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Trying to Understand EA Access
I’m sure none of you other than Vader noticed, but I was out on vacation all last week (You were on vacation? - Ed. Vader). I was blissfully unplugged from the world (other than playing Diablo III on my PS3), which means I completely missed EA’s big announcement about their EA Access program. I’ve now written a news story about it, read a few other news stories about it, and I’ve read EA’s website on the matter. I’m still trying to wrap my head around why someone would subscribe to this service for $4.99 a month or $29.99 for a year (which is about half off a monthly subscription).
Now I admit when Sony first announced their PlayStation Plus service at E3 2010, I scoffed at it and dismissed it. Why pay $50 a year to get games you only get to keep if you keep the service? It wasn’t more than six months later that I became a proud subscriber, and I haven’t been disappointed yet in the service. Thanks to PlayStation Plus, I’ve been able to try out games I was curious about but would never buy for myself. I haven’t added up the monetary value of all of the games I have in my PS3, Vita, and PS4 libraries thanks to PSPlus, but I’m quite certain that it far exceeds how much money I’ve paid for the actual service.
Look, EA Access.
Look, more EA Access.
And that’s obviously what EA is going for with EA Access. Sony has been so successful, so maybe we can bottle the same lightning for the Xbox One? Not to mention, the Xbox One does need some love, something that the Games with Gold program is not exactly fulfilling.
But here’s what I can’t get away from: at least with PlayStation Plus, I have the opportunity to collect games from a wide variety of developers and publishers. So why would I want to pay $30 a year just to play games from one publisher? I can guarantee you I wouldn’t be singing praises for PlayStation Plus or be a subscriber if all I would receive were Sony published games or even PlayStation exclusives.
So yes, I had a similar response to McKayla Maroney.
However, me being me, trying to find the good points in everything, I forced myself to really think about why someone would want EA Access. Surely someone at EA has done marketing research on this and discovered that multiple people are just clamoring for this unlimited access for EA games at half the cost of one game. I’m going at this believing that this isn’t just EA trying to copy Sony and attempt to bank on what they’ve been so successful doing.
First thought went to fans of EA’s sports games as they are insanely loyal. They happily buy each iteration year after year, gleefully enjoying each little tweak made to the game over the prior year and of course, the various team roster changes. I don’t get it, but I also really liked Goat Simulator. I have no room to judge. Now if these games are part of the EA Access Vault each year, these sports game fans will climb over one another to sign up for the program first. Considering that the Xbox 360 was the console of choice for EA sports games in the past, moving to the Xbox One is most likely very natural over the PlayStation 4. Of course, EA could always ruin this by only offering last year’s games.
Maybe EA Access would appeal to Battlefield fans? There is a set of fans who prefer Battlefield over Call of Duty to out pew-pew-pew their friends. Perhaps they would like to have guaranteed access to the latest Battlefield game for the yearly fee. Or would this only apply for older Battlefield games? Maybe the new Battlefield games, like the sports games, will only be available via the early access portion of the subscription, where members can play new games up to 5 days ahead of release for a limited time. Surely skeptics over Battlefield: Hardline would love a chance to play a few rounds of the game with friends before deciding to take that $60 plunge.
But is $5/month or $30/year worth getting a chunk of the game before it releases? While I can see such a feature helping players decide if they want to buy a game or not, I can’t fathom why they would think paying a subscription for that service would make it worth it.
I almost wish I was part of the closed beta so I could see what EA is initially thinking first hand. Maybe the idea does have some merit. Maybe there are more EA games available in the Vault than I am currently thinking of. Maybe the Vault includes other PopCap games other than Peggle 2 or the Medal of Honor games...and I may have just talked myself out of being curious.
I don’t have the hatred toward EA so many other gamers do, but I can’t help but think this idea will fail. I almost want to get my popcorn ready when the program goes live later this year. If the subscription really and truly only offers older games in its Vault, I’ll roast some s’mores as well and join in on the pointing and laughing. Come on EA; think, man, THINK.
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