We can’t really fault Electronic Arts from trying to do something different. The company’s latest invention, EA Access, gives subscribers early access to games before they become available on launch day and it allows you to trial new games and see if you want to own them or not. After all, once the trial period is up the game will either stay on your hard drive for you to purchase later and pick up where you left off or it’ll delete itself when you don’t take up the offer to buy it outright.
EA announced on Twitter finally what the trial period length could be, starting with a grand total of six hours for Madden NFL 15. Hit the jump for more info.
Six hours is actually a lot longer with the full game than most demos (at least the ones that we used to get on PC) will allow you. Back in the day some publishers would have just given you a small part of the game as a taster, others will limit your progress in the demo and others still will give you a time limit of between an hour and a day. And you know, they were all free. Testing out a game before you bought it with a demo downloadable for free just helps the buyer to make their own decision without any regrets later on.
Now, granted, the fact that we’re now expected to PAY to play what essentially amounts to a demo might anger you. To be fair, being an Access subscriber does bring you some benefits.
You get the six hour trials a week before launch, which is a nice option to give you incentive to take up a last-minute pre-order of the game if you liked it. It’s also a pre-load subscription, where you pay to download the game a week before the launch, avoiding the messy server issues and downtime from people hammering the Origin update servers. There will be game discounts, discounts on currency that may need to be bought in-game and possibly even exclusive or free DLC if you’re a EA Access subscriber.
It gets better from there. A recent article on Kotaku by Yannick Le Jacq delved a little deeper into EA’s offering and confirmed that games added to the Vault would stay in the Vault. Your progress will remain saved on the Xbox One and carries over to retail or digitally purchased copies of the game. Offline modes are available, allowing you to play offline for as much as you need to.
This would even function as a sort of marketing tool for EA. With the EA Access app on the Xbox One keeping track of your game installs, it could provide feedback on how many Access subscribers go on to buy the full game after trying out the demo. Perhaps they even include a feedback tool to see why people failed to buy the game when it launched. I’m still exactly zero percent interested in Access (I also don’t have a Xbox One) at this point but if it helps EA to improve their services and deliver better games then maybe that’s not such a bad thing.
EA’s frequently asked questions (FAQ) list is pretty clear about the fact that the pre-launch trial offers will differ from game to game with some titled offering full game access while others will offer access to, say, the multiplayer modes or a short section of a single-player campaign.
EA Access is currently available in Australia, Austria, Canada, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Mexico, New Zealand, Spain, United Kingdom, and the United States (which are also 12 of 13 original launch countries, Brazil excluded). The Xbox One launches in South Africa on 23 September 2014 with a bundle without Kinect, Forza Horizon 2 and FIFA15 for R6299.99 and a bundle with Kinect, FIFA 15 and Dance Central Spotlight for R7999.99