SAN ANTONIO – Like a lot of people, Molly Davis has been stuck at home for weeks. For a little entertainment, she logs on to video games.
“My console of choice is definitely Nintendo Switch,” she said. “You can really lose yourself in a game. It’s really helpful when you have so much down time.”
You don’t have to be a serious gamer to get in on the action. You don’t even need a console. A new crop of video game subscription services from names like Apple, Google and Microsoft can be played on a device you already own.
“It’s similar to Netflix where you pay $5 to $10 a month, and in exchange for that you get access to a library of hundreds of video games,” said Consumer Reports Tech Editor Nicholas De Leon. “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, an iPhone, or Apple TV, you can check out Apple Arcade for $5 a month. Microsoft’s Xbox Game Pass is another option if you want to play big-name games like Halo on your PC.
Then there’s Google Stadia. You can play it on a smartphone or tablet, or on 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 internet connection, making sure there is a clear line of sight that will give you the best experience while using your router.
“For example, if you’re trying to play something on your TV in the living room, it would also help to have your router there, too," De Leon said. Another option to boost your WiFi is a mesh network. The Eero Home WiFi is a CR Best Buy.
Whichever service you try, many of the games have multiplayer mode, which is something highly valued during these unprecedented times.
“Being able to chat online while we play, it feels like they’re in the room with you,” Davis said.
If you’re looking for a laptop optimized for gaming, CR testers say the Acer Nitro 5 can handle some of the most demanding video games.