Yesterday, EA announced EA Access, an Xbox One exclusive subscription based service that will allow gamers to play games from their back catalog for a recurring fee. $5 a month (or $30 a year) will net you unlimited playtime with the latest Madden and FIFA releases, as well as Battlefield 4 and Peggle 2, with EA being unclear as to whether games will rotate out of the service or not after the beta period has ended. In addition, subscribers will get 10% discounts on digital downloads of EA products new and upcoming, and the chance to play new retail games five days before their proper release date. Since the announcement, Sony has stated that they declined involvement with the program, and indicated that EA would still be involved with its similar Playstation Plus initiative.
I imagine that this new and seemingly consumer friendly program has everything to do with EA’s new CEO wanting to shake things up and try something new, as well as win back some gamers who have been frustrated with the publishers recent actions to say the least. If successful on Xbox One, I could foresee Origin on the PC shedding its Steam rival skin in order to become an EA Access portal, with Ubisoft and others following suit not long after. Games lose most of their selling power when there are spare Humble Bundle codes flying around everywhere, so it only makes sense to also include them in this kind of service, and I’d gladly pay $30 for late access to Dragon Age or Battlefield: Hardline rather than pay full price to try them out on day one. They told us it was coming for years, but it seems that games as a service is finally here.