EA Access Is A Great Idea

Earnest Cavalli of Joystiq on the new EA Access program:

Those who spend $5 per month (or $30 per year) on an EA Access subscription will be granted free, all-you-can-play access to the publisher’s biggest Xbox One games, including Battlefield 4, Peggle 2, FIFA 14 and Madden NFL 25. EA plans to add to this selection of games over time, and according to a Game Informer tweet, the publisher has “no plans” to remove content in the future. In addition to the gratis games, EA Access members receive 10 percent discounts on all of EA’s digital Xbox One content and are granted access to big EA releases up to five days prior to their official debut.

Very interesting concept, and something that will no doubt be very popular.

Who is it for?

The biggest audience for this will be people who aren’t concerned with playing the latest and greatest. Battlefield 4 is still a massively popular game that retails for around$30 right now, which means that game alone get’s a person their money back. Throw in other titles, and the addition of more over time and it’s no doubt a great deal.

For me personally, the World Cup piqued my interest in soccer just enough that I wouldn’t mind playing FIFA 14, but don’t want to spend the $40 it is currently running. I could pick up this service for $10 less, and get a chance to play a little Battlefield 4, plus whatever else get’s added in the next year. Seems like a great deal.

Why is It Good for EA?

For years people have been wondering how publishers would find a way to combat used game sales. Microsoft had a bunch of things in the original Xbox One announcement to combat the resale of games, but outrage forced them to pull most of those features. Now EA has found a way to trump that $30 a year for a large collection of older EA games is genius. It’s hard to imagine that “last year’s” sports game won’t be added every single year as the current year’s game approaches, and even though a game like Titanfall isn’t available now, it’s entirely possible it will be by the end of year, meaning that someone could get a lot of gameplay for $30, which is likely what they would pay for one (two at most) used games from the last year or so.

Why is It Good for Microsoft?

There are two reasons it’s good for Microsoft. The direct reason is that it suddenly made a subset of games cheaper, and therefore much more appealing. The Xbox One is a great media center, and the voice commands with Kinect are super convenient when watching Netflix or Amazon or a DVD. Add in $30 a year to play some games when the mood strikes and while it’s not a system seller, it certainly sweetens the deal.

The indirect advantage lies with the fact that Sony declined to participate in the program (for now) claiming that it didn’t think it was a good deal for users. The reality is more likely that they don’t want to canabalize their PSN Plus subscriptions, or huge people who want to resell games. I am sure Microsoft isn’t complaining.