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EA touts "profound impact" of streaming and subscription, announces Origin Access Premier

New PC service gives players instant access to Battlefield and FIFA 19 at launch, with publisher promising streaming option in future

Electronic Arts continues to push for a service-based vision of the games industry as it targets ongoing monetisation of its audience.

During the publisher's E3 2018 press conference, CEO Andrew Wilson descried the combination of streaming and subscription as "the greatest disruption" to the world of entertainment of the past five years.

He pointed to how this business model for movies, TV and books has changed those markets, and believes this combination will have "a profound impact" on the games industry in the years to come.

Wilson's comments echoed those of his CFO Blake Jorgensen, who said back in November that a combination of live services, such as FIFA Ultimate Team, and subscriptions will lead to "uncapped" monetisation of its players over the longest possible period of time.

In its latest financials, EA revealed that 40% of its revenue last year came from live services, while full game downloads and physical game sales are dropping.

Wilson reminded conference attendees of the publisher's recent acquisition of GameFly's Israel-based cloud gaming team, predicting a future where players can enjoy high-end games on any device anywhere with an internet connection.

While there are tech demos for EA's streaming service out there, Wilson stressed that it's "not quite ready for full market primetime", but pitched it as a "promise of what we hope to bring you in the future."

In the meantime, Electronic Arts took the opportunity to announce a new subscription system that shows the publisher continuing to push towards a service-based economy for video games.

Origin Access Premier is a new addition to the firm's PC-based games service: a premium subscription that gives players access to even more titles.

Wilson revealed that the scheme will give members the ability to download and play brand new titles on the day of launch, starting with Madden 19 this August (the first time the American football game has come to PC in several years). It will also include EA blockbusters FIFA 19, Battlefield V and BioWare's ambitious Anthem.

It's a similar move to one made by Microsoft earlier this year when it announced that all first-party titles will be added to Xbox Game Pass at launch, something that will no doubt be emphasised regularly at the platform holder's own press conference tomorrow.

Origin Access Premier will also give subscribers access to 'The Vault', a collection of past titles from Electronic Arts and even other publishers. There are over 100 titles currently available, including EA hits like Mass Effect and Dragon Age as well as Batman: Arkham Knight, Inside and more.

The scheme will launch later this summer, with a free trial of the current Origin Access service now available.

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Latest comments (3)

Aleksi Ranta Category Management Project Manager 4 months ago
Andrew Wilson: The joy of subscribing

PS: somewhat unrelated but why, after years and years of practise, and "listening to our players and community", are theses prezzers always, ALWAYS, so damn cringy? there are some moments that feel genuine but most of it so.....so fake and just feel they are detached.

Edited 3 times. Last edit by Aleksi Ranta on 10th June 2018 12:14pm

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Klaus Preisinger Freelance Writing 4 months ago
why [...] are theses prezzers always, ALWAYS, so damn cringy?
Because you cannot expect Vince Zampella to dominate the audience with charm in the way a major Hollywood star can. Especially when filming from inside the crowd. The same is true for the eSport stars and Livestreamers. They do not have that homefield advantage Chris Hemsworth has when hitting a talkshow.

It also does not help when the overall theme is appeasing customers and investors at the same time. That leaves you with a lot of phrasing which is meant to mean different things to different people. 'The joy of subscribing' is the ultimate bastard sentence. It wants to promise customers more endorphins and reassure investors that new methods of earning money are being developed. Not to speak of having to cater to retail chain representatives.

Then there is the inherent EAness of things. Like attempting the most indie thingy ever by creating a charming little puzzle platformer and then following it up with the least indie, but most EA thing of them all: a direct sequel. Or doing yet another mobile game that might be received well on its own, but then gets the branding of a popular IP. Movie products may also heavily try to leverage every bit of nostalgia, but they do so with full production value movies, not a low budget 12 part webseries. Fans of IPs that died 20 years ago still get a new Jurassic movie, a new Terminator, a new Star Wars. Three years ago C&C Rivals would have had Plants vs. Zombies branding and visuals and everybody knows it.

Compare that to Blizzard, which runs its own convention in the purest form of fanservice. Compare that to Bungie, which does not wait until the right suits are in a big auditorium, they schedule around the live streaming habits of their core audience. Compare that even to Capcom, who do not require non eSport events to shine light on their eSport efforts, since they do that during actual eSport events. EA brand marketing still has a lot of room to grow.
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Aleksi Ranta Category Management Project Manager 4 months ago
Compare for example Bethesda and EA. Their press conference output is like night and day.
I can watch the bethesda press again, I just cant bring myself to watch the EA again, ever.
The way they presented their offering is totally different, the other presented for gamers and paying customers, the other one was pumping out fluff, flashing lights, social media "influencers" and investor lipservice.

If EA was to present itself in a more humble and honest way, im sure that wouldnt work out so well either, would seem even more artifical than it is now. Im no communications expert but is the image and message that EA is delivering really thought out? I mean really?

Enough of my ramblings, subscriptions ftw...
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