EA Access is a new subscription service on the Xbox One by Electronic Arts. Being a paid member of the service gives you access through the EA Access Hub to download games from “The Vault” for free for as long as you are a member. You are also privy to discounts on current titles as well as have access to new titles when they hit Xbox One as early as 5 days in advance.
You can actually download the “App” for free on the Xbox One so that you can really see what you are missing. Once you have the app, you can sign up for either a month-to-month plan for $4.95/month or $29.99 for a year’s subscription. What makes it interesting is how EA, as a non-console-owning, third party publisher, is situating themselves into a position that is currently held strictly by Microsoft (Games with Gold) and Sony (PlayStation Plus). Essentially, it’s another membership in order to play free games.
So, as an individual that pays for Xbox Live Gold and PlayStation Plus already, I was at first hesitant to fork over the money to play last year’s FIFA and Madden along with Battlefield 4 and Peggle 2 (which I already owned). But then I started thinking about the future. I could play FIFA14 now, and use that 5-day head start when NHL15 and Dragon Age: Inquisition hit. I became intrigued enough to pay for year and try it out.
The EA Access Hub itself is simply a bolt-on to the Xbox Games Store, and in its current condition is not that great. When you pick a game in The Vault, the app pushes you to the Xbox Games Store for that game’s storefront page and you choose to Install the game bypassing the Buy option. While this was easy to do, it was not the smoothest transition and I wished I could have just done it all from the EA Access Hub itself. My hope is the app becomes more stable in the future.
Currently, the EA Access Hub is only on the Xbox One as Sony has deemed it “not a good value”. While I can understand that in its current form, it may not be the best value, I really feel as a consumer that whether or not something is a good value should be left for me to make that decision for myself and not a large corporation that seems to be more worried about competition and its own bottom line.
So far, the EA Access service seems to be a good value for me and my gaming habits. I’ve enjoyed my time with FIFA and am content with the fact I can go to the game at any point over the next year. I will say I’m a little disappointed that it appears the Madden 15 demo is behind the paywall, which is fine for me, but seems senseless in the grand scheme of things – though it is understandable, even if I don’t agree with the practice. Also, not including Titanfall somewhere, anywhere in the service is confusing and odd, but overall I like what I’m seeing. Now, I just have to wait until NHL15 drops.