You were lucky enough to get your hands on a Nintendo Switch, a PlayStation 5, or an Xbox Series X / S. But before calling Christmas a wrap, you need to subscribe to Switch Online, PlayStation Plus, or Xbox Game Pass Ultimate. These plans are key to playing games with friends, and they come with cool perks like free games and discounts on new titles.
You can sign up for these services over the Internet, but I recommend purchasing a gift card instead. Not just because gift cards can be wrapped, but because you can redeem them at any time. If someone happens to get two of these Christmas gift cards or already has a subscription to one of these services, he or she can still keep the gift card you gave them and redeem it at a later date.
Nintendo Switch Online
The Nintendo Switch is a fantastic console with some of the best multiplayer games of all time. But if you want to play Mario Kart, Animal Crossing, Splatoon 2, or Fortnite with your friends, you need to join Nintendo Switch Online first.
Nintendo Switch Online is an affordable program that allows gamers to play online with friends and strangers. It also unlocks Nintendo’s collection of free NES and SNES games on the Switch, along with a few new titles such as Tetris 99 and Pokémon Quest.
Amazon sells Nintendo Switch Online memberships for individuals (1 profile) and families (8 profiles). I recommend purchasing the family membership for anyone sharing a console with siblings, roommates, or relatives. Family memberships are also the best option for households with multiple Nintendo Switch consoles.
Online multiplayer and free retro games
You cannot buy a PlayStation 5 without a PlayStation Plus subscription. I mean you can, but only PlayStation Plus members can participate in online multiplayer. Not to mention, PlayStation Plus members get two free games per month and the service unlocks 20 free games on the PS5, including Fallout 4, God of war, Call of Duty: Black Ops III, and Person 5.
That said, if you want to take it a step further, you can get a PlayStation Now subscription in addition to PlayStation Plus. The confusingly named PlayStation Now service opens the door to over 800 games via game streaming and downloads, and it’s the only way to play many PS2 and PS3 games on the PS5.
Online multiplayer and free monthly games
Xbox Game Pass Ultimate
The importance of Xbox Game Pass Ultimate is hard to overestimate. Yes, it lets you play with your friends online, but it also gives you free access to over 200 titles, including popular games such as Doom Eternal, Gears 5, The outer worlds, and Halo: The Master Chief Collection.
The Game Pass Ultimate library is always growing and you can access it whether you’re using an Xbox Series X, an Xbox One, a PC (for cross-platform titles), or even an Android phone. And if that wasn’t enough, Game Pass Ultimate now comes with a free month of Disney + and other fun perks.
Game Pass Ultimate is the best gift you can give to a gamer, after they unwrap their Xbox Series X / S, of course. Make sure to buy a subscription to Game Pass Ultimate. The basic version of this service does not give you access to online multiplayer unless the person you are shopping to already has an Xbox Live Gold subscription. That said, if you’re shopping for someone who doesn’t care about hundreds of free games and only wants online access, then you should buy Xbox Live Gold instead of Game Pass Ultimate.
Online access, over 200 free games and more