Close
Report Comment to a Moderator Our Moderators review all comments for abusive and offensive language, and ensure comments are from Verified Users only.
Please report a comment only if you feel it requires our urgent attention.
I understand, report it. Cancel

EA launching Xbox One subscription service

EA launching Xbox One subscription service

Tue 29 Jul 2014 5:22pm GMT / 1:22pm EDT / 10:22am PDT
Publishing

[UPDATE] Sony opted out of $5 a month service, claiming it doesn't represent "good value" for the gamer

Update: EA Access is unlikely to make it to the PlayStation 4, with Sony going on record saying that it doesn;t represent "good value" for its customers.

In a statement issued to Game Informer, Sony clarified its position on EA's $5 a month service, which was only announced for Xbox One. Apparently, Sony "evaluated" the idea and decided that it didn't fit in with its plans.

“PlayStation Plus memberships are up more than 200 per cent since the launch of PlayStation 4, which shows that gamers are looking for memberships that offer a multitude of services, across various devices, for one low price. We don't think asking our fans to pay an additional $5 a month for this EA-specific program represents good value to the PlayStation gamer.”

Original Story: Electronic Arts is taking its games-as-a-service approach another step further. The company today announced EA Access, a new subscription service exclusive to Xbox One that allows players to download and play a selection of EA games (dubbed the EA Vault) for a monthly or annual fee.

Launching in beta today, EA Access will initially include FIFA 14, Madden 25, Peggle 2, and Battlefield 4, with EA promising to add more titles soon. In addition to the downloadable games, EA Access subscribers will also receive a handful of perks. First, they will receive a 10 percent discount on all EA purchases from the Xbox Games Store (including full games and downloadable content). On top of that, EA Access members will be able to download and play trial versions of new EA games up to five days before their release dates, and carry over progress to the final release if they decide to buy the game.

EA Access will be available on a monthly basis for $5, or $30 for an annual membership. The publisher has also teamed up with retailers in North America and Europe to sell membership cards in stores. The service is currently in a limited beta, but EA said it would be made available to all Xbox One owners soon.

There are some limitations to the program. For one thing, Respawn's Titanfall is excluded from all EA Access promotions. On top of that, downloaded titles from the EA Vault will only be playable if a user has an active EA Access subscription. However, progress in games will be saved, so players who let their membership lapse and rejoin later will be able to pick up where they left off. Additionally, an EA representative told GamesIndustry.biz that there are no plans to remove titles from the EA Vault selection once they have been added in.

This is not the first time EA has dabbled with a cross-game subscription service. In 2011, EA Sports launched its Season Ticket subscription service, which included early access trials and DLC discounts for the publisher's sports games, and commanded a $25 annual fee.

23 Comments

Paul Shirley
Programmers

178 150 0.8
You have to hope they bring a completely new customer support team to this because the old combination of front desk support willing but not allowed to help with backroom support able to help but not willing, really hasn't worked well for me. Along with a willingness to wield the ban hammer instead of diagnosing&fixing customer problems, it's hard to imagine any investment in a subscription has lasting value.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Paul Shirley on 30th July 2014 1:48pm

Posted:2 months ago

#1

Morville O'Driscoll
Blogger & Critic

1,571 1,418 0.9
It's... definitely something, all this.

I can certainly see how it benefits EA to run this subscription system. The rental aspect of it (EA Vault) is a way to mitigate the loss of sales to the second-hand market, plus, they can flip older franchise titles onto Vault a couple of weeks prior to the latest installment releasing. Have some ads set-up, and it upsells the latest release with little lost.

The 10% discount is laughable, considering the high-price of Digital Downloads on the XOne. But if the consumer has the discount, they'll be more inclined to use it, rather than go to Amazon (where the boxed retail for BF4 is, literally, half the price of the Marketplace Download). More money for EA.

And the "play 5 days in advance"? Well, nice way to give all the benefits of Beta/Early Access without the bad PR that implies. And allows them to stress-test multi-player servers ahead of full release.

Yup, it's all good for EA. And I fully understand Sony's statement. From a consumer point-of-view a single-publisher subscription is not great value at all.

Edited 2 times. Last edit by Morville O'Driscoll on 30th July 2014 6:15pm

Posted:2 months ago

#2
I think Sony should have at least given their "Players" the choice of whether they want to pay for a service like this or not.. It's not tied into or included with the PSN+ fees, in the same way it's separate to an XBL subscription, so what's the harm in giving your customer base an additional option for obtaining content to use on their consoles??..
This could be the start of a new marketplace with other publishers offering similar services for their titles..
From what I've read quite a lot of ps4 players are quite disappointed at having no choice, and who can blame them when PSN+ is not known for it's great "free" monthly titles or the ability to keep them past subscription expiration...

Posted:2 months ago

#3

Neow Shau Jin
Studying Bachelor in Computer Science

52 81 1.6
@Pete

Well neither can players keep the games past their subscription in this EA subscription.

From what I see what was reveal so far, there is no point to go for this subscription unless most of the games that your are interested/bought are from EA. Sports games fans who only buy their annual titles may be interested in this, so as some of the people I know who will only play Battlefield whole year.

For me, it will be very lucky if there is even one game from EA caught my attention, not interested in military shooters and sports games, so that trim the list considerably.

Having the subscription with the console manufacturer as opposed to publisher makes more sense as they can offer a larger variety of content and games library.

Posted:2 months ago

#4

Nicholas Pantazis
Senior Editor

1,020 1,467 1.4
I suspect Sony's biggest concern was with setting a precedent for publishers to run their own subscription services off of their platform. What if next year EA ties this to Origin and says you need it to play EA games online, or Ubisoft does something similar with U-Play? For Sony this is avoiding a potential nightmare of side fees charged by individual pubs for their games.

Posted:2 months ago

#5

Morville O'Driscoll
Blogger & Critic

1,571 1,418 0.9
Exactly. Up to now, console subscription services have been run by the console manufacturer, which implies ease-of-use (one of the pluses to consoles). Publisher subscriptions muddy the waters considerably, and fracture the market. An argument can be made that simplicity, even though it's a monopoly, is in the consumer best interests.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Morville O'Driscoll on 30th July 2014 8:26pm

Posted:2 months ago

#6

Nick Wofford
Hobbyist

180 190 1.1
Popular Comment
First, EA stated that they have no plans to ever remove games from the Vault, which makes it a marked improvement over GWG/PSPlus, which only ever have a few games at a time.

Second, the 10% discount would be laughable if it only applied to older titles. It doesn't. It applies to the EA catalog, from Day One. So after purchasing 5 EA titles on Day One, you'd break even. Any discounted DLC would save you money. Looking at Mirror's Edge, all of the Bioware titles, all of the Star Wars games they'll make, and throw in an annualized game and it would be easy to see a lot of consumers buying that many titles. The subscription would be worth it for that alone.

Third, you don't need to have Gold to use EA Access. Convenient.

Fourth, the "5 days in advance is bad" argument: what's wrong with people testing the servers early? Would you rather that you tested them after purchasing the game? Logically, this is a way for EA to monetize the awkward time from point A (end of development) to point B (game arrives in all retail stores). This way, they can give players (who pay, of course) the code that's available at an earlier date than Fedex can get discs to the store.

Fifth, the quality of the library. This is a pointless argument, as GWG/PSPlus are very popular and only offer older titles. Hell, Battlefield 4, FIFA, and Madden are more recent than most titles on GWG/PSPlus, with some exceptions.

Sixth, the fragmentation argument. If the 10 largest publishers offered this service, then we would be able to pay at most $50 a month to play a VAST amount of titles from their catalogs. And all for less than buying one $60 retail copy a month.

Seventh, ownership is also clearly not an issue for the same reasons listed in the fifth argument. Hell, people were complaining about how they wanted to trade ownership for quality with GWG, so this issue is irrelevant.


Overall, EA's making a great move here. Most people who are going to buy your game for full price will do so in the first few months. So why not monetize the game after that? Even if it averages out to pennies per game, it's still better than the fat goose egg they're getting from GameStop's used sales. Sony is only rejecting this because it's cheaper than their competing services (both PSPlus and PS Now).

Posted:2 months ago

#7

Paul Jace
Merchandiser

935 1,410 1.5
Nick nicely summed up pretty much what I wanted to say. For people who own an Xbox One and enjoy EA games this subscription is a really great option to have. And because it isn't mandatory I can't see any negatives about it. It will most likely spread to other publishers and at $5 a month/$30 a year(if they choose to follow the same model) thats bascially a steal.

Posted:2 months ago

#8

Barrie Tingle
Live Producer

380 179 0.5
Sony possibly didn't feel it was good value as they are rolling out PlayStation Now - http://www.ign.com/articles/2014/07/30/sony-may-offer-a-subscription-option-for-playstation-now

So competing/overlapping service doesn't make sense.

The thing with EA Access is that you could opt for the $29.99 per year subscription which is well under the $60 price point of new release games. Access to multiple EA titles for less than one game? Pretty good offer regardless of how you slice it.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Barrie Tingle on 31st July 2014 12:47am

Posted:2 months ago

#9

Jeff Kleist
Writer, Marketing, Licensing

352 213 0.6
Don't forget that Microsoft has a long history of rejiggering the back end for favored partners. Remember in-app purchases for Rock Band? Sony has spent hundreds of millions on OSNow, and anyone bypassing that is "not a good value"

Posted:2 months ago

#10

Morville O'Driscoll
Blogger & Critic

1,571 1,418 0.9
Popular Comment
So after purchasing 5 EA titles on Day One, you'd break even.
You'd break even on your EA Access purchase cost, yes. But as I note above, when the difference between a digital download and a retail disc can be $30, you'd have to be both 1) someone who wants purely digital versions of games and 2) someone who buys lots of EA games Day One.
what's wrong with people testing the servers early?
Nothing as such. I just find it amusing that something that so obviously benefits EA is being touted as a total and utter positive for consumers. Pay for the pleasure of stress-testing? If that's your thing, fine.
If the 10 largest publishers offered this service, then we would be able to pay at most $50 a month to play a VAST amount of titles from their catalogs. And all for less than buying one $60 retail copy a month.
Firstly, let's be clear here. EA aren't going to be offering the latest in the franchises on the Vault. They would be absolutely dumb to do that. So, no, you wouldn't be paying less than one $60 game, because that equates the Vault concept with a new game. You'd be paying $50 a month to play EA/Acti/Ubi/2K's older games, at which point, it becomes a different value proposition. Still possibly a good value proposition, but a different one nonetheless.

Secondly, this is exactly the system that irks PC players. Fragmentation of digital distribution, so that in order to play all the latest games you need 1) a Steam account 2) an Origin account 3) a Uplay account 4) a R* Social Club account 5) a Paradox account 6) an Ubernet account, etc.. Except, here, you're paying for the pleasure. Were this to happen, Microsoft could easily 1) withdraw GWG and 2) allow publishers to charge the public for online components of their games.
Overall, EA's making a great move here
For EA, yes. It can be in no doubt they've done a great business move here.
Sony is only rejecting this because it's cheaper than their competing services
That's part of it, yes. But not all of it. (Foreword: This is not a cheap-shot at EA, it's just background for my point. :) )

When EA started withdrawing their latest games from Steam, it was because of DLC. There was a new T&C that expressly said any DLC released for a game on Steam also had to be on Steam. EA didn't want this, and backed out. But Valve's reasoning was that it made it easier for the consumer for everything relating to a game on Steam to be available on Steam.

I view Sony's decision to be much like Valve's - multiple subscription services, all with differing games, all with differing costs, all with differing benefits, doesn't help the consumer as much as people may think. It has the definite potential to confuse and annoy. Now, it may very well be that other services alongside PSN/PS+ would be great and not confusing, and add to the competition and all would be sunshine. But competition isn't always good, and a system that eventually annoys and hurts the consumer also isn't good.
Access to multiple EA titles for less than one game? Pretty good offer regardless of how you slice it.
If you ignore the second-hand market, sure. Considering that not every subscriber will want to play every game on this service, it's not as obviously a good choice as lots of people make it out to be.

Also, just a note: I'm not saying that this isn't going to be of great value to some. I just think that all critical thinking appears to have dropped off the planet. For your die-hard EA Sports and BF fans, this is no doubt great value. For the people who got burned on BF4, don't care about fooooooooooooootballlllllllllllllll and just want DA:I and Mirror's Edge 2, this is literally a waste of money.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Morville O'Driscoll on 31st July 2014 9:37am

Posted:2 months ago

#11

Phil Elliott
Project Leader, Collective; Head of Community (Live Team)

163 29 0.2




Ultimately, anything that gives people greater choice of how the pay & play is something I'd generally support. But I wouldn't expect the digital prices to come down much any time soon, though, for various reasons. And therefore I highly doubt the 10% discount will be a big motivator for many people.

Posted:2 months ago

#12

Greg Knight
Freelance Developer

56 49 0.9

Posted:2 months ago

#13

Morville O'Driscoll
Blogger & Critic

1,571 1,418 0.9
@Greg

I don't mean to be rude, but... So what? What's pocket change for you might be big-bucks for me. :/

Posted:2 months ago

#14

Lewis Brown
Snr Sourcer/Recruiter

199 56 0.3

Posted:2 months ago

#15

Morville O'Driscoll
Blogger & Critic

1,571 1,418 0.9
@ Nick
First, EA stated that they have no plans to ever remove games from the Vault, which makes it a marked improvement over GWG/PSPlus, which only ever have a few games at a time.
No plans to, but they have a provision in the ToS that allows them to. It's pedantic, and, yes, just standard legal-speak... Until it's not. Considering the price they're charging, I think they'll have an upper-limit on the number of titles in the Vault, and rotate out older games as they introduce newer ones. Most likely that'll limit itself to "Old Madden Title" being pushed out in favour of "New Madden Title". But it's something to bear in mind. :)

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Morville O'Driscoll on 31st July 2014 12:50pm

Posted:2 months ago

#16

Jeff Kleist
Writer, Marketing, Licensing

352 213 0.6
How many buy 5 Ea games a year day one? Sports nuts. 2-3 EA sports titles each is not irregular at all. Add in the DLC AND IM LRETTY SURE ITS GOOD TO GO.

Posted:2 months ago

#17

Greg Knight
Freelance Developer

56 49 0.9
@Morville

lunch

Posted:2 months ago

#18

Morville O'Driscoll
Blogger & Critic

1,571 1,418 0.9
Oh, well, yes... But that assumes I think it good value for me, and I've already implied I don't (at least right now). :)

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Morville O'Driscoll on 31st July 2014 1:23pm

Posted:2 months ago

#19

Jeff Kleist
Writer, Marketing, Licensing

352 213 0.6
I got invited to the beta, but I agree with you. Morville that there isn't enough there for me to pay for it yet. I don't want the sports games, and I have Battlefield.

Ea. Would be really smart to start porting their Xbox original games, and getting their 16-bit library running in emulation as a fast way to build the base. I know that access tot the Strike games and road rash would definitely be move motivation :)

Posted:2 months ago

#20

Nick Wofford
Hobbyist

180 190 1.1
@Morville
For the 10% discount, of course it's not for really old titles. That's a straw man. It's for day one titles, where you most certainly can't find copies that are $30.

For the 5 days early access, you conveniently ignored my second question. Would you rather that you stress tested the servers after purchasing the game?

For the ToS statement, that statement is in every ToS you've ever signed has that line in it, from Steam to XBL to PSN to etc... If you use any of these services, then you're argument falls short.

Posted:2 months ago

#21

Morville O'Driscoll
Blogger & Critic

1,571 1,418 0.9
For the 10% discount, of course it's not for really old titles. That's a straw man. It's for day one titles, where you most certainly can't find copies that are $30.
No, you can't. But you can certainly find them cheaper on retail than the $54 they'll be on the Marketplace. (Also, if I were argumentative, I would argue your definition of BF4 as "old". But, hey, I'm not. :p )
For the 5 days early access, you conveniently ignored my second question. Would you rather that you stress tested the servers after purchasing the game?
I would rather EA anticipated how many servers they needed, then doubled that number. It's not like demand is hard to see based on previous releases, and it means neither I nor a subscriber has to pay for the pleasure. After all, 5 days early is no good at all if EA still misunderstand required server numbers. :)
For the ToS statement, that statement is in every ToS you've ever signed has that line in it, from Steam to XBL to PSN to etc... If you use any of these services, then you're argument falls short.
No, it doesn't fall short, because my argument was a retort to your's, that EA have said they'll never pull games. By contrast, to my knowledge, Valve have never said they won't pull games from Steam, and I'm therefore not surprised when games are pulled from it. :)

(over-abundance of smileys due to not wanting to seem too argumentative. :) )

Edited 2 times. Last edit by Morville O'Driscoll on 2nd August 2014 12:14am

Posted:2 months ago

#22

Roland Austinat
roland austinat media productions|consulting

134 74 0.6
@Greg, it's the sum of all services. There's this one here, then you might have Netflix, internet, XBLG, PSN+, an MMO or two ... and if more publishers start their own service, there are more and more being added. But is there really enough time to use each service to its fullest potential and savings?

Posted:2 months ago

#23

Login or register to post

Take part in the GamesIndustry community

Register now