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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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James Batchelor

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James Batchelor has been a journalist in the games industry since 2006, joining GamesIndustry in 2016, and also runs Non-Violent Game of the Day (@NVGOTD). He does play violent games, but always on Story/Easy mode.

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