Electronic Arts to use Netflix service model on Xbox

EA Access Xbox One

Imagine you’re Electronic Arts CEO Andrew Wilson and you’re grappling with a couple of franchises that seem to not only be making less money and sales year-on-year, but getting increasingly delayed to improve the quality of the product to make sure that you get your day-one sales and meet the requirements of your investors. The answer to this small problem is a subscription model for your games, just like Netflix.

EA today announced EA Access for the Xbox One, a service that’ll cost you $4.99 per month and will give you access to a range of games published by EA.

The service was announced in a blog post by EA on their website. It’s only available to Xbox One owners for now, but considering that it requires you to have an Xbox LIVE account at the same time, this service could be extended to the Xbox 360 as well. The service was created in a deal between Microsoft and EA, and there’s been no mention thus far about it coming to the PlayStation family.

“We have partnered with Microsoft to deliver EA Access, an all-new monthly (or annual) membership for gamers exclusively on Xbox One that starts at just $4.99 a month,” a company staff member wrote on the blog. “The service is being rolled out in beta to a limited number of players today, but it will launch for everyone on Xbox One soon.”

“At EA, we are always looking for new ways to make it for gamers to play more EA games across all platforms, and we are excited about what EA Access will offer to players on Xbox One.”

How it will work is a similar offering to Sony’s ideas with Playstation Now Plus, and how content is currently delivered on Netflix. Subscribers will get access to a revolving catalogue of games for the duration of their subscription (month to month), with the catalogue refreshing itself every month, possibly adding or removing one or two games to make way for more titles.

You can join EA Access for $4.99 per month, or you can purchase an annual membership for $29.99 per year through Xbox LIVE.

There’s more to it than just a list of games you can play. Here’s a (small) list of benefits gamers receive when signed up for EA Access:

  • Awesome Value – Besides the great games in The Vault, EA Access members will save 10% on purchases of EA digital content for Xbox One offered through the Xbox Games Store. From full digital-download titles like the upcoming Dragon Age: Inquisition or NHL 15, to additional membership services such as Battlefield 4 Premium or even FIFA Ultimate Team points, it’s all 10% off for members.
  • Play First – Membership in EA Access lets you experience trials of new EA games up to five days before the release date. It starts with Madden NFL 15, NHL 15, FIFA 15, NBA LIVE 15, and Dragon Age: Inquisition, but more are on the way. If you decide to buy the game, your progress will carry over so you can pick up right where you left off.

It also looks like someone has taken to heart the concerns over reviews of games being embargoed until the actual launch, although I wonder how this will affect reviewers. Being able to play the game yourself before launch to determine whether you want to buy it outright or not does take away some of the usefulness of game reviews and I suspect that a number of people will use this opportunity to stream their gameplay to Twitch or YouTube as well.

The EA Access beta will begin soon and all Xbox One owners will be able to try out FIFA 14, Madden NFL 25, Peggle 2 and Battlefield 4 for free.

Source: Electronic Arts