Netflix, but for video games: subscriptions to get you through the pandemic
VANCOUVER -- If you're looking for more ways to keep busy at home, you could try video games. You don't have to be a serious gamer to get in on the action; even without a console, you can play fun games from your computer or phone and try out different subscriptions.
Like most of us, Molly Davis has been stuck at home since early March because of the pandemic. After she logs off from working at home, she logs on to video games to help pass the time.
“My console of choice is definitely Nintendo Switch," she says. "You can lose yourself in a game. It’s really helpful when you have so much down time.”
And she's not alone. Many people are meeting up with friends on games like Animal Crossing, where you can interact with other users.
Even if you don't have a Nintendo Switch, a new crop of video game subscription services from big tech names like Apple, Google and Microsoft can be played on a device you already own.
"It's similar to Netflix," says Consumer Reports tech editor Nicholas de Leon. "You pay $5 to $10 a month, and in exchange for that you get access to a library of hundreds of video games. You can either download these games or stream these games and play them on whatever device you have available."
If you have an Apple computer, iPhone or AppleTV, you can check our Apple Arcade for $5.99 a month. Microsoft's Xbox Game Pass is another option if you want to play big name games, like Halo, on your PC. That's $11.99 a month. Then there's Google Stadia, which is also $11.99. You can play on a smartphone or tablet, or a big-screen TV if you have a Chromecast Ultra streaming device with a controller.
If you do want to stream video games, you'll need to have a strong enough internet connection, de Leon says.
“If you want the best experience using your router, you should probably try to have a clear line of sight. So, let’s say you’re trying to play something on your TV in the living room - it would help to have your router in the living room,” he says.
Whichever service you try out, many of the games can be played in multiplayer mode, something Molly Davis highly values, especially during these unprecedented times.
"It's really great to me to be able to play multiplayer online with friends," she says. "Being able to chat online while we play – it feels like they're in the room with you."
With files from Consumer Reports