Electronic Arts has revealed a new program coming exclusively to Xbox One titled “EA Access.” A successor to last year’s “EA Season Ticket” experiment, EA Access brings much, much more to the table. Basically, Access acts like a Netflix-type service for EA’s library. Launching with a beta, Access is a dedicated Xbox One app that gives you, well, access to everything included in the service.
The first and most prominent feature is The Vault. What the Vault basically is is a collection of EA Games you can download and play immediately. While they’re not the newest of games, they’re not exactly old either. EA has launched four titles to start with: Battlefield 4, FIFA ’14, Madden 25, and Peggle 2. Note, I said download. Similar to Games with Gold, these titles are not streaming to you from server. You download them and may play them as long as you are subscribed.
The price is $4.99 per month or $29.99 for a year. Earlier, I said EA Access is currently in beta with a release date “coming soon.” Being in the Xbox preview program, I received a beta invite. Knowing all the details before hand, I purchased a year. Let’s run these numbers right quick. For $30 I get four games off the bat (EA says they are going to gradually add more). On Amazon, Battlefield 4 is currently $30, Madden 25 is $22, Peggle is $12 (on the Xbox One store) and FIFA ’14 still goes for a whopping $50 due to its massive popularity. That is $114 for these four games. Or I just pay $30 and get all of them, along with more being added. That’s already a great deal. Plus, I’m going to boldly predict Titanfall will go up very soon, and probably EA UFC by this Holiday season. Besides the following perks, this has already paid for itself.
The next perk is “Play First.” This was included in EA’s season ticket as well, but expands past sports into all of EA’s IPs. Essentially, Access members get to demo the full game five days before it comes out. This will start with all sports titles and Dragon Age: Inquisition. You don’t even have to purchase it. Is this the same concept of a demo? Sure, but it’s still the entire full game for free five days before launch. Furthermore, if you choose to purchase the game (at any point) your progress carries over.
Lastly, you get 10% off of all EA digital content bought through the Xbox One store. This goes for anything from new titles to season passes to DLC, and even ultimate team packs. Being a heavy NHL ultimate team player, this is really a great perk.
Now there is a double edged sword to this, but I’m happy to think either is great. I’ll use the example of NHL 15, releasing September 9th. No matter what, I get the game five days early. Then September 9th comes. I can A: Buy it digitally at 10% off and own it forever. Or B: I can buy it physically. While I won’t get the digital discount, I’m able to trade in games to lower that price. This is the part to remember. Obviously (like Sony and Steam) companies are trying to kill used games. This is ironic as Gamestop is selling EA’s Access Pass right in their stores. For Option B, while I’ll be able to sell the game once NHL 15 is added to the Vault (we’ll say May 2015, maybe) my trade in price will be dropped significantly for my physical copy because this service now exists. Amazon is also selling EA Access Pass. My trade in credit for the physical copy might deplete, but I’ll still have the game after trading it in. Plus, Gamestop has all kinds of promotions year round. Either way, you’re saving some money.
At the end of the day, the value is clearly there. Even if you aren’t into sports, Battlefield 4 and Peggle are on there. Titanfall will absolutely be added. You get all this stuff for the price of half of one new MSRP title. Even if you never ever take advantage of anything else they offer, that’s still pretty insane. A lot of the hate so far has been directed because it’s not on Playstation 4, or “lol EA sucks,” but for $30 for all this, it’s impossible to argue and in my opinion, is a step in a new, exciting direction.