Today, playing Electronic Arts’ professional basketball game on the Xbox One costs $59.99, but a leak from Microsoft’s Xbox website indicates that will change very soon. A new image on the site shows that NBA Live 15 is joining the assortment of titles available through Electronic Art’s EA Access subscription service.
News of Electronic Arts adding NBA Live 15 to EA Access spread quickly after Microsoft quietly updated its Xbox One homepage to reflect the game’s inclusion in the service. A caption for the picture invites users to “get NBA Live 15 for free.” Clicking on the banner only takes users to the standard digital version of the game that Microsoft already sells in the Xbox Store. NBA Live 15 wasn’t yet listed in the EA Access Hub that Microsoft lets users download directly to their console. Normally, NBA Live 15 costs $59.99 digitally.
EA Access is a video game subscription service available exclusively on the Xbox One since this past summer. A year of the service costs users $29.99 a month while $4.99 gets Xbox One owners a month-long membership. In exchange for that, users get access to the Vault, a library of video games that they can download straight to their console – complete with any additional downloadable content at no additional charge. EA periodically adds to the EA Access Vault, giving users who haven’t subscribed more incentive to join. Today, the Vault offers Need for Speed Rivals, Madden NFL 25, FIFA 14, Battlefield 4, Peggle 2 and Plants vs Zombies: Garden Warfare. The last tile Electronic Arts added to the service was EA Sports UFC.
NBA Live 15 coming to EA Access is big news. It’s only the second high-profile sports game to be added to EA Access since launch. It doesn’t hurt that the service doesn’t offer a single basketball game today, somewhat limiting its appeal.
For EA Access to be successful as a video game subscription service Electronic Arts needs to keep adding fresh titles that Xbox One owners might want to invest in. The value is pretty clear for sports titles, new versions of Madden, FIFA and NBA Live arrive regularly. Before EA would have to convince buyers that it was worth buying a new copy of each franchise every year just to get new features. EA Access somewhat negates that. Users can subscribe to EA Access and play the games inside the Vault for as much as they want. Later they can choose to cancel the service if they don’t like the game or purchase a digital version outright and have their game save transfer over.
Besides easily downloadable titles for a flat rate, EA Access also includes other perks. Electronic Arts cuts the price of EA Access titles by 10% if they’re purchased through the Xbox Store. Additionally, EA Access subscribers get to play unreleased games before those who plan to purchase those same games in stores. It’s probably the best deal available in gaming today – provided you’re into any of the titles available in The Vault.
Unfortunately, EA Access isn’t yet available on the Xbox 360, Windows PCs or Sony’s PS4 gaming console. Last year, Electronic Arts confirmed that it’d approached Sony about offering the service too, but Sony didn’t see the value in offering it to its users. That’s not necessarily great for PS4 users, but it makes sense for Sony. The company offers PlayStation Now, a video game rental and streaming service of its own. The two services would have competed directly for the same users.
To subscribe to EA Access Xbox One owners should download the EA Access Hub from the Xbox Store. Then select the sign up button inside the app and choose whether they’d like to prepay for a year or a month. Xbox Live will immediately bill the payment method attached to the user’s Xbox Live account.