Yesterday afternoon EA announced a new service for the Xbox One called EA Access. This subscription service cost 5 dollars a month or 30 dollars a year. It gives the users free games, discounts on everything EA, and the ability to play games early. Instantly I was excited yet confused, happy yet cautious. There are always two crazy parts to every new video game related announcement. The rush of discovering the information while uncovering the mysteries and the hilarious yet obnoxious voices of the vocal minority of gamers.
I could hear the collective groans and ignorant complaints across the internet within seconds. Oh no, the gaming industry is nickel and diming us yet again. It costs money so it must be bad! It’s making things free so it must be bad! It gives me discounts on games and DLC so it must be bad! EA is the worst company in America! Well, not any more, after winning (or losing) two years in a row for the WCIA (Worst Company in America), Comcast dethroned EA in 2014. The comical thing about this competition is that most of the companies in the running aren’t even “bad”. They are just successful. McDonalds, Chase, Bank of America, Wal-Mart, Time Warner—one could argue that some of these companies have downsides, but you won’t hear apologies from them for thriving and making money. So is EA bad news? Are they just ripping us off? Well let’s dive into the features of the service and find out.
It costs money so it must be bad!
There are 3 benefits for EA access. The vault, play for less, and play first. The vault, according to the official EA access website, let’s you binge on EA’s best Xbox One games (sorry NBA Live 14). It’s essentially a chest of EA games that users of the service will be able to open up, download, and own for free. Right now the vault has 4 games; Battlefield 4, Fifa 14, Madden 25, and Peggle 2. The first 3 games are still 60 dollars to download on the Xbox store; they go for 50 dollars at retail stores. Peggle 2, in some ways the best game of the bunch, is only 12 dollars. Play for less allows you to do just that, play for less. Every downloadable EA property is 10% off. Whether that’s a full game, DLC, or any in game purchases. If EA publishes it and it’s in the Xbox store, you will get it for 10% off if you are a member of EA access. Play first is a very cool feature, it allows you to play all EA games 5 days before they launch for free. If I’m interpreting it right, you get to play this game for those first 5 days and then once it officially launches you can’t play it anymore unless you fork over the cash for the full game. The nice part about that is that it will be 10% off and everything you did in those first 5 days will be saved so you can jump right back into the action and pick up where you left off.
The free vault games at the launch of the EA Access Beta
So here’s the big question, is it worth the money? In almost every way you look at it, yes it is! First off let’s say you don’t own any of those free games. That’s over 150 dollars worth of games you’re getting for free right now. And the vault only has four games in it with plenty more to come. Maybe you own most of those vault games, like me, I owned Peggle, Madden, and Fifa. But I didn’t own Battlefield 4, so I just got a 60 dollar game for 30 dollars. Last time I checked that’s a pretty nice bargain. The vault will continue to have games added to it, how many and what games is something we don’t know yet. But this vault service is very similar to games with gold for the Xbox consoles and the free games given out by Sony for Playstation Plus members. There are even sneaky ways you can acquire EA access virtually for free. Do you own the disc form of Fifa 14? Go sell it to best buy and they will give you 27 dollars. Now use that 27 dollars to get EA access and you’ll get Fifa 14 right back for free (and of course all the other features of EA access) and you will have only spent 3 dollars. Getting 10% off will add up if you are an avid gamer. If you buy 4 new EA games you will get your 30 dollars back. Buying 4 EA games in one year may be pushing it for some of us. But maybe a combination of two new EA games and some DLC thrown in there will get you closer to that 30 dollar mark. Are you a sports junky? Those MUT cards in Fifa and Madden can add up quite quickly! Even if it doesn’t add up to 30 dollars in discounts at the end of the year, you will still get the free games and the admittance to playing games early which make this service very much worth it. Now the play first feature you can’t really put a dollar sign on. It’s just a really awesome idea. Getting a game 5 days early is an amazing option in our give it to me now culture that we live in. Especially with video gamers when we are counting down the days until we get our hands on our next addicting fix. But it’s not just early access, it’s free. It’s like a glorified demo of the game; it’s the whole version of the game, for free for 5 days. This is like Gamefly meets Steam early access. I don’t know how you can calculate what this part of EA access is worth, but all I know is that it’s extremely cool and one of my favorite things about the service.
Everything completed in the 5 day trial of the game will be waiting for us when we come back
Now we do have some reasons to be skeptical. For one thing all Titanfall related content won’t be a part of this service. That’s pretty sad in my eyes. But I don’t think this is EA’s fault. Remember the guys who started Respawn Entertainment got destroyed by their last publishing partner, so when they got EA to publish Titanfall, I’m sure in the negotiations Respawn wanted EA to have almost no control over money aspects of the game. The other thing that’s a bit scary with this service is that EA’s library isn’t really that big for the Xbox one. And not a whole lot of games are in the near future. On their website they list Mirrors edge and Star Wars Battlefront as upcoming games; both are over a year out. But we can still count on all the sports games, Battlefield, Pop Cap games, and others to be on the way. The vault is one more thing that gives reasons for trepidation. Although it’s amazing to have free games, we don’t know what games will be added, how many will be added, how often they will be added, etc. Some of these problems are the same problems that occur with Games with Gold and Playstation Plus. But they have the benefit of a much larger “vault” of games to choose from and they are on a monthly schedule so users of the service don’t have to fear about when the next free game will arrive. EA has a smallish library and have not yet made an announcement of how many games and how often they will be added to the vault, this is my personal biggest reason for skepticism.
No discounts on Titanfall DLC makes Bam sad:(
And then there’s one other thing that people are screaming bloody murder about—why is this only on the Xbox One? It’s not on the Xbox 360 because Microsoft and EA are using this as a promotion for next gen and the next step in gaming. Why is it not on the PS4? That’s entirely Sony’s decision. In an e-mail to Game Informer a Sony representative said, “We don’t think asking our fans to pay an additional $5 a month for this EA-specific program represents good value to the PlayStation gamer.” They evaluated the service and decided they don’t want two different subscriptions in their ecosystem. This makes little sense to me, Sony wouldn’t be asking the fans to do a thing—they would just be giving them the choice. More options is almost always a good thing.
We have no plans to remove games from The Vault, If one does leave, you’ll be notified and can purchase with your discount.
@EAAccess Twitter Account – 7/30/14
A lot of internet explosions come from uninformed immature groups of people that love to hate. So many don’t take the time to pay attention to all of the information and make a logical evaluation and conclusion. If we come up with a stance on something after we’ve soaked up all the facts and thoroughly thought about the subject than that’s great. Tell me what you think and share your thoughts. But please don’t squeal and shriek and cry like a 14 year old that finds out Justin Bieber has a new girlfriend. (He doesn’t even know or care that you exist small child, I’m very sorry) Personally I think the service is pretty cool. For a cheap 30 dollars I already got my money’s worth by downloading Battlefield 4. 10% off is great and it does add up. I hope the vault get’s filled with goodies and I hope they announce a schedule for how often new games get added. And honestly playing the game 5 days early is the most refreshing and brilliant part of the service for me. And here’s the kicker ladies and gentlemen, are you ready for this? I hope what you’re about to read isn’t too shocking and revolutionary for you… You don’t have to subscribe to this service! Whaaaaaaaaaaaat? That’s right; nothing about this service is forced on you. You won’t be ripped out of some exclusive content. No one is about to pickpocket your hard earned money. This is an optional service, if you don’t like it, don’t subscribe. But know that your buddies may be playing games like Mirrors Edge five days before anyone else; they may be saving money on Battlefield Hardline and those sweet new maps; they may be opening the vault and getting their hands on free games and free fun. Well, not entirely free, 30 bucks dumped directly down the drain, right?
I’ve been a hardcore gamer ever since my little 3 year old eyes glared at level 1-1 on Super Mario Bros for the NES. I love talking about games, writing about games, making fun of games and taking games seriously too. I love making videos, articles, and more about helpful guides, reviews, and more. I’m a Nintendo fanboy at heart. But I got an Xbox 360 in 2006 and I’ve become a Xbox psycho as well.
If I could spend forever doing what I do with this site I’d be very happy. Check out my “Bam rants” editorials with my thoughts on tough topics as well as my guides and reviews and crazy shenanigans. Thanks!