The 6 Best Gaming Subscription Boxes of 2020

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Video Game subscription boxes

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The Rundown

Gaming subscription boxes, also known as loot crates or loot boxes, make excellent gifts for gamers. Whether you’re a gamer yourself, or you’re getting a subscription for someone else, it’s important to know exactly what you’re signing up for. We’ve compared the best gaming loot boxes based on the value and quality of perks members receive to help you decide which ones are worth your money.

Best Overall Gaming Subscription Box: Loot Gaming

Loot Gaming

Loot Gaming

Loot Gaming is one of the many boxes offered by Loot Crate, a subscription service that specializes in “geek and gaming related merchandise.” The Loot Gaming crate comes with $60 worth of official licensed apparel and collectibles from mainstream franchises every month. Contents typically include 4-6 items geared towards fans of classic and modern game franchises for PlayStation, Xbox, and PC like Fallout, Dark Souls, and Wolfenstein. In other words, it’s a mix of everything except for Nintendo properties.

Boxes can contain t-shirts, mugs, plush toys, figurines, and more. Crates never include any actual games, so if you’re buying for someone else, you don’t have to worry about which system they own. The only personalized information you need to provide is a shirt size. Subscription plans start at $28.95 per month, but you get a small discount if you commit to a six-month or annual plan. The variety and quality of the contents make Loot Gaming the best overall subscription box for fans of gamer culture.

Best Nintendo Subscription Box: Mario’s Mystery Block

Mario’s Mystery Block

Mario’s Mystery Block

Nintendo is known for family-friendly content, which is why Mario’s Mystery Block is perfect for gamers of all ages. Although the company is not officially associated with Nintendo, all of the items come from popular Nintendo franchises such as Super Mario, Zelda, and Pokémon. Every box contains a T-shirt, so you’ll be asked to provide a shirt size. Other possible contents include officially licensed Nintendo plush toys, figurines, hats, and candy. Although it’s aimed at kids, many adults who grew up on Nintendo games would proudly show-off such swag.

Pricing starts at $24.99 per month, and each box contains 3-6 Nintendo-themed goods worth about $35. While the savings aren’t exceptional, the quality of the contents is very high. No games or consoles are included, but each box focuses on a specific franchise, such as the “Zelda Age of Mystery Block.” If you just want a crate that features a specific character, you can purchase past crates individually from the website.

Best Retro Gaming Subscription Box: Video Games Monthly

Video Games Monthly

Video Games Monthly

Video Games Monthly is perfect for gamers who don’t have the latest and greatest consoles. Every month, subscribers get games for classic systems from as far back as the 1970s. This includes games for the original Atari 2600, Intellivision, NES, Sega Genesis, Gameboy, Gameboy Advance, Dreamcast, and Gamecube. There are also games for modern consoles like the PS3 and Xbox 360. When you sign up, you tell them which systems and games you already have in your library. That way, they can send you new games for the platforms you own.

What really makes this service stand out is its flexibility. There are multiple plans, starting at $34.99 for three games and up to $79.99 for 10 games. Games ship reliably on the 10th of each month, and you’re guaranteed to never get duplicates. Since old games can vary widely in value, it’s hard to tell the exact discount you’re getting compared to what the games would go for at a flea market. Still, for an average of $8-$12 per game, it’s a great bargain considering you don’t have to leave your house.

Best Gaming Subscription Box for Destiny Fans: Destiny Crate

Destiny Crate

Destiny Crate

The fanbase for Destiny remains one of the largest online gaming communities, so it’s no surprise that there are subscription boxes dedicated exclusively to the franchise. The best one has to be the Destiny Crate from Loot Crate. Members get 5-7 officially licensed collectibles from Destiny and Destiny 2 worth a total value of at least $80 every three months. Supplies are purportedly limited, so it’s best to sign up as early as possible.

Crates are typically centered around locations in the Destiny universe. For instance, the Earth crate comes with a Tower Hoodie, a European Dead Zone glass, and a Cosmodrome bag among other perks. At $49.99 plus shipping and handling, it’s a steal for Destiny fans.

No games or DLC are typically included, but one member receives a code for free in-game content each month. There’s no discount for committing to an annual subscription, but you’ll get an exclusive bonus item.

Best Gaming Gear and Apparel: Air Drop

Air Drop

Air Drop

Air Drop crates contain a mix of gaming-related accessories with practical uses. Most of the items come from franchises with wide appeals, such as Star Wars, Marvel, and The Witcher, so it’s a good fit for anyone who likes to be fashionable. Boxes ship on the 10th of each month and are centered around a theme. For example, the “Power Crate” includes a Thanos pillowcase, a Venom stress ball, and a God of War button. The “Exoplanet Crate” features space-themed apparel like a Darth Vader apron and a Destiny 3D keychain.

The company is transparent about the retail value of each item, which gives you an idea of the savings you get. Memberships start at $26.99 per month, and the boxes typically contain about $50-55 worth of stuff. The website has a store where you can buy individual accessories, and you can even purchase past crates. Members are automatically enrolled in monthly giveaways, so you could get an extra surprise in your box.

Best Gaming Subscription Box for Collectors: Retro Game Treasure

Retro Game Treasure

Retro Game Treasure

While similar to Video Games Monthly, Retro Game Treasure deserves a separate mention because it’s more targeted toward video game collectors. Boxes go out on the last week of each month and include 3-5 retro games for systems you already own, from consoles like the Atari 2600, Sega CD, and SNES to handheld systems like the Game Boy, Sony PSP, Nintendo DS, and Sega Game Gear. If you don’t own any retro systems, you can buy them from the website, so it’s perfect for new collectors just starting to grow their library.

Many retro video games gain value over time, so if you ever want to sell your collection, Retro Game Treasure is a worthwhile investment. Monthly plans start at $34.99, and annual plans are $29.99 per month. Games are tested, cleaned, and 100% authentic. You can tell them which systems and games you already own so that you don’t get duplicates, and you can even set preferences for the types of genres you like. The website has a “List of Shame” including notoriously bad games that they promise never to send out.

How We Chose the Best Gaming Subscription Boxes

We compared over 30 services by weighing the monthly fees against the quality and monetary value of what you get. We also looked at the degree of flexibility and customization each service offers. For instance, Video Games Monthly and Retro Game Treasure were chosen partially because they provide more personalization than most other services. 

In addition, we strived to include a variety of boxes that have the widest possible appeal. We looked at positive and negative customer reviews to get a sense of which crates are in the highest demand, which is why Loot Gaming made the top of the list. There are more niche gaming loot crates out there that may be more suitable to specific tastes.

What Are Gaming Subscription Boxes?

Gaming loot crates contain an assortment of goods such as apparel, toys, and sometimes even games. Everyone who subscribes usually gets the same set of items, although some services give customers control over the types of loot they receive. Boxes are usually delivered monthly or quarterly, and they often have a different theme.

What Kinds of Gaming Subscription Boxes Are There?

There are boxes geared toward specific types of gaming enthusiasts. For example, Mario’s Mystery Block probably won’t appeal to the same gamers as the Loot Gaming crate. If you’re getting someone a subscription box as a gift, it helps to know what types of games they like. It’s also important to note that many gaming subscription crates don’t include actual games.

How Much Do Gaming Subscription Boxes Cost?

Gaming loot crates typically start at about $25-$35 per month. Boxes that are delivered quarterly may cost more, but they typically include more items. Most services offer discounts or bonuses for committing to an annual subscription.