At $10 a month, PC Game Pass remains a great deal for the right person, but from someone who recently realized he has an active Crunchyroll subscription and hasn’t watched anime in months, a friendly PSA: If you aren’t using it, cancel it!
Like, maybe today? Unless you’re happily playing through eight Yakuza games, now might be a good time to reassess how much you need an active Game Pass sub. Microsoft hasn’t exactly been on fire lately: The service’s latest big addition is Redfall, a co-op shooter that is, sorry to say, bad.
I’m sure a determined party of Discord friends can squeeze some entertainment out of Arkane’s co-op shooter, and there’s some inherent fun in seeing what all the fuss is about, good or bad. But I’ll pose an alternative: Instead of playing a bad game just because it’s there, you could be playing a cool game like Deceive Inc, which is $16 on Steam. Along with that game, Age of Wonders 4, Stranded: Alien Dawn, The Mageseeker: A League of Legends Story, and Wartales are our top-reviewed games of the past few weeks, and none are on Game Pass.
Starfield isn’t out until September, so if you were planning to play it on Game Pass, you could skip May, June, July, and August, and be $40 richer when you resubscribe for Todd Howard’s space adventure. That’s $40 you could use to buy a cool new Sherlock Holmes game.
Alternatively, you could put that money toward purchasing Starfield itself rather than setting yourself up for a future dilemma when you realize that you’ve spent more money to play it on Game Pass than you would’ve by buying it. Starfield could be a dud, but if it’s anything like Skyrim, people will be playing and modding it for the next decade and onward, and don’t expect Game Pass to stay $10 a month forever.
I’d bet that more than a few Game Pass subscribers are already facing this problem: One of the most popular PC games on Game Pass is Stardew Valley, and I worry that there are people out there paying $10 a month to put 2,000 hours into a $15 game and never actually getting around to trying the rest of the library. Don’t do it, sweet farmers!
Whenever he’s asked about subscriptions during investor calls, Take-Two CEO Strauss Zelnick always says roughly the same thing: that games aren’t consumed like movies and TV shows, and so he doesn’t see things like Game Pass replacing direct sales as the primary way people get their games. He could be wrong in the long term, but it rings true for now. PC Game Pass is great if you like to play lots of different games, and not so great if you wind up using it to put 400 hours into Vampire Survivors, a game that costs $5 to own outright. It’s also unfortunately still harder to mod a lot of Game Pass games than the versions on Steam, so the more invested in a particular game you are, the worse the deal gets.
If you’re in the dabble-in-everything camp, more power to ya. I have a friend who plays almost every new game released by a major publisher to bank the experience in his comprehensive mental database of videogame facts, and he might’ve already used Game Pass to play Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty and Atomic Heart this year, so he’s definitely getting his money’s worth.
I think a lot of people specialize, though. We play a few games a lot, and only branch out occasionally. For us, subscriptions are best used strategically. Had Redfall been a blast, it could’ve justified holding onto Game Pass for a couple months to fill up on it, but it ain’t so.
“Cancel subscriptions you aren’t using” is some of the most obvious financial advice there is, but for some reason I always have to talk myself into it like I’m Sir Gawain preparing to trek to the Green Knight for my execution. So here’s a nudge if you need it. And on that note, I’d better go kill that Crunchyroll sub. I just hope I don’t get distracted on the way to the cancel button, which will only happen if I see a cool sword, robot, or teenagers who’ve magically been transported to another world. But what are the odds of that?
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