EA Announces Xbox One Game Subscription Service
Back when the Xbox One was first launched, EA came on to the stage and mentioned that they had a special relationship with Microsoft and the Xbox brand. Back in 2013, that meant cancelling their online pass program because they knew that Microsoft was going to load the Xbox One with DRM.
In 2014, that special relationship means that EA is bringing a new product offering exclusively to Xbox One. However, it’s not a new exclusive game. It’s a subscription service that’s exclusive to the Xbox One called EA Access.
The plan for EA Access is to offer gamers access to various games in EA’s vault for a monthly (or yearly) subscription price. The current price is set at $5 per month or $30 per year. Access will come with a 10% discount on EA digital products, both games and DLC, and time-limited free trials of upcoming EA game five days before their launch.
The service launched yesterday in beta and only has four games on offer at the moment. The beta options are FIFA 14, Madden 25, Peggle 2 and Battlefield 4. Games will be added to the beta as it progresses and EA says that games added to the EA Vault (the group of games available through Access) won’t later be removed. That being said, Titanfall isn’t planned to be available through Access at all. One would assume that future games may also bypass the Access program.
It might also be worth noting that this will be closer in setup to PlayStation Plus than PlayStation Now. It’s not a streaming service. Games available through Access will be available to download and play so long as the subscription is maintained. Once the subscription lapses, the game will no longer be playable.
As someone with a PS3 and PC, it’s nice that EA put so much thought into giving me a service I might be interested in. At $30 per year and if new games were offered, I’d actually consider subscribing to EA Access but it’s not available to me so I don’t get any say in the matter. That’s what happens when you have a special relationship with the people you’re helping generate money for.
Until we get more details about the service and its offerings, trying to do a business analysis doesn’t make much sense. I can’t imagine that it’ll be strong on brand new EA games being available at launch through Access because that would cannibalize sales. Using the free trials and discounts as a way to incentivize people to buy EA games is a smart idea, though. They just have to find the balance between not eating sales through early download availability and destroying value by waiting too long to add games to Access.