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If you’re a parent of a young gamer, there’s a good chance you’ve heard of Minecraft. It’s one of the most popular games in the world, and kids love it for its open-ended gameplay and creative possibilities. A lot of people assume that Minecraft is free because it is available on mobile devices and is incredibly popular. 

Is Minecraft Free?

We want to be extra clear on this: There is no way to play the full version of Minecraft for free. Any website that tells you otherwise is doing so with ill intent. Beware of those websites and steer clear. 

There are a few limited ways to have Minecraft experiences at no cost, but none of them are really comparable to the full version of the game. 

Minecraft Classic

Minecraft Classic Screenshot

There is a version of Minecraft that is available on your browser called Minecraft Classic. The problem with this version is that it is a version of Minecraft from before the game was released. It’s a beta version of Minecraft with only 32 blocks, only the creative mode, and very old graphics. It doesn’t really make a good substitute for modern-day Minecraft. Its more of a novelty/nostalgia tool for veteran players.

Is there a Minecraft Demo?

Minecraft: Java Edition has a demo available on the Minecraft website for those who want to try it before they buy! It’s limited in two ways – it isn’t multiplayer and you can only spend so much time playing it. However, if this sounds like your thing then head over straightaway because downloads are available! There are demos for the Java edition, and the Bedrock version for Windows 10, Android, and PlayStation 4. 

What about the Minecraft Education Edition?

The Educational version is available on both mobile and ChromeOS, but you cannot play Minecraft without signing in with a Minecraft Education account from school or somewhere else.

The main benefit of Minecraft Education Edition is that it is set up for teachers and students to use collaboratively in the classroom. It is automatically set up for a server of 30 people to play together in a learning environment without any external server set up. 

There are also a handful of blocks and entities for teachers to use to make it a better learning environment. Two examples are:

  • A chalkboard with text boxes to help give instructions and learning goals
  • NPC’s to help guide students through collaborative work. 

Another interesting feature of the education edition is the chemistry tools. There is a wide selection of tools and items to help teach chemistry, from learning about the formation of atoms, to what happens when certain elements combine.

The Education edition also has a group of adventure maps, similar to those featured on the Minecraft Bedrock editions marketplace, focused on education and teaching. It also features a coding course, where students can write code and implement it into the game, this is very useful for tech education teachers teaching younger students.

Where can you get a Minecraft Educational Account?

Educational accounts are available through your child’s school, or for parents looking to homeschool their children if they sign up correctly.

How Much Does Minecraft Cost?

Of course, Minecraft isn’t free, it’s one of the best-selling games of all time. But, Microsoft does a great job of making it accessible to everyone. The game is fairly inexpensive on all platforms, ranging from $5-$10 on mobile devices, and around $25 dollars on consoles and PC.

Is Minecraft on Xbox Game Pass

Minecraft is available on Xbox Game Pass for those with an Xbox or a Windows computer.

  • Xbox – Bedrock Edition
  • Windows Computer – Bedrock Edition AND Java Edition

So, there you have it. Minecraft is not free, but there are ways to get limited access to some of the features in the game. We hope you found this post helpful and that you’ll join our Facebook group for more answers to gaming questions. Thanks for reading!

What do you think? Sound off in the comments and let us know your thoughts!

Make sure to keep your eyes on Engaged Family Gaming for all of the latest news and reviews you need to Get Your Family Game On!

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Every week the EFG staff will be defining a gaming term that is either confusing or ill-defined. Please leave a comment with any terms you find confusing and we will try to include them in future editions!

The gaming definition this week is a series of terms that is applicable to video games: Raid

Pokémon Go

A Raid is a high-level challenge requiring cooperative play amongst several players, usually 10 or more. Often end-game content involves a combination of mechanics, puzzles, and/or a super boss or multiple bosses. Rewards for raids are typically higher than smaller instances such as dungeons. Some raids may also include PVP (player vs player) content.

Raids such as in Final Fantasy or World of Warcraft can be played with a premade group of players or a PUG (pick-up group). Each game has a method for group search.  Raids in MMORPG (many multiplayer online role-playing games) may require multiple tanks (character who draws the damage and can take the damage to protect other characters), healers and dps (damage dealers) in order to complete the challenge.

A quest line may be attached to raids as well, which may involve a specific action to be completed inside the raid not necessary to defeat the raid itself. World of Warcraft for example has an item drop when you defeat one of several bosses.

Examples of Games with Raids

  • World of Warcraft
  • Final Fantasy
  • Dungeons and Dragons Online (requiring 12 players)
  • Pokémon GO.

Raids are the pinnacle of cooperative play. They offer a high-level challenge that to be tackled by 10 or more players. They often include end-game content with a combination of mechanics, puzzles, and/or super bosses or multiple bosses. The rewards for completing a raid are typically higher than smaller instances such as dungeons, making them an attractive option for many players.

Let us know in the comments what your experience was like!


Make sure to keep your eyes on Engaged Family Gaming for all of the latest news and reviews you need to Get Your Family Game On!

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  1. Introduction
  1. Welcome to The Engaged Family Gaming Podcast. This is a show all about the great video games and board games you should play with your family. Each episode we’ll cover the biggest news in the gaming space that parents should know about!
  1. Games of the Week
    1. Splatoon 3
    2. Silver and Gold
    3. Temtem and Ooblets get 1.0 releases
  2. The Big News!
    1. Xbox Game Pass Friends and Family Plan
      1. https://www.xbox.com/en-US/games/store/xbox-game-pass-ultimate/CFQ7TTC0HXBN
      2. https://www.theverge.com/2022/9/1/23333605/microsoft-xbox-game-pass-friends-family-pricing-confirmed
  1. Relevant Releases
    1. Video Game release calendar
      1. Ooblets (Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One, Switch, PC) – September 1
      2. LEGO Brawls (PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch, PC) – September 2
      3. Biomutant (PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S) – September 6
      4. Temtem (PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, Switch, PC) – September 6
      5. Splatoon 3 (Switch) September 9
    2. Board Game Releases/Kickstarter
      1. The Great American Mail Race
        1. https://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/364679/usps-great-american-mail-race
      2. Teeter Tower – Gamewright
        1. https://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/358051/teeter-tower
      3. Akropolis
        1. https://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/357563/akropolis
      4. Star Wars Villainous
        1. https://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/358800/star-wars-villainous-power-dark-side
      5. My Little Pony: Adventures in Equestria
        1. https://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/358558/my-little-pony-adventures-equestria-deck-building
  1. BREAK
  2. Do You Feel Old Yet?
    1. 09/13/1985 – Nintendo released Super Mario Bros. for the Nintendo Entertainment System. (This is technically an unconfirmed date. But still….)
    2. The following movies turn 25 in 2022
      1. Titanic, Disney’s Hercules, Men in Black
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If you’re like me, you’re always on the lookout for new video games to play with your family. This September is a great month for family-friendly releases, and here’s a calendar of what’s coming out!

Stay busy this fall with these excellent family-friendly video game choices!

Ooblets 

  • Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One, Switch, PC
  • September 1

Ooblets has been in early access for a while, but is finally celebrating its 1.0 release on September 1st. The titular ooblets are little creatures that you can collect, train, and dance with. The game is set in the town of Badgeton where you’ll explore, make new ooblet friends, and upgrade your house. There are tons of different ooblets to collect, each with their own unique personalities.

LEGO Brawls 

  • PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch, PC
  • September 2

LEGO Brawls is a new game coming out on September 2 for PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch, and PC. In LEGO Brawls, you’ll build your own LEGO minifigure and go head-to-head with other players in multiplayer battles. There are a variety of modes to choose from, including Capture the Brick, King of the Hill, and Super Smash Bros.-inspired arenas. You can also customize your LEGO figure with different hats, weapons, and accessories. WithLEGO Brawls, you can play with up to four players locally or online. So round up your friends and get ready for some brick-smashing action!

Biomutant 

  • PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S
  • September 6

Biomutant is an open-world action RPG set in a post-apocalyptic world inhabited by anthropomorphic animals. The game was first announced in 2017, and was originally scheduled for release in 2018. However, it was delayed several times before finally releasing on September 6, 2020. Biomutant is available on PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, and PC. The game received mixed reviews upon release, with some praising its unique world and combat system, while others criticized its technical issues and lack of polish. Despite its mixed reception, Biomutant has sold well, and is one of the bestselling games of the year so far.

Temtem

  • PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, Switch, PC
  • September 6

It’s official – Temtem is coming to consoles and PC! The long-awaited creature-collection RPG will be released on September 6th for PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, Switch, and PC. From the developers at Crema, Temtem is a massively multiplayer adventure that lets you capture, train, and battle your way to becoming the ultimate Temtem tamer. With dozens of Temtem to collect, a vibrant world to explore, and intense battles to be had, Temtem is shaping up to be an awesome creature-collection game.

NBA 2K23

  • PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch, PC
  • September 9

It’s finally here! NBA 2k23 is set to release on September 9th and fans everywhere are eagerly anticipating its arrival. This year’s edition promises to be the most realistic and immersive basketball experience yet, with cutting-edge graphics and gameplay that will put you right in the middle of the action. Whether you’re a diehard fan or just looking for a fun and competitive multiplayer game, NBA 2k23 is sure to deliver. So mark your calendar and get ready for some serious hoops action!

Splatoon 3 

  • Switch
  • September 9

The Nintendo Switch is getting a brand new Splatoon game! Splatoon 3 is coming to the Nintendo Switch on Sept 9th and it looks like the ink-splatting action is only getting bigger and better. The third installment in the popular shooter series will feature new weapons, maps, and modes, as well as an all-new single-player campaign. The highlights include an ink bow and arrow and a windshield wiper “splatana blade.” We cannot WAIT to get our hands on this one.

Bear and Breakfast

  • Switch
  • September 15

Bear and Breakfast is a Nintendo Switch game that simulates the life of a bear running a bed and breakfast. You step into the bear’s shoes, find a plot of land, gather resources like wood and stone, and improve the building. Guests will visit the lodge and request various services, such as fishing or hiking. Providing high-quality service to your customers will net you money that you can use to improve the inn. This is such a wholesome-looking game and I can’t wait to play it!

Return to Monkey Island

  • Switch, PC
  • September 17

It’s been a long time since we’ve seen a new Monkey Island game, but it looks like the wait is finally over. Return to Monkey Island is coming to the Nintendo Switch on September 17, and we couldn’t be more excited. The last Monkey Island game was released way back in 2010, so it’s been quite a while since we’ve had a chance to explore the wacky world of piracy created by Ron Gilbert and Tim Schafer. From what we’ve seen so far, it looks like Return to Monkey Island will be everything we loved about the original games, with updated visuals and gameplay that are perfect for the Switch. We can’t wait to jump back into this classic adventure game and see what new adventures await us on Monkey Island.

Grounded

  • Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One, PC
  • September 27

Grounded is finally getting its 1.0 release after spending what felt like an eternity in the Xbox Game Preview program. This is a survival game where players are kids who have been shrunk down smaller than ants who have to survive in the wilds of their own backyard. Picture Honey, I Shrunk The Kids, but in video game form.

Hokko Life

  • PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch, PC
  • September 27

Hokko Life looks a LOT like an Animal Crossing: New Horizons clone. That isn’t a HUGE stretch. They share a lot of the same bones, but there are some pretty significant differences. This is a good thing though! We love that Animal Crossing has inspired other entries in the life sim genre and this one has the advantage of being available on multiple platforms!

The Legend of Heroes: Trails from Zero

  • PlayStation 4, Switch, PC
  • September 27

The Legend of Heroes: Trails from Zero was originally released back in 2011 for the PSVITA. It is now being updated and re-released on PS4, PC, and Nintendo Switch. This is a long-requested re-release from a long-running sci-fi/fantasy JRPG series. I would recommend that you look at more recent entries in the series if you want to play them, but if you have played a lot of the “Trails” RPGs then this is a great game to pick up. I would recommend against the PS4 version however as it is really just a rerelease of the PSVITA version with no updates or improvements as opposed to the Switch and PC versions.

Tunic

  • PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4
  • September 27  

If you’re looking for an adventure game that will take you back to the days of classic action-adventure titles like The Legend of Zelda, then you’ll want to check out Tunic. This charming little game puts you in the role of a cute fox who finds themselves stranded in a strange land. Armed with nothing but your wits and a few trusty weapons, you’ll set out to explore the massive world of Tunic, uncovering its many secrets along the way. While Tunic may not be as ambitious as some of the other games on this list, it more than makes up for it with its tight gameplay and gorgeous visuals. Plus, it’s just a lot of fun. If you’re looking for an adventure game to play on your PlayStation 5 or PlayStation 4, Tunic should definitely be at the top of your list.

Dorfromantik

  • Switch
  • September 29

Dorfromantik is a unique puzzle game that will be released for the Nintendo Switch on September 29th. The game features a unique gameplay mechanic where players must match tiles of the same type in order to rotate them and change the landscape. The game also features a beautiful art style and calming music, making it perfect for players who want to relax and de-stress. While the game may initially seem easy, it quickly becomes challenging and addictive. Whether you’re looking for a new way to unwind or simply want to test your problem-solving skills, Dorfromantik is definitely worth checking out.


What do you think? are you picking any of these up?

Make sure to keep your eyes on Engaged Family Gaming for all of the latest news and reviews you need to Get Your Family Game On!

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Nintendo Switch games are all the rage right now! If you’re a parent, you probably want to know what the best-selling games are. Well, look no further! We’ve put together a list of the top 10 best-selling Nintendo Switch games. Here are the 10 best-selling Nintendo Switch games so far. Who knows, maybe your favorite game is on this list!

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe: 46.82 million 

Link Legend of Zelda Mario Kart 8
Link riding a Zelda Themed motorcycle? I’m in!

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe is one of the best-selling video games of all time, with over 46 million copies sold worldwide. That’s an impressive number, but it’s even more impressive when you consider that the game was only released in 2017. In just a few short years, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe has become one of the most popular games ever made. And it’s easy to see why. The game is a blast to play, with a huge variety of tracks and characters to choose from. Plus, the addition of the Battle Mode makes it an even more addictive experience. Whether you’re a casual player or a hardcore fan, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe is definitely worth your time.

Animal Crossing: New Horizons: 39.38 million

Crossing: New Horizons has been a runaway success, selling over 39 million copies since its release in March 2020. The game has been praised for its easy-to-pick-up gameplay, charming visuals, and relaxing atmosphere. Players take on the role of a person who moves to a deserted island and begins to build a new life. They can catch fish, collect shells, grow fruit, and interact with a cast of colorful characters. New Horizons has proven to be a welcome respite from the stresses of real life, and it’s no wonder that it’s become one of the best-selling games on the Switch. Thanks, Animal Crossing!

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate: 28.82 million

super Smash Bros Ultimate
super Smash Bros Ultimate

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is a fighting game developed by Bandai Namco and published by Nintendo for the Nintendo Switch. It was released on December 7, 2018. The game is the fifth installment in the Super Smash Bros. series, and it features characters from various Nintendo franchises, including Mario, Kirby, Donkey Kong, Link, Samus Aran, Fox McCloud, Pikachu, and Yoshi. In addition to the returning characters, the game also introduces several new characters, including Inkling from Splatoon and Ridley from Metroid. Ultimate was a commercial success, selling over 28 million copies worldwide. There is still some divide among fans as to where it ranks among other games in the Smash series, but it is a great game to add to your Switch collection if you don’t have it yet!

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild: 27.14 million

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is one of the most popular video games of all time, and it’s no wonder why. With its gorgeous open-world setting, thrilling combat, and deep lore, there’s something for everyone to enjoy. And now, with its recent sales figures, it’s clear that more people than ever are experiencing the joys of Hyrule. According to Nintendo, Breath of the Wild has sold over 27 million copies worldwide, making it the best-selling Zelda game of all time. It’s also one of the best-selling games on the Nintendo Switch, which is itself a record-breaking console. In other words, if you’re looking for an adventure that will keep you entertained for hours on end, Breath of the Wild is definitely worth checking out.

Pokemon Sword/Pokemon Shield: 24.50 million

It’s official: Pokemon Sword and Shield are the two best-selling games in the series, with a combined 24.50 million copies sold worldwide. This is a truly impressive feat, and it’s thanks in no small part to the amazing team at Game Freak. With their hard work and dedication, they have created a Pokemon game that is truly unique and impressive. It’s no wonder that so many people have fallen in love with it!

Super Mario Odyssey: 23.93 million

Super Mario Odyssey is now the best-selling Super Mario game of all time! With over 23.93 million copies sold worldwide, it has officially surpassed the previous record holder, Super Mario World. And it’s no wonder – with its gorgeous graphics, innovative gameplay, and memorable characters, Odyssey is a true masterpiece. Not to mention, it’s just a whole lot of fun to play! We can’t wait to see what Mario’s next adventure will be – but whatever it is, we’re sure it will be another runaway success. Congratulations, Mario! You truly are the king of the Mushroom Kingdom!

Super Mario Party: 18.06 million

Super Mario Party has been a big hit with gamers of all ages, selling 18.06 million copies since it was released on the Nintendo Switch in 2018. The game features a variety of mini-games that can be played with up to four players, making it a great party game. There is also a single-player mode for those who want to play the game solo. The game has been praised for its colorful graphics and easy-to-learn gameplay. Whether you’re playing with friends or family, Super Mario Party is sure to provide hours of fun.

Pokemon Brilliant Diamond/Pokemon Shining Pearl: 14.79 million

Fans had to wait 2 years after the release of Sword and Shield for another Pokemon Game. The wait is finally over with the release of Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl, which takes place in the Sinnoh region first seen in 2007’s Pokemon Diamond and Pearl. While some may be concerned that the game is simply a rehash of old content, Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl offers a unique experience that should not be missed by any fan of the series. The game has already sold 14.79 million copies worldwide, proving that there is still a strong demand for traditional Pokemon games. New features like online co-op, Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl are sure to please both longtime fans and newcomers alike.

Pokemon: Let’s Go, Pikachu!/Pokemon: Let’s Go, Eevee!: 14.66 million

The release of Pokémon: Let’s Go, Pikachu!/Pokémon: Let’s Go, Eevee! on the Nintendo Switch was a momentous occasion for fans of the franchise. Not only did it mark the first time that Pokémon had been playable on a home console, but it also brought the series into the modern age with updated graphics and gameplay. The response from fans was overwhelmingly positive, and the games went on to sell 14.66 million copies worldwide. While some purists may have been put off by the changes, there is no denying that Pokémon: Let’s Go, Pikachu!/Pokémon: Let’s Go, Eevee! was a huge success and helped to bring the franchise to a new generation of players

Ring Fit Adventure: 14.54 million

Ring-Fit-Adventure logo
Ring Fit Adventure logo


Who would have thought that Nintendo would hit ANOTHER home run with a game designed to get people fit would be such a runaway success? Certainly not the naysayers who balked at the high price tag and dismissively called it a “gimmick.” But Ring Fit Adventure has proven them wrong in a big way, selling over 14 million copies worldwide. And it’s easy to see why: with its unique blend of physical activity and RPG-style gameplay, Ring Fit Adventure is simply one of the most fun and engaging workout experiences available. Whether you’re playing by yourself or with friends, there’s no denying that Ring Fit Adventure is a workout worth taking. So dust off your Switch and get ready to break a sweat!


The Nintendo Switch has been a massive success, and the games are flying off the shelves. If you’re looking for some ideas of what to buy your loved ones this holiday season, look no further than our list of the 10 best-selling Nintendo Switch games so far. With such a variety of genres represented, there’s something for everyone on this list! So go ahead and add one (or more!) of these games to your shopping cart – we promise you won’t be disappointed. And don’t forget to let us know in the comments which game is your favorite!

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Every week the EFG staff will be defining a gaming term that is either confusing or ill-defined. Please leave a comment with any terms you find confusing and we will try to include them in future editions!


The gaming definition this week is a term that is applicable to video games: Emote

Emote is a collection of icons or animations used in multiplayer games to communicate. Emotes were originally used to display a player’s current emotional state on their character. They have since expanded to include:

Hearthstone
  • Communicating basic game information (winning, losing, special attack available)
  • Basic strategy (Hide, Attack, [Pointing to go in a particular direction])
  • Celebration
  • Humor

Emotes are a simple and effective way to communicate in a situation where written and spoken language is limited, either from a diverse player base not sharing a common language or from a fast-paced game where a simple set of symbols or animations can communicate entire sentences of text.

Astroneer

Finally, Emotes are a tool often used in games to limit communication in a standardized way that avoids vulgarity and abuse, and in a way that does not require direct communication from player to player.

What started as a simple method for communicating in multiplayer games, has become a rich language of its own. Emotes now provide character and charm to the game as well as communicate.

Examples:

  • Well played Icon in Hearthstone
  • My Ultimate is Ready voice line in Overwatch
  • Dances in Fortnite
  • Praise the Sun (Dark Souls)
  • Astroneer (dances for fun or to interact with playing two player)

What do you think? Sound off in the comments and let us know your thoughts!

You can also look at our other video game definitions from previous weeks here!

What do you think? Sound off in the comments and let us know your thoughts!

Make sure to keep your eyes on Engaged Family Gaming for all of the latest news and reviews you need to Get

Your Family Game On!

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PlayStation Now has been retired. The benefits (most of them listed below) have been rolled into the newly updated PlayStation Plus service. Head over to our guide if you want to see what PlayStation is offering as part of its premium subscription service.

We’ll leave the content up for archival purposes though so people can see what PlayStation Now WAS.


It seems like everyone is starting their own premium gaming service these days. It can be tough for parents to be able to tell the difference between Xbox Live, PlayStation Plus, and all the others. We can’t let that stand here at EFG so we wrote up a big ol’ guide for all of the premium services so our readers can tell them all apart and understand the costs and benefits of each one.

Take a look below for our guide to PlayStation Now!

The Pitch

PlayStation Now (PSNow) is a Netflix-esque streaming service for PlayStation 4 and PC. Subscribers have unlimited access to stream a collection of PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4 games over the internet on their PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, or PC.

How Does it Work?

Subscribers have access to the massive catalog of games for as long as their membership lasts. The majority of the games are streamed online like the shows we watch on Netflix or Disney +. There is a selection of around 300 games available for download through the service.

How Much Does it Cost?

PlayStation Now (PSNow) can be purchased in 12-month, 3-month, or 1-month increments.

12 Month Subscription – $99.99

3 Month Subscription – $44.99

1 Month Subscription – $19.99

Advice

Some of the value of PlayStation Now (PSNow) is dependent upon the strength of your internet connection. The games are streamed over the internet so they will run poorly if you can’t get a good enough connection. Sony customer support recommends that your internet service has a download speed of at least 5mbps (megabytes per second) to use the service. Tests performed by other sites like ArsTechnica have shown that it takes closer to 9 mbps to really take advantage of it.

There is a collection of games you can download. You can even play them in up to 4k resolution if you play it on your PS5 or PC.

Troubleshooting

Sony technical support has provided a few tips for folks who have the recommended download speed and are still experiencing issues with the service:

Use a Wired Connection

Many homes have their consoles hooked up to the internet via a wireless connection (wifi). This does hamper the quality of the connection between your PS4 and the modem. One way to correct this is by using an ethernet cable to connect your PS4 to the modem directly. This may not be possible for everyone, but it is at least worth mentioning.

Reduce the Number of Applications Using the Network

Your home network only has so much data that it can download from the internet at once. Applications that are sharing that download speed and can hinder each other’s performance. Its like traffic coming into your house. We’d get everywhere faster if we were the only car on the road.

Some applications you might consider shutting down are:

  • Streaming video applications (Netflix, Hulu, YouTube)
  • Cloud backup or sync applications (Dropbox, Google Drive, iCloud)
  • Content downloads (BitTorrent, software, games, movies, or music)
  • Video/audio communication apps (FaceTime, Skype)

Try Off-Peak Hours

Your download speed can also be hurt if you try to use a shared (or public) connection during the busiest hours of the day. Try using the service during off-peak hours like evenings and weekends so there may be fewer people using the service.

Other Guides

There are a ton of other premium video game services out there so we wrote guides for all of them.  Take a look below:

A Parent’s Guide to EA Access

A Parent’s Guide to Xbox Live Gold

A Parent’s Guide to Xbox Game Pass

A Parent’s Guide to PlayStation Plus

A Parent’s Guide to EA Origin’s Access


Make sure to keep your eyes on Engaged Family Gaming for all of the latest news and reviews you need to Get Your Family Game On!

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Updated 08/14/2022

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Sony has released an upgrade to the PlayStation Plus program. The new version of the program offers a number of features and benefits that are sure to appeal to parents and gamers alike. In this article, we will discuss all the details of the new PlayStation Plus program so that you can decide if it is right for your family. We will cover topics such as price, content, and how the program works. So whether you are already a PlayStation Plus member or are just considering signing up, read on for all the information you need!

PS+ has been around since 2010. During that time it has delivered a ton of free games and discounts to subscribers.

The program has always been optional, but it was a requirement for anyone who wants to play online multiplayer games on their PlayStation console. The vast majority of PS+ members are happy with the service and don’t mind paying $60/year for it, but there are some that feel like they’re being forced into it. Forced or not… PS+ is a key part of the PlayStation ecosystem so you need to know how it works in order to make the most out of your console.

  • Classics Catalog
  • Game Trials
  • Cloud Streaming

PlayStation Plus is divided into three tiers: Essential, Extra, and Premium.

PlayStation Plus EssentialPlayStation Plus ExtraPlayStation Plus Premium
Monthly Games Monthly Games Monthly Games
Online Multiplayer Online Multiplayer Online Multiplayer
Exclusive Discounts Exclusive Discounts Exclusive Discounts
Exclusive Content Exclusive Content Exclusive Content
Cloud Storage Cloud Storage Cloud Storage
Share Play Share Play Share Play
PlayStation Plus Collection PlayStation Plus Collection PlayStation Plus Collection
Game Help Game Help Game Help
Game Catalog Game Catalog
Ubisoft Classics Ubisoft Classics
Classics Catalog
Game Trials
Cloud Streaming
This chart shows a quick view of the benefits of each tier.

PlayStation Plus Essential

“Enjoy all the core PlayStation Plus benefits: join your friends in online multiplayer, add new games to your collection every month, get incredible deals from PlayStation Store, and more.”

  • Monthly Games
  • Online Multiplayer
  • Exclusive Discounts

PlayStation Plus Essential also includes:

  • The PlayStation Plus Collection*
  • Share Play
  • Game Help*
  • Cloud Storage
  • Exclusive Content

PlayStation Plus Extra

“Get all the great benefits included in the PlayStation Plus Essential plan, as well as access to the Game Catalog, featuring hundreds of games from genre-defining blockbusters to innovative indies, with new titles added regularly.”

  • Game Catalog
  • Ubisoft+ Classics

PlayStation Plus Extra also includes:

  • Monthly Games
  • Online Multiplayer
  • Exclusive Discounts
  • The PlayStation Plus Collection*
  • Share Play
  • Game Help*
  • Cloud Storage
  • Exclusive Content

PlayStation Plus Premium

“Enjoy all the core PlayStation Plus benefits, hundreds of games in the Game Catalog, as well as exclusive benefits like game trials, cloud streaming, and the Classics Catalog.”

PlayStation Plus Premium also includes:

  • Game Catalog
  • Ubisoft+ Classics
  • Monthly Games
  • Online Multiplayer
  • Exclusive Discounts
  • The PlayStation Plus Collection*
  • Share Play
  • Game Help*
  • Cloud Storage
  • Exclusive Content

How Much Does PlayStation Plus Cost?

1 Month3 Month12 Month
PlayStation Plus Essential$9.99$24.99$59.99
PlayStation Plus Extra$14.99$39.99$99.99
PlayStation Plus Premium$17.99$49.99$119.99
This table shows the subscription price for each tier of PlayStation Plus.

Advice

If you own a PlayStation 5 and want to play games online (with a few exceptions like Fortnite), then you’ll need to buy one of the plans to do so.

At that point, it is just a matter of choosing which of the three plans you want to buy into. The Essential plan works just like the PSPlus did at launch. It grants access to online play, discounts, two free games a month (determined by Sony), the PlayStation Plus Collection, and a few other minor benefits.

The Extra plan is an extra $5 a month (or $40/year). That extra cost gives you everything from the Essential package but includes access to a catalog of PS4 and PS5 games at no extra charge.

The Plus Premium plan is only a few dollars more a month and adds access to the classics catalog. This is a collection of older PlayStation titles like Dark Cloud and Ape Escape. This is a great move if you have nostalgia for these older PlayStation titles, but have gotten rid of your older PlayStation consoles.

Other Guides

There are a ton of other premium video game services out there so we wrote guides for all of them.  Take a look below:

A Parent’s Guide to Xbox Live Gold

A Parent’s Guide to Xbox Game Pass

A Parent’s Guide to PlayStation Now


The new PlayStation Plus program is definitely worth a look if you are in the market for a gaming subscription service. With its low price and wealth of content, there is something for everyone in this program. Not to mention, the added features make it an even more appealing option for families. Be sure to check out all the details on Sony’s website so that you can decide if PlayStation Plus is right for you! And don’t forget to let us know what you think about the new program in the comments below.

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Update – 08/14/2022

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It’s no secret that video games are extremely popular among kids and teenagers. In fact, gaming is one of the most popular pastimes for young people all over the world. If you’re a parent, you may be wondering how you can get your kids into video games.

Here are a few tips:

Set up a gaming area in your home.

A lot of parents ask us to recommend good locations in the house for gaming areas. It’s a good question because everyone’s house is different. Our recommendation is that you have game consoles set up in one of the main areas of the house where it will be convenient and comfortable for you, as parents, to be with your kids while they are playing. This will give your kids their own space to play games while still making it easy for you to monitor their activity. My only specific recommendation is to make sure the area is well-lit and comfortable so they can enjoy their gaming experience. If it isn’t comfortable, then they might not use it.

Buy them age-appropriate games.

There are literally thousands of video games on the market, so it’s important to choose ones that are appropriate for your child’s age and interests. If you’re not sure what to buy, then that’s ok. We have plenty of recommendations for all consoles in our EFG Essentials recommendations. These lists of games include recommendations across a variety of genres and themes. You can check out our essential family game recommendations for the Nintendo Switch, PlayStation, or Xbox at these links.

Encourage them to game with friends.

One of the best things about video games is that they can be enjoyed with friends. If your child is interested in gaming, encourage them to game with their friends. Not only is it a great way for them to stay social, but studies have shown that playing video games with friends can improve teamwork skills and communication skills.

Play Games with Your Kids!

One of the best ways to get your kids into gaming is to get involved yourself. Play video games with your kids and let them show you how it’s done. Not only will this help you bond with your kids, but you might just find that you enjoy gaming as well! (Who are we kidding? Of course, you’ll enjoy video games!)

Talk to your kids about games

Show an interest in what your kids are playing and ask them about their favorite games. This will help you bond with them over a shared interest and will make it easier to monitor their gaming activity.

So there you have it! Our tips on how to get your kids into video games. What are your thoughts? Let us know in the comments below, and be sure to share this post with all of your friends who have little ones at home. Gaming is a great way to bond with your children, help them learn new skills, and have some fun together. And who knows – maybe they’ll even teach you a thing or two about the latest gaming trends.

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Every week the EFG staff will be defining a gaming term that is either confusing or ill-defined. Please leave a comment with any terms you are confused by and we will try to include them in future editions!


The gaming definition this week is a term that is applicable to video games:

Battle Pass


A Battle Pass is a collection of rewards and cosmetics that slowly becomes available through play over a set period of time. These collections are often available either through real-life or in-game currencies and are often paired with rewards that are free for all players. 

Battle Passes reward players who consistently play throughout the month, with rewards that renew on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis. Battle Passes are often priced so that they can be purchased using real or in-game currency.

Fortnite Battle Pass

The Battle Pass’s name originated in Fortnite, but most major free-to-play multiplayer games have integrated some variation of a Battle Pass into their play and reward offerings.



Examples:

  • MTG Arena Season Pass
  • Fortnite Battle Pass

So, what do you think? Are Battle Passes a good way to keep players engaged and coming back for more? Or are they just another ploy by developers to get more of our hard-earned cash? Let us know in the comments below! And don’t forget to check out our other blog posts for more great content like this.

What do you think? Sound off in the comments and let us know your thoughts!

You can also look at our other video game definitions from previous weeks here!

What do you think? Sound off in the comments and let us know your thoughts!

Make sure to keep your eyes on Engaged Family Gaming for all of the latest news and reviews you need to Get

Your Family Game On!

The EFG Essentials

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