EA Access. Source: EA.
surprised the gaming world by unveiling a new subscription
download service for
Xbox One. Called EA Access, gamers can pay $5 per month for
unlimited access to the company's latest titles on the video game
console. Gamers in for the long haul can buy an annual membership
EA Access currently features recent games
Madden NFL 25
. Additionally, EA Access members will get a 10% discount on
digital content. The service has begun rolling out as a limited
beta, but EA said in a press release it will launch exclusively
on Xbox One in the near future. The final benefit is that members
will get to play free trials of upcoming titles five days before
. Source: EA.
Is EA Access a good deal or not?
Depends on who you ask
Subscription models are a great way for companies to monetize
older content. Look no further than
for evidence of that, as the company's video streaming catalog
primarily consists of older movies and TV shows. The content
owners that license these older flicks to Netflix are happy to
bring in some extra money. Even
's Marvel offers its Marvel Unlimited subscription, allowing
unlimited digital access to thousands of older comics.
The big difference with EA Access is that it features brand
new titles, so the value proposition is much more compelling. EA
noted that buying all four of the titles currently offered would
cost over $100. If you're a gamer who beats games and shelves
them without looking back and enjoys EA titles, then EA Access
could be a steal of a deal. EA will hope to maintain that value
as it adds new games to the catalog.
doesn't think it's that good of a deal.
If you ask Sony
A Sony representative told
that the company "evaluated" but rejected EA Access as a
subscription service since "it does not bring the kind of value"
that Sony's game base expects. That's at least one reason why EA
partnered with Microsoft instead.
Sony's competing PlayStation Plus service has taken off after
the launch of the PlayStation 4. Sony says membership has tripled
since the next-generation console launched late last year,
underscoring the value that PlayStation Plus brings to the table.
Much like EA Access, PlayStation Plus includes unlimited access
to a catalog of games and discounts on digital content. However,
PlayStation Plus is not limited to EA titles. It's worth noting
that PlayStation Plus does cost more: $10 for one month or $50
for one year.
Xbox One. Source: Microsoft.
Meanwhile, Sony is expanding its subscription offerings, such
as PlayStation Now. Unveiled earlier this year at
, PlayStation Now streams games to a variety of Sony devices.
PlayStation Now also leverages the company's 2012 acquisition of
streaming start-up Gaikai. Pricing for the service appears a
right now, but Sony could quickly adjust the cost if demand
proves tepid. PlayStation Now is a different type of service than
EA Access, and Sony appears more interested in pursing its own
Everyone has an agenda
Microsoft also has its own Xbox Live Gold subscription service.
Just like EA Access and PlayStation Plus, it offers access to
games and digital discounts. Xbox Live is widely considered one
of Microsoft's biggest strategic successes with the Xbox, and it
has been around much longer than EA Access and PlayStation
Plus. One important factor is that Microsoft requires an
Xbox Live Gold subscription to play online multiplayer games.
Sony seems to have taken this lesson to heart, recently
implementing a similar requirement for PlayStation 4. That could
help explain why PlayStation Plus membership has tripled since
last November. At the same time, the PlayStation 4
continues to outsell
the Xbox One, which could make Microsoft more open to
partnerships that could differentiate its console.
More from The Motley Fool:
Warren Buffett Tells You How to Turn $40 into
Sony Thinks EA's New $5 Subscription Service for
Xbox One is a Bad Deal
originally appeared on Fool.com.
Evan Niu, CFA
owns shares of Netflix and Walt Disney. The Motley Fool
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