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EA Access could be bigger than Steam

by Zaid Kriel (Zaid)  Posted Wednesday, July 30, 2014 8:49:00 AM

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Electronic Arts have announced an innovative new subscription-based game service on their official blog called EA Access.

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It is an all-new monthly or annual membership service that will be exclusively available on the Xbox One.

What's in The Vault

EA Access will cost $4.99 (R52.91) a month or $29.99 (R312.13) and is currently in a closed beta for a limited number of players, but the company says it "will launch for everyone on Xbox One soon". What EA Access membership actually gives you for your money is entrance to The Vault, which is a collection of EA’s titles currently available on Xbox One. During the beta, subscribers will be given "unlimited access to four great EA games: FIFA 14, Madden NFL 25, Peggle 2 and Battlefield 4". EA says the library will be expanded going forward.

Aside from that EA Access also comes with two additional value adding benefits, which are a 10% discount on EA's digital offerings for their Xbox One content. That includes games like the upcoming Dragon Age: Inquisition and other membership services like Battlefield 4 Premium. The other, more interesting benefit is early access to unreleased games.

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EA Access members will be able to trial play Madden NFL 15, NHL 15, FIFA 15, NBA LIVE 15, and Dragon Age: Inquisition, before those games are released and should they decide to buy the game, any progress made will remain, so gamers can carry on where they've left off. 



Closing Thoughts

On the face of it, this doesn't seem like such a bad idea. The popularity of the services like Netflix had already proven that subscription based service work for both consumers and content providers. However, the win-win of a situation like this depends heavily on two things: A high quality of service and plurality of content. At the moment EA Access has neither of those things.

The appearance of the first one is still nebulous at this juncture and we'll only really know how well EA Access works once we have, err, access to it. And we can't ignore the fact that this is EA we're talking about, a company that has twice been voted the worst company in America. That kind of reputation doesn't inspire one with confidence, especially for a product that will hinge on quality service delivery.

The second thing, though, isn't really something I think EA can deliver on. EA has a big library of games and if they were launching EA Access with a more substantial selection of games, then there might be more to talk about. If R50 a month could get me access to EA's entire game library, stretching back to their earliest days, then that's a service I could perhaps get behind. With only FIFA 14, Madden NFL 25, Peggle 2 and Battlefield 4 to start with really narrows the overall appeal. However, there is time for that to change.

Also problematic is the fact that it's only on Xbox One. A program like this really needs to have a wider net of prospective customers. EA Access should really be available on as many platforms as possible. Xbox 360, PlayStation's 3 & 4, the PC and mobile would really benefit from a system like this. Making it exclusive to the Xbox One seems like a hamstringing maneuver right off the starting blocks. But again, the program is still in a Beta and there is no reason to believe this program can't be rolled out onto more systems. 

If EA were somehow able to convince other publishers to include their titles in this program as well - imagine having getting games from 2K, Activision, Ubisoft and indies, for instance - then EA Access could really become a positive disrupting force in gaming, potentially giving Steam a run for its money as well. Consider, what sound more appealing: paying R50.00 a month to get unlimited access to the length and breadth of gaming history? Or splurging out on Steam sales? 

At the moment EA Access isn't really doing much, but being a simple, solid idea that has great potential.It could, however be something really grand. Here's hoping that EA can really deliver on that potential.

What do you think, could EA Access become a major gaming service, like Netfilx? Would subscribe to it?

Source: EA Blog

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Please note that the opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and not MWEB Connect (Pty) Ltd




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