You might have heard that EA has announced an exclusive partnership with Microsoft to launch EA Access, a monthly or annual subscription service that gives you three great benefits; discounts, free games in ‘The Vault’, and access to EA’s game trials. The subscription will cost around $4.99/£3.99 a month, or $29.99 per year (UK price not yet known), and there is a beta coming to Xbox One soon, but will it really work as intended?
Essentially, this service is what PlayStation Plus already provides PlayStation gamers with, but although Xbox Live Gold isn’t required for EA Access, it is required if you actually want to play a game online. So on top of that $29.99 a year subscription you will have to pay the Xbox Live Gold subscription as well, which means in total you are looking at around $90 a year.
So how could this work?
- The discount offered is 10% off new digital content, meaning you could save $6 off a game, which would mean you’ve already made you money back.
- You get unlimited access to four games initially; Battlefield 4, FIFA 14, Madden NFL 25, Peggle 2. That’s $100 worth of content, surely worth it?
- And you can play selected titles five days early with the game trials system. More of a chance for you to choose what you want to buy.
Why this might not work…
The issue with the discount applies across the board with all of these services, apart from for digital only content, where you have no choice, the discount is almost pointless for most gamers, because, at least in the UK, you can almost always buy a game on release date at a discounted price. Then when you’re done, you’re free to sell that game to put towards a new purchase. Sony has recently been quite aggressive with sales on the PSN, and there have been several flash sales, and a lot of promotional offers over the past few months. We’ve seen some great games such as Ni No Kuni discounted to just $4.99 in June! 10% is just not enough, and is likely just an extra saving for those who have decided to gone digital anyway.
The Vault depends on the idea that everyone likes all of EA’s content, and whilst they do publish some great games, these titles aren’t always going to be available in The Vault. On the other hand, with PlayStation Plus, you are getting a variety of content across three platforms, and from a variety of publishers, as well as some great indie titles. In addition to this, there’s no details on whether or not; more games will be added, or the first four games will be removed, or how old the content will be. Sony’s already proven that they can put up some very new content at times, and have blown Games With Gold out of the water.
Game trials, there’s no real problem with this, other than what was said above, it depends on whether or not you like all of EA’s content. The first few games to implement this system will be Madden NFL 15, NHL 15, FIFA 15, NBA LIVE 15 and Dragon Age: Inquisition. I would probably only trial one of these games, because that’s just my personal preference. Again, Sony isn’t restricted to content from one publisher, but game trials on their service have taken a back-seat.
As you can probably see, there isn’t really anything new with EA Access, and there probably is more incentive to resubscribe in the PlayStation Plus service, simply because it works out a lot cheaper. However, EA has given Sony some competition that could mean we see more and better content on PS+ than previously. Competition breeds excellence!