the service boasts games from Microsoft’s own Xbox Game Studios, as well as third-party publishers and independent developers.

Xbox Game Pass picked up pace in recent months, such as through the addition of titles from EA Play, Electronic Arts’ own subscription service.

The partnership allows Game Pass for PC and Game Pass Ultimate members to play many games from EA’s most popular franchises — including Battlefield, FIFA, Mass Effect, Star Wars, and Need for Speed.

Following Microsoft’s acquisition of ZeniMax Media, parent company of the studio Bethesda, Game Pass also started offering games from the Doom, Elder Scrolls, Fallout, and Wolfenstein franchises.

At R99 per month for Game Pass for PC with 261 games, or R149 for Game Pass Ultimate for 578 titles across both PC and Xbox, its value proposition is substantial.

On Game Pass for PC you are effectively paying an access fee of just 38 cents per game, while Game Pass Ultimate works out to around 26 cents per game.

Those primarily interested in EA titles can save money and just purchase an EA Play membership at R48.50 per month, or R299 per year.

EA Play on PC offers 159 titles, while Xbox and PlayStation players get 79 and 43 games, respectively.

Its higher tier EA Play Pro package at R199.95 per month or R1,199.99 per year provides access to more exclusive content and the latest games, often on the same day of release.

For example, it currently offers Mass Effect Legendary Edition and NFS: Hot Pursuit Remastered, neither of which are on the standard packagers.

PC players who enjoy Ubisoft games can also sign up for Ubisoft+, which boasts a library comprising Assassin’s Creed, Far Cry, Watchdogs, and Tom Clancy titles.

At €14.99 (R247) per month, however, it is the most expensive of the popular gaming subscriptions available.

Sony’s PlayStation Plus, which has been around for longer than this new wave of game subscription platforms, functions differently from these other services.

While its primary purpose is to provide access to online multiplayer, Sony also offers a few new titles to claim for free each month.

Subscribers are then be able to play any of the games they have claimed for as long as they are a PlayStation Plus member.

However, you can only start claiming games from the moment you start subscribing. You don’t get access to a back-catalogue of PlayStation Plus titles when you sign up for the first time.

Another option for PC gamers is Humble Choice, which has adopted a best of both worlds kind of model to game subscriptions.

For $19.99 per month (R271) you get access to over 80 games called the Humble Trove, many of which are Humble Originals and exclusive to the Humble platform.

In addition, Humble Choice subscribers receive around twelve games every month. Unlike PlayStation Plus, though, these games are yours to keep forever even if you cancel your subscription.

Lastly, gamers on Apple’s platforms — including iPhone, iPad, Mac, or Apple TV — can opt for Apple Arcade at R84.99 per month.

This service is oriented towards casual players and arcade fans, offering more than 180 games.

The table below compares the platforms, libraries, and major titles available on gaming subscription services in South Africa.

Gaming subscription services
Service Platforms(s) Library size Major titles/franchises Price
Apple Arcade iPhone
iPad
Mac
Apple TV
180 Lego Brawls
NBA 2K21 Arcade Edition
Samurai Jack
Star Trek: Legends
Sonic Racing
Sneaky Sasquatch
R84.99 per month
EA Play PC 159 Battlefield
Crysis
Dead Space
Dragon Age
FIFA
Need for Speed
Mass Effect Trilogy and Andromeda
Rocket Arena
Star Wars: Jedi Fallen Order
Star Wars: Battlefront I & II
Titanfall I & II
Unravel I & II
R48.50 per month

R299 per year

PlayStation 43
Xbox 79
EA Play Pro PC 193 All of the above plus:
Mass Effect: Legendary Edition
NFS: Hot Pursuit Remastered
Madden NFL 21
Star Wars: Squadrons
R199.95 per month

R1,199.99 per year

Humble Choice PC 80+ Humble Trove titles
±12 Games per month
Civlisation VI
Metro Exodus
Darksiders
Control
$19.99 per month (R271)

$179.99 per year (R2,441)

PlayStation Plus PlayStation Download-dependent
(up to 700)
Control: Ultimate Edition
Maneater
Shadow of the Tomb Raider
Greedfall
Remnant: From the Ashes
Days Gone
Battlefield V
Star Wars: Squadrons
R119.00 per month

R561.00 (Normal price R749.00 per year)

Ubisoft+ PC 127 Anno
Assassin’s Creed
Far Cry
Ghost Recon
Rainbow Six
Watchdogs
€14.99 (R293) per month
Xbox Game Pass Xbox 358 All EA Play titles
Age of Empires
Doom
Dishonored
Elder Scrolls
Forza
Fallout
Gears of War
Halo
Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020
Wolfenstein
R99.00 per month
Xbox Game Pass for PC PC 261 R99.00 per month
Xbox Game Pass Ultimate PC

Xbox

578 (combined) R149.00 per month

Game streaming services

It should be noted that these subscriptions are different from game streaming services like Xbox Cloud Gaming, PlayStation Now, GeForce Now, Google Stadia, and Amazon Luna.

These services offer users the ability to stream games to various devices, which often includes smartphones or tablets.

Instead of running on local hardware, they use cloud computing infrastructure of providers to power these games.

While this is great for playing on less powerful devices, game streaming services require servers that are closely located to the user to minimise latency for an optimal gameplay experience.

As a result, they are not yet available in South Africa.

Now read: HP announces new gaming laptops with promising budget option

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Xbox Game Pass vs PlayStation Plus — Biggest gaming subscription libraries and best prices