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EA Access subscription service on Xbox One points towards the future

Matt Gardner
Battlefield 4, EA, EA Access, FIFA 14, Madden NFL 25, Microsoft, Subscriptions, Xbox One Games

EA Access subscription service on Xbox One points towards the future

We knew this was coming.

We've seen it across the other major entertainment mediums -- subscription services designed to offer consumers value, choice, and convenience. It was only a matter of time before a publisher followed in the footsteps of PlayStation Plus and PS Now, and it's happening sooner than we perhaps thought it might.

Not only that, it seems that the pioneer in this regard is EA.

EA Access has launched in beta over on Xbox One in partnership with Microsoft. The service went live earlier this week, giving a limited number of players access to four of EA's biggest titles: FIFA 14, Madden NFL 25, Peggle 2 and Battlefield 4. Here's the official blurb for good measure:

EA Access membership unlocks The Vault, a collection of EA’s biggest games on Xbox One ready for you to download and play.  During the beta, gamers will have unlimited access to four great EA games: FIFA 14, Madden NFL 25, Peggle 2 and Battlefield 4, with more titles being added soon. That’s over $100 worth of games for $4.99 a month. You can play these EA favorites as much as you want with the click of a button.

Here in the UK, you can sign up already for £3.99 a month. Stateside, there's a pretty damn generous $29.99 annual subscription option, but that's not been made available yet over here. Twelve months at £3.99 a month would run you £47.88.

Not only will EA Access members be able to play the Vault games whenever they want, but they'll also get a 10% discount on upcoming EA titles too, and members will be able to trial games out several days in advance of launch:

As an additional perk, EA Access members get an exclusive 10% discount on EA digital purchases on Xbox One. Use your 10% discount on Madden NFL 15, Madden Ultimate Team, Battlefield 4, Battlefield 4 Premium, FIFA 15, FIFA Ultimate Team, EA SPORTS UFC, Need for Speed Rivals, Plants vs. Zombies Garden Warfare, Peggle 2 and NBA LIVE 14, with more titles coming soon.

If you’re an EA Access member, you can download upcoming EA games five days before the release date to play for a limited time. Madden NFL 15, NHL 15, FIFA 15, NBA LIVE 15 and Dragon Age: Inquisition are all included, with more to come. If you love it, buy it, and you can pick up right where you left off.

That EA are the first publishers rather than platform holders to roll something like this out should surprise no-one. Electronic Arts are the biggest industry movers and shakers in that aspect, they have an extraordinary wealth of big-hitting IPs. It doesn't even really matter if the Vault games remain this rigid. There are plenty of people (myself included) who would happily drop thirty quid a year to play FIFA, Madden, and Battlefield.

It's an outstanding idea, and reports suggest that Gamestop will be stocking membership codes too, giving EA a store presence with this service that could prove intriguing. It'll be interesting to see the sales numbers in that regard, because if positive it points towards a future perhaps where digital distribution and digital initiatives don't automatically sound the death knell for physical media retailers.

Big new releases won't be included in the Vault, that much is clear. In that respect, EA Access shares much with PlayStation Plus -- a smattering of free games that are 6 months old or more, and money off towards fresher marquee titles. Hopefully, EA might use the opportunity to really promote some of their smaller titles. Obviously Peggle 2 is included here for the beta, but EA have been known to put some marketing muscle behind a few indie games over the years, and this would seem to be a wonderful way of spotlighting some more.

An exciting initiative, then, but one with plenty of questions still to be answered. How often will the Vault roster change? Will we see annual subscriptions roll out beyond the US? Just how long is the "limited time" period upcoming games can be played for ahead of release? As we've seen with the spluttering Games With Gold, balance will be key.

Add a comment8 comments
socialjeebus  Jul. 30, 2014 at 11:01

Difficult to judge atm, it could end up being brilliant for consumers (but then terrible for EA) or it could end up simply being a damp squib.

The problem I have personally, is that there's not really a big enough back catalogue of EA games that I don't already own or want to play. Obviously that might change in the future (or they could get other publishers on board).

Perhaps this is related to that accidental reveal last of month of the paid-for demoes on the Xbox store?


DocEBrown  Jul. 30, 2014 at 12:22

Ea access is available for an annual subscription in the uk for £19.99

Anarchist  Jul. 30, 2014 at 12:54

Interesting. For those that jump on the annualised franchises (which nearly all EA games are, lets be honest), this can work out to be an utter bargain.

But, I'm guessing the annualised franchises won't be included from launch, only 6-12 months afterwards, once people who are interested already own them, or are no longer interested in them. This makes them kind of pointless.

From the four games currently included, I already own FIFA/BF4 (they are games I always get on launch, all the world moves so I'd have nobody to play with if I didn't), Peggle isn't worth that much, and Madden I have zero interest in.

If this is the way they are going to run this service, I will have absolutely no interest in it at all. IF they would have included at least a couple of their other titles, UFC, PvZ or NFS, I'd have been on this.

Late  Jul. 30, 2014 at 13:08

Nice initiative.
I do worry, though, that we might end up in a situation where it seems normal to pay monthly fees to Microsoft, EA, Activision, Ubisoft, and a few others.

And whilst the scheme seems okay now, I'm not sure where it's headed. If they don't include access to their latest game people will buy that game (and a ten percent discount on a digital title from xbox marketplace doesn't exactly make it cheap - many folk will ignore their discount and save money by buying it on disk. I'm assuming the discount only applies to the digital marketplace).
And then in a 6-12 months' time when that game is added to those that subscribers get are you going to keep your subs going?

Time will tell. At present and in the short term it just means more options, and that's rarely a bad thing. Choice is good.

Adster  Jul. 30, 2014 at 16:47

If you’re an EA Access member, you can download upcoming EA games five days before the release date to play for a limited time. Madden NFL 15, NHL 15, FIFA 15, NBA LIVE 15 and Dragon Age: Inquisition are all included, with more to come. If you love it, buy it, and you can pick up right where you left off.

That pretty much confirms you aren't going to get new games as part of this

RPerez  Jul. 30, 2014 at 16:59

As far as the newly announced Ea Access, Sony said it did not accept the EA Access program because it felt it did not bring "good value". That is bull! The PS Now is a freaking joke!!! With EA Access you pay 5 dollars a month and you have access to a bunch of games for unlimited time during that month. On the other hand with the PS Now you pay 5 dollars and you can only be play ONE GAME for 2 HOURS!!!! What a freaking joke!!!!

And of course there was this announcement made in the Sony camp:

MattGardner  Jul. 30, 2014 at 17:07

If that PS4 was on general sale I'd buy one. I freakin love vibrant colours.

alphapyr0  Oct. 5, 2014 at 10:06

Why cant i pay for the subscription with my microsoft wallet this makes no sense to require debit\credit card for the subscription

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