The Big Question: Gaming Subscriptions On PC

It's an accepted fact of life on consoles that your purchase also comes with an in-built subscription that everyone just has to have. It's not even a question. EA's Early Access on Xbox One is also considered a solid advantage for Microsoft.

But in the PC world, these subscription services are less enticing.

Humble Bundle's monthly service has been running for a couple of months without an exceptional amount of fanfare. And as of this morning we know that EA are offering their subscription service to users on PC, provided you live in Canada, the US, Germany, or the UK.

Question is: what would it actually take for you to sign up to one on PC?

For me, I'd actually quite like to see a retro subscription from, say, Good Old Games. Getting access to a rotating roster of retro titles on a variety of devices is something that I'd immediately consider dropping a few dollars on provided the asking price wasn't too much.

As for EA's program? It's not a bad deal, although I think it really only works if you tend to enjoy shooters and sports games. That's where the most consistent, on-going value with The Vault is. Sure, you could get access to games like Dragon Age: Inquisition, but if you're only interested in titles like that and not the rest of EA's catalogue you might be better off picking up the games individually when they're on sale (and Inquisition was under $30 recently for consoles too).

And that's not even getting into the value of traditional subscriptions for MMOs and other genres. So that's today's question. Subscriptions: what does it take to push you over the edge of commitment?


    Merely existing.
    With all the other bullshit that publishers heap on pc users?
    No, thanks.

    I only have one thing I subscribe to. That's Netflix. The very LAST thing I need is another bill every month. No value proposition, no matter how good, will change that in the foreseeable future. For PC gaming subscription services, this is exacerbated by how old my hardware is.

    Last edited 13/01/16 11:21 am

    It's not a bad deal. For example, you could buy it just for one month, finish the game/s you want to play then cancel your subscription. Better value than buying a game just to play it once anyway. I think this also gives you a 10hr play time trial for any of EA's games as well. 10hrs played is plenty of time to figure out if you actually want a game. This is considerably better value than Humble Monthly Bundle IMO. The game selection is quite nice too. Pretty modern AAA titles.

      That's a good point. It will definitely be a good thing for some. Me, I like my collection growing and growing permanently, so it's not truly for me, but I can see why it would work for others. Of all the things they've done in the past, this isn't a bad thing from EA at all.

    Just because you basically "have to have" the subscription doesn't make it enticing. It's one of the many reasons I still own a PS3 and have avoided getting a PS4 or XBox. I don't want a feeling that I'm not getting the full experience on a console because I refuse to be forced into a subscription model on top of the expense of a console and the games.

    Nothing. I take a collector's approach to most things, I give money and get the thing and that's the end of it. Mine to do with as I please and keep for however long I like, no "ongoing relationship" with the distributor or anything. The subscription model is pretty much the direct opposite of that, so doesn't sit well with me at all.

      These are my thoguhts however, with each passing year, I get the feeling that I don't really own the software I purchase. Take, for example, fallout 4. I bought it on pc and it came with one DVD. I had to download the rest of the game from steam. So now, publishers aren't even putting all of the game onto the DVDs! This really pissed me off because I have an average internet connection and it took me 8 hours to download the rest of the game.

        Yeah, I tend to avoid those ones too. To me it's generally faster to go to a shop, grab a game and get home with it. Can't stand the thought that you could do that and be unable to even play it. It's part of why I've generally stuck to console/Nintendo games, though even they're starting to slip into the same territory. Maybe once that happens I'll end up giving up on games entirely. Well, new releases anyway. The backlog should keep me entertained for years to come :P

    Pffft ignoring Nintendo yet again.

    Some of the greatest times I've ever had during online gaming:

    Racing against friends and strangers in Mario Kart 7

    My town in Animal Crossing New Leaf was buying turnips for 543 bells apiece. I opened the gates and everybody turned into Tom Nook for one glorious night.

    Pokemon Y Wonder-Trade and making long-standing connections with very cool Pokemon trainers who never put up a damn Bidoof.

    Taking down beasties with friends and friends I hadn't yet met in Monster Hunter Ultimate 4.

    Winning my first ever Super Street Fighter 4 the day I got my OG 3DS.

    To say nothing of the free online experiences I get every week on my Wii U.

      Riveting tale, no need to play the 'poor old Nintendo' card though. The author was asking what it would take to push you over the edge of commitment to a subscription, not "Outlining how you access online play on various gaming platforms"

        That got me thinking. If Nintendo had a monthly subscription for unlimited access to EVERYTHING in their eShop, I'd sign my soul over.

          Yeah that would get me waiving the credit card too.

      To be fair, Nintendo doesn't really fit within the realm of PC gaming subscriptions.

      And the WiiU still has the best first party exclusives for any console for my money, if that helps.

        Oh believe me Alex, I wasn't attacking. As mentioned elsewhere here, introducing 'paid' into 'free' landscapes is tricky.

        The main reason is almost always Fear of Missing Out though, isn't it?

        My point with those games I mentioned was I didn't expect to have those experiences, and definitely wouldn't have paid for an online sub to a handheld so I'd have never had them.

      My town in Animal Crossing New Leaf was buying turnips for 543 bells apiece. I opened the gates and everybody turned into Tom Nook for one glorious night.

      That made my day

    Has it occurred to anyone that maybe PC is doing so well is because we don't have subscription fees?
    If they want to keep gamers honest and loyal paying for their games without pushing people away to piracy they should keep things as they are :)
    Don't gamers have enough additional costs for every little thing?!?

    I played MMO's back in the day when there was no other option. It was subscription, or nothing. Ultima Online, Everquest, WoW, and so on all forced you to pay $10-$15 a month, and it was worth it.

    You didnt have 100 other options in those days, so really got value for money. I couldnt tell you how many hours I pumped into EQ when I played, but it was plenty.

    For me at least, Sony also got it right with their all access account. For $30/month (I think), you ended up getting access to all their MMO's, which included EQ, EQ2, SWG, Vanguard, Matrix Online and so on. I've missed a few. That price dropped as well over time as games were retired.

    But even though I didnt play as much (we were getting into the era of FTP and freemium MMO's), I still kept that subscription going for a long time. Why? Because it gave so many options and let me jump into any of those games on a whim. It also helped a few mates out for their kids, or if they wanted to 2 box something, and that sort of stuff. I didnt mind.

    Whether a subscription is worth it or not is all about the time you'd be willing to put into the content available. If I played EQ 4 hours a night every night (it wasnt much less than that), that was 120 hours a month for $12. Ten cents an hour versus buying a new game once a month? No contest. Even if it was 2 hours a night, or just one, the cost for that time averages out to something far far less than buying games that give 20-30 hours of fun.

    These days, with some exceptions, you simply wont see games that deliver that level of entertainment, so it comes down to the rest of the catalog. Theres no point getting the EA service if you only care about NFL games, or just like RPG's. As the story says, may as well just get the single item.

    On the other hand, if someone like Bioware gave a subscription service that gave you access to THEIR catalog, because of the quality plenty would sign on in a heartbeat.

    Nothing. I hate feeling "locked in" by subscriptions

    I'd want the games permanently, no one month access subscription. I have limited game time so having limited access doesn't work.

    I'd also want to know exactly what I was getting so I can decide whether it's worth it or not. I took a gamble on the first humble monthly bundle because I figured they'd throw in some good games to get attention. Cancelled immediately after 1st weren't that good.

    So basically I'll never do one of these subscription because I don't know what I'm paying for. Would rather save that cash each month and choose the games I want.

    Subscribe to half a dozen MMOs and other PC services (eg: VPNs, teh Netflixes), forget until seeing the renewal emails, get curious and jump into online banking, freak out about how much per month is coming out for shit you don't ever play, nuke card so that nothing can re-bill.


    Very unlikely that I would jump on any, I jump around a lot and then focus on a single game so fixed timelines to complete things don't really work for me. Hell I played the original Bioshock across 4 calendar years
    That said the fan boy in me would probably jump at a steam subscription service

    Subscriptions, I wish they could be altered slightly.

    Sometimes I don't have time to play games like SWTOR, so paying so-and-so a month for something I can barely touch just isn't a good investment to me.

    Question is: what would it actually take for you to sign up to one on PC?

    Cheaper prices, or maybe some kind of pre-paid scheme, like phones have?

    Gaming time is limited for me as it is. Doesn't interest me in the slightest. Bad enough I have a huge amount of PS+ games I'll never play.

    Im technically "subbed" to several websites, streamers, netflix, xbl and ea access (x1) but the only one I pay monthly is Netflix. The rest I go for the better proposition of buying the year. If I can from a cheaper reseller like ozgameshop.

    I don't mind not having permanent rights to licenses, especially when I no longer play the games. I haven't been a "collector" in years.

    I play online PC games in part BECAUSE there is no subscription for the games I want to play. Why play fighting games online with a subscription when I can do it without one on a PC?

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