EA has announced that it is launching a new subscription service on Xbox One. “EA Access” will give subscribers unlimited access to a bunch of older games for a few dollars a month, in an intriguing new business model for gaming.
Subscription services are increasingly becoming the norm for music and films, with the likes of Spotify and Netflix meaning that subscribers don’t have to pay for individual pieces of content. Could games soon be going the same way?
In the UK it’ll cost £3.99 and the initial slate of games includes the likes of Battlefield 4, Fifa 14, Plants vs Zombies 2 and Madden NFL 25. Signing up will mean subscribers will not just have access to “the vault” of archive games, but will also get early and discount access to newer games (like Fifa 15 and Battlefield Hardline) – though players will still have to pay individually for the new stuff. Titanfall has also been specifically flagged up as not being included.
What’s particularly intriguing is that this is being done on the Xbox One rather than an open platform like PC or Mac. This means that the subscription service has received the tacit consent of Microsoft – which you may have expected would want to control this type of distribution itself. (You can easily imagine MS launching its own Netflix-style service with Xbox Live).
It’ll be interesting to see if other companies follow suit. Surely the likes of Activision and Ubisoft must be planning similar? Heck, here’s hoping that Nintendo does the same thing too.
By James O'Malley | July 30th, 2014