Correction: This article originally states that EA Access gives players demos for upcoming games, but it actually enables subscribers to download the full game for a limited trial period.
After a short beta test, publisher Electronic Arts is officially launching its subscription service.
EA Access is live now for all Xbox One owners. Anyone can hop on Xbox Live now and pay the $5 for a month of the service or $30 for a full year — you don’t even need an Xbox Live Gold subscription. This will immediately give you access to the games in the publisher’s “Vault,” which so far includes FIFA 14, Madden NFL 25, Battlefield 4, and Peggle 2. More games will come to EA Access’s Vault in the future, and you will lose ownership of those games if you ever let your membership lapse.
This new business model is similar to Sony’s PlayStation Plus and Microsoft Xbox Live Gold. Both of those subscription services give players older games each month at no additional cost. EA, with its substantial back catalog, obviously believes it is well equipped to generate significant revenue on a regular basis with its own premium membership program. Sony also has PlayStation Now, which is a cloud-streaming service for PlayStation 3 games, but it doesn’t feature a subscription option.
EA Access also gives players a 10 percent discount on all upcoming EA digital games and downloadable content. That means you can save a few bucks on the digital version of NHL 15 on Xbox One as well as any map packs for Battlefield 4 you may end up purchasing.
In an effort to increase the apparent value of EA Access, the company is also promising that it will provide subscribers with full trials for upcoming games. Access subscribers can download and play Madden NFL 15, FIFA 15, NHL 15, and Dragon Age: Inquisition five days before their respective release dates for a limited period of time. Your progress from the trial even carries over into your full game when you purchase it.
While the full-trial system is exciting for subscribers, reports surfaced today that EA will not release an early demo for Madden NFL 15. The company has released demos for every recent Madden game, so the timing looks like it might relate to the EA Access program. A spokesperson for EA said that is not the case, however, and we’ve asked for more details about the company’s plans to release free demos for its games.
If you’re wondering when EA Access will hit PlayStation 4, well you’re gonna have a long wait ahead of you. Sony said no to the service as it felt it didn’t “represent good value to the PlayStation gamer.” It’s actually more likely that Sony didn’t want another subscription service splitting attention away from PlayStation Plus. For now, at least Xbox gamers get to make the decision about whether they find that EA Access represents a good value for themselves.