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Is Sony Right About EA's All Access Subscription Plan?

By - Source: CVG | B 33 comments

Image: Electronic ArtsImage: Electronic ArtsElectronic Arts announced a few weeks ago that it partnered with Microsoft to deliver EA Access to the Xbox One console. This subscription service, costing $4.99 per month (or $29.99 per year), provides "access" to what EA calls "The Vault." Right now, that "vault" consists of FIFA 14, Madden NFL 25, Peggle 2 and Battlefield 4.

Through this subscription service, customers have unlimited access to the four games as well as access to trials, which are made available five days before the retail game hits store shelves. Subscribers also receive a 10 percent discount when buying digital content from EA on the Xbox Games Store.

For now, Sony has declined to offer the EA Access service to PlayStation gamers, reporting that the subscription just doesn't provide enough value to Sony's customers. A Sony representative recently pointed out that PlayStation Plus memberships are up 200 percent which shows that PlayStation customers want access to a number of services at a very low price point, not just one.

"We don't think asking our fans to pay an additional $5 a month for this EA-specific program represents good value to the PlayStation gamer," the representative told GameInformer.

Microsoft seemingly thinks differently. Sure, the service is currently offering four games as a beta, and there's a good chance that many Xbox One owners will swoop in just to play Battlefield 4, but the game itself originally retailed for $60, and Amazon currently shows a price tag of $28.09. That's slightly lower than the subscription, yet the subscription has three additional games plus whatever EA decides to throw into the Vault in the near future.

Perhaps as the Vault gets bigger, Sony may take a step back and re-evaluate the EA Access situation. EA chief operating officer Peter Moore said on Thursday that more AAA titles will make their way into the Vault and that titles will not be removed. However, don't expect to see every AAA title in the subscription service.

"New game additions will be determined by franchise and timing," he told CVG. "We have to make decisions along that way, so there's no template, like 30 days after a game ships it goes into the Vault. I think one of the key things is that once a game goes into the Vault it stays there, it's not going to be taken out, that's a commitment we've made."

That sounds like an incredible value despite Sony's reluctance. Even more, subscribers will get early access to Dragon Age: Inquisition as well as FIFA 15, Madden NFL 15, NBA Live 15 and NHL 15. If customers decide to purchase the game, their saved progress will carry over so that gamers aren't required to start from the beginning.

Unfortunately, Activision fans won't see a similar service anytime soon. Activision Publishing CEO Eric Hirshberg said during a post-earnings financial call this week that the company is always looking for "new opportunities" to better serve its customers and the community. If a business model is proven, then Activision may pursue it if it makes sense.

"But right now we're continuing to focus on the things we discussed on our call, which include a wide range of business and monetization models, all of which will deliver we think the best experience for our fans and a great return for our shareholders," he said.

Is EA making the right move by offering a subscription service? Do Sony and Activision have a point? Right now all we can do is watch what happens with EA Access. The plan sounds like a good deal, especially when additional blockbuster titles start popping up.

EA Access is slated to launch on the Xbox One "soon."

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  • 2 Hide
    knowom , August 8, 2014 11:53 AM
    This $29.99 per year access game leasing this would be a much better and more enticing deal if at the end of the year you could pick and choose one of the titles to keep. I think that would make it a easier pill to swallow for a lot of people at that point especially if the game library expands which I expect it will a bit.
  • 4 Hide
    ldun , August 8, 2014 12:33 PM
    so you can pay 20-30$ for a single game that you can keep "forever" or rent multiple games, that who knows how long they'll be available for, for 30$ a year. I'll pass
  • -7 Hide
    moshman , August 8, 2014 12:39 PM
    This is a day 1 $30 annual subscription for me. Ill make up the $30 twice over with the 10% discount on all digital purchases. Plus you get all the games in the vault which never go away and 5 day early access to new releases...awesome deal !
  • Display all 33 comments.
  • 2 Hide
    deftonian , August 8, 2014 1:39 PM
    I'm going to say that EA doesn't usually do anything unless it's trying to make a quick profit at the moral cost of it's users (us)... so I'm a bit "iffy" about this. I think I back Sony and say that it's not a sweet enough deal right now but if EA continues to drop good games in there, I can see how it may have some value down the line. Let's just wait and see how EA screws this one up... err, I mean handle this. I strongly hope that EA proves us wrong and makes this subscription worth it.
  • -1 Hide
    eklipz330 , August 8, 2014 2:27 PM
    so you can pay 20-30$ for a single game that you can keep "forever" or rent multiple games, that who knows how long they'll be available for, for 30$ a year. I'll pass
    ea are notorious for shutting down servers, so even their physical copies become useless in time. and there is no way they're going to be offering origin like sales on consoles because they don't have STEAM like competition. on PC, STEAM is king. Valve sets the rules. EA is just a follower. as they are on consoles.

    this can either be a really good or really bad move. think about it.

    it can clearly be a bad move since sony is in no position to dictate what is a good value for a consumer. an idiot is going to throw their money at anything regardless, so this is irrelevant. furthermore, sony is a corporation that is out for profit, as is EA, so this is a bit hypocritical. my guess is that sony requested a cut of the money and ea denied.

    how can this be a good decision?
    EA doesn't have the greatest reputation at this time. people HATE EA so much that they'll do anything to avoid business with them. so who is going to befriend Sony? as the old adage goes "the enemy of my enemy is my friend". i know this can be farfetched, but in terms of reputation and how loud voices can be on the internet, i bet this can be far reaching.
  • 8 Hide
    SirGCal , August 8, 2014 2:52 PM
    I, for one, am anti-EA. But that asside, I would not do this for any other company either. They plan to do it like paid apps and you have to buy more DLC (not included in the subscription), buy extras, etc. It's a nickle and dime plan and I'm against those all the way.
  • 0 Hide
    skit75 , August 8, 2014 3:20 PM
    Not too many games have the replay-ability these days to warrant the keeping forever concept, in my humble opinion. Can't say I would be a fan of a company specific subscription either. I was late to join Steam but over the last couple years, I must say they have an impressive model, excellent sales and great selection of games with quality download speeds. I get can sustain about 7MB/s downloads from them. I do get twice that bandwidth(~15MB/s) from Origin but Steam is where it is at. =)

    I think Sony has a good dog in this fight.
  • 1 Hide
    damric , August 8, 2014 5:00 PM
    You guys stop kidding yourselves.

    You don't "buy" games anymore. You lease them. You don't "own" anything in your EA account, nor your Steam account. Read your terms of use.
  • 0 Hide
    rayden54 , August 8, 2014 5:12 PM
    Right now, I'd agree with Steam. If they add more and better games, we'll see.
  • 0 Hide
    jasonelmore , August 8, 2014 5:38 PM
    The only developer in which i would pay $30 a year for tons of there games, is UBISOFT. Seriously, they make great games.
  • -1 Hide
    fakhar362 , August 8, 2014 11:27 PM
    So according to Sony, $50 a year for renting games is fine but $30 a year for renting games is bad, not that i am saying EA's subscription is any better as i don't like the idea of renting games instead of owning them
  • 2 Hide
    Bloob , August 9, 2014 12:17 AM
    Sony just doesn't want competition for their Now -service.
  • 0 Hide
    Phillip Wager , August 9, 2014 2:45 AM
    i think that this shows some for-sight to combat piracy in the future and it also leads to their goal of taking gamestop and the 2nd hand market completely out of the picture if they add all of their games to the vault. however still having to pay for dlc is what makes me say that this deal is not worth it considering it is EA dlc is just a ripoff.
  • 1 Hide
    Anonymous , August 9, 2014 2:59 AM
    Perhaps Sony should respect its customers enough to let them decide what is valuable to them. I really don't see any immediate conflict of interests if Sony offers EA's service as an optional add-on to their regular PSN. Although most probably what is going on is that Sony thinks their PS4 is doing so well that they could make EA give them a substantial cut of the profits and EA doesn't think the cut Sony is asking for is really worth it.
  • -2 Hide
    Jmich246 , August 9, 2014 6:50 AM
    It is $30 FOR A YEAR..... So many Cheap asses out there.... I make that in less than1 hour at my job......I bought it without hesitation.
  • 0 Hide
    Doug Lord , August 9, 2014 7:01 AM
    I'm really torn on this one. Any 5 star EA title I will buy before it goes into the vault. So this would be mainly filler for me.
  • 0 Hide
    Doug Lord , August 9, 2014 7:04 AM
    Seems most of the people that are against this are against it because they are really skeptical of EA keeping it's word and offering good value (with good reason) or they are Sony fanboys.

    It would be great if EA threw in an option for 360 and PC as well and then gave you access to their huge back catalogue.
  • 0 Hide
    4745454b , August 9, 2014 7:58 AM
    If nothing else it at least shows thinking outside the box. Any/all options, even if they aren't for most, will be liked by some. So I say the more options the better.

    At this point I'm going with no. 4 games, none of which I care about, for $30 a year which I assume I can't play again if I don't renew next year doesn't do it for me. If they keep adding games and keep the price/year down this might be worth it for some. Sort of like a gamers Hulu or Netflix. Worked for TV, might work for games as well. (I'm also a PC gamer, so until this comes to Origin I say meh.)
  • 0 Hide
    RedJaron , August 9, 2014 5:25 PM
    Perhaps Sony should respect its customers enough to let them decide what is valuable to them.

    I agree there. It may not be a deal I like, but I don't think it would be a bad thing to at least offer it. Those people that think they'll make the $30 back in discounts may want to rethink this. You'd need to spend $300 on games normally within one year. That's five or six full titles, or a whole lot of DLC. That said, I know a few people who sold their BF4 for ~$30 to pay for a subscription, so there are definitely ways to make it work.

    Sony isn't being fully honest in the PS+ subscription rates, though. Increasing 200% sounds nice, but how many of those are new PS4 users who have to buy them to get multiplayer?

    That said, I'm a PS3 user and have been happy with PS+ for a while now. I think I'm an atypical gamer, though. I don't buy many things day one, week one, or even month one. My gaming time is limited, and I've got a fairly large backlog in my "Games to Play" list. The benefit there is that I can usually grab the games six months to a year after they release and get some nice deals on them. PS+ also regularly has 50% - 75% off deals on games, bundles, and DLC for all publishers, not just EA. Granted, it's a grab-bag whether those deals are on products you actually want. I figure I save about $30 / year on purchases with my PS+ and the other $20 pays for the numerous free games I get. For me, it's a good deal, but I understand that others may not get that much worth out of it.
  • 0 Hide
    juusu101 , August 9, 2014 9:02 PM
    When and which digital purchases receive the 10% discount is at EA's discretion. I'd sit on this for a few months before committing money to it.
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