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EA Sports launches Season Ticket subscription service

Tue 02 Aug 2011 12:00pm GMT / 8:00am EDT / 5:00am PDT
OnlinePublishing

Offers subscribers four exclusive benefits in FIFA, Madden, NHL and Tiger Woods franchises

EA Sports has launched an annual subscription service, Season Ticket, for its core franchises.

The annual fee is set as 2000 Microsoft Points (roughly $25.00 / 17.00) at the time of writing an official cash figure wasn't available and will give subscribers access to four exclusive benefits across all the four franchises.

"We've been talking to consumers in the U.S. and over there in Europe about the type of thing they would like to see that they aren't currently getting from their EA Sports experiences," EA Sports' president Peter Moore told GamesIndustry.biz.

"It's very important to communicate that this doesn't change anything about EA Sports other than to add a layer on for people who are interested in those areas. It doesn't subtract or detract in any way from the core experience."

Season ticket holders will be able to download and play the full version of the latest version of each game three days before it is released. The download will expire on launch day, when the user will be able to purchase the game through conventional channels, taking any experience or achievements earned with them.

The other benefits are a 20 percent discount on all EA Sports DLC, including Ultimate Team packs, accelerator packs and gear upgrades; free premium web content; and a membership recognition badge displayed in-game and on the user's EA Sports profile.

Moore highlighted the early access and discounted DLC benefits as the "brain behind the programme," and claimed that the initiative is, "not about making a profit in the early going."

"It's about figuring out...a price that isn't going to eliminate a huge amount of people for the value that's delivered. We took it to the consumers and asked what they thought. The price we landed on is around 2000 points, and we think it's a great price."

Season Ticket is further evidence of EA's commitment to growing its digital business, with EA Sports vice president Andrew Wilson recently speaking at both Develop and directly to GamesIndustry.biz on the subject.

The service covers the EA Sports FIFA, Madden NFL, NHL Hockey and Tiger Woods' PGA Tour franchises. It will be available in North America, Europe, Australia and New Zealand for Xbox 360, and North America for PlayStation 3.

For the rest of the interview with Peter Moore, head over to the features section.

21 Comments

Aleksi Ranta Product Manager - Hardware

288 138 0.5
Sign of the times.

Posted:3 years ago

#1
maybe they can try to produce a spotify sports subscription service.

Posted:3 years ago

#2

Andrew Goodchild Studying development, Train2Game

1,254 421 0.3
So, is this not exactly the sort of thing EA were criticising about Activision's CoD Beachead plus service?
Although I suppose with the Tiger Woods dlc this year as an indication, if you were going to buy the dlc on 2 titles you'll make your money back in savings, for better or worse.

Posted:3 years ago

#3

Fran Mulhern , Recruit3D

863 707 0.8
I play a lot of FIFA and NHL - but I really can't see why I'd go for this. I rarely go for any of the DLC, especially as most of it is just unlocking achievements or skill levels than can be unlocked through playing anyway - which means it's a bit like paying EA to play the game for you.

Chee's spot on. And if they can have me download a version 3 days before release, then why can't they just let me keep the downloaded version? Was very excited when I saw the headline, now I'm just thinking "meh".

Posted:3 years ago

#4
I remember there was a recent discussion by a American airlines offering a unlimited month pass for its flights (by JetBlue). Anyways, here is my strategy for free!

Now, just imagine - much like your Movie or TV monthly subs, you could choose to play a certain sports package or action package. To entice your customers you want to aim for maximum MAU. how do we do this?

1/ Maybe levels 1-10 are open access. You grant the a continuous pulling factor to a paid subscriber or random passer by, entry through the front door of your game(s).

2/ Paid subscription/ Fremium/MMO appraoch - the ongoing trial and sense of community built is so strong that you know, for 2.99 you and your buddies are happy to play this months episodic content

3/ Better yet, lets make certain parts of the year something to celebrate. Easter. hanukah, Superbowl! month free pass for a flat fee. You can access ALL of (say EA) the games on offer. Because seriously (how many games can you play?) but peple are greedy anyways.

Cha ching. Doesnt cost the publishers any additional profit off their products. Greater userbase to their subscription service. More gamers to the fold. I reckon its a win win

Posted:3 years ago

#5

Sam Maxted Journalist / Community / Support

155 65 0.4
The Tiger Woods DLC has been a joke for the last few years. If you want every course, you're looking at paying around 30 - more than the game itself at its current price.

Posted:3 years ago

#6

Ian Leydic Student - Business Administration (M. Sc.)

3 0 0.0
I can't see how three days of early access and discounted dlc is worth especially for the non-tiger woods games where there isn't much dlc that adds anything new.

There just is not enough value here to make the subscription worthwhile.

Posted:3 years ago

#7

Rick Cody PBnGames-Board Member

144 14 0.1
All very true, It's not a $25 deal yet. We're in an age of increasingly incredible deals. $15 would be fine. But I see this as an expanding service and, looking into the future, I can see it benefits EA to keep a single pricing (as opposed to raising it) when they flesh out this service a little more

Posted:3 years ago

#8

Andrew Wilson 3D Artist

29 2 0.1
Why would I pay money to potentially save money on add-ons for games I might not even buy?
And why buy DLC for a game that has annual updates?
And why tie up your internet downloading a 6+GB 'demo' that only lasts 3 days!?
I really cannot imagine this is what the consumers are asking for...

Posted:3 years ago

#9

Tom Halls Creative Account Manager, Electronic Arts

17 0 0.0
Andrew, the Beachhead service is expected to be a monthly cost if I'm not wrong? This is a yearly price.

I think many consumers would jump at the chance to play the full game for 3 days prior to release - assuming the servers can cope with demand - it's a great way of letting them play as much as they can and make a decision regarding a further purchase without splashing out on it. I appreciate you can just rent the game, but you miss out on the additional benefits the Season Ticket will bring - and you have to wait until street date to play it.

As with all DLC/Opt-In deals, it's exactly that, Opt-In. Consumers have the choice at the end of the day and will vote with their wallets - how successful it is will remain to be seen!

Posted:3 years ago

#10

Andrew Goodchild Studying development, Train2Game

1,254 421 0.3
Anyone who has tried to download a large file size, high demand item on release on xbl, such as the halo beta, at least in my experience knows that if you start downloading at about 6, it hasn't finished by the time you want to go to bed. So assuming the 3 days don't fall on you days off, knock one day off that. Then add to the fact that if you mainly play online with friends, and your friends don't want this, on those 3 days you won't get to play them. It could have given you 3 days pre release and 4 post release.
The fact that it is a yearly payment rather than monthly is irrellevent. It still is the same principle. The are giving battlelog free as they have a throne to topple, but they own the licenced sport genre and can charge for old rope. Which would be fair enough were they not so critical of their rivals doing it.

That said I wonder if EA sports and EA in general are on the same page. I was baffled watching the EA E3 stream when Riccitiello said that there would be no celebrity appearences and 10 minutes later Peter Moore brought out 3 or 4 pro Footballers.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Andrew Goodchild on 3rd August 2011 9:34am

Posted:3 years ago

#11

Aleksi Ranta Product Manager - Hardware

288 138 0.5
Andrew, maybe the slow download has more to do with your ISP than with the XBL-service.
Here in sunny Finland I have never had an issue with a slow download from XBL.

Posted:3 years ago

#12

Tom Halls Creative Account Manager, Electronic Arts

17 0 0.0
Noone knows how it'll work yet - perhaps you'll be able to download the file a few days before the 3 day period and then play from then. The friend reference is irrelevant to me, if I want to play a game early and friends don't have it, I'll just deal with that - it happens a lot with my non-work colleagues when I get promos before street. The Gears beta proved that theory incorrect as well, it's the excitement for the game that drives people to play it - the fact their friends aren't playing it isn't a crucial factor.

Whether it's old rope or not is open to individual opinion - access to a game before release, especially on console, is (I believe) a first of it's kind, at the very least innovative, as well as giving you exclusive content. The assumption with regards to Battlelog is trivial, the stats site for BFBC2 is very indepth, and has always been free, it's not something entirely new.

As has been said elsewhere by plenty of people to DLC in general - the option is there for those who want it. If you don't want it, you don't have to buy it :)

Additionally - the reference to whether the 2 are on the same page? A cheap shot poorly supported really - that hardly shows the working relationship does it? I think JR's comments were rather tongue in cheeky as well.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Tom Halls on 3rd August 2011 9:43am

Posted:3 years ago

#13

Andrew Goodchild Studying development, Train2Game

1,254 421 0.3
@Aleksi. That contributes certainly, the internet outside the big cities in the UK is often quite poor. But it is also a lot slower for a popular file like the Halo betas, than a file of equal size, and the point being, if there is a big uptake on this, everyone will be downloading at the same time to get the most of it, especially Fifa in Europe. Doesn't effect me though, as the only EA sports game I have any interest in is SSX (not 100% sure if that is actually EA Sports anyway).

@Tom. Not sure how it was a cheap shot. The fact is tongue in cheek or not, he took the mick out of other conferences letting celebrity endorsements doing the selling, said EA were letting games and the people behind them do the talking, then his colleague does exactly what he said they weren't doing. How is that not sending out a confusing message?

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Andrew Goodchild on 3rd August 2011 9:56am

Posted:3 years ago

#14

Tom Halls Creative Account Manager, Electronic Arts

17 0 0.0
Andrew, the fact is that it was tongue in cheek does make a difference, it's a gentle rib like all the other publishers use, it's just part and parcel. It's the videogames industry after all ;)

I don't think consumers saw that as a confusing message at all, perhaps a bit hypocritical, but certainly nothing to look into more than that. It had no end impact on the games.

Posted:3 years ago

#15

Fran Mulhern , Recruit3D

863 707 0.8
Maybe they should just look at a one off yearly payment per title, download only. If paying 55 meant I got FIFA plus all the add ons etc for a year, I'd be happy enough with that given how much I play it. Same with NHL. They're the two games that occupy about 80% of my gaming time. Sure, not everyone will do that, and certainly the younger players won't be able to afford it, but then they're not necessarily going to pay for this anyway.

Seems to me like it's a decent idea badly thought out.

Posted:3 years ago

#16

Barrie Tingle Live Producer, Maxis

391 212 0.5
Seems a little odd. If you have access to the full game 3 days in advance why can't people just pay an additional cost and own the game digitally to keep instead of downloading it, playing it for 3 days and then having to go and get a disc based version of the game?

Microsoft has Games on Demand, Sony sells full versions through PSN so the systems are there to allow players to keep a digital version. That combined with the fact it removes a possible trade in copy is surely a win win for EA and Sony/Microsoft.

Posted:3 years ago

#17
well - common sense doesnt come installed at birth. it can be trained. Perhaps its something worth flagging up....(although folks tend to often shoot the messenger and kick the house cat)

Posted:3 years ago

#18

Tom Halls Creative Account Manager, Electronic Arts

17 0 0.0
@ Barrie - I'm with you on this, but would be out of a job without packaged goods ;)

I know there are restrictions on ingame stores for Sony, who are strict on what you can sell through the game without going through the PSN store, so perhaps this impacts. Perhaps it's a test for future digital distribution - people have being discussing disc-free console gaming for a few years now, so perhaps this is a tentative toe in the water?

Posted:3 years ago

#19

Barrie Tingle Live Producer, Maxis

391 212 0.5
Oooops, didn't mean to try and put you out of a job Tom :)

Well I have bought my subscription, lets see how it goes and if it is worth the 2000 MS Points.

Posted:3 years ago

#20

Jason Sartor Copy editor/Videographer, Florida Today

104 33 0.3
My favorite line:

The other benefits are a 20 percent discount on all EA Sports DLC, including Ultimate Team packs, accelerator packs and gear upgrades; free premium web content...

If you are paying $25, it's not free.

Posted:3 years ago

#21

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