We’ve all dreamed of a day when playing your favorite games would become easier. Most people guessed that better support for digital games on this generation’s consoles would translate to a better experience overall. It’s doubtful whether anyone was thinking about something like the still relatively new EA Access subscription service when they were dreaming up wild fantasies of how great gaming on the Xbox One with digital titles would be like.
When you cut through the rhetoric and the novelty of a new service being made specifically for gamers, does EA Access save real users real money? Does it provide them with amenities they can’t get anywhere else? At $4.99 is EA Access worth buying?
As with most things, digital and otherwise, it depends on what kind of person you are.
What is EA Access?
EA Access a subscription service from Electronic Arts. Users pay $4.99 for the service monthly or $29.99 a year to get access to different games loaded inside what Electronic Arts is calling The Vault. The Vault, is simply a collection of digital video games that EA Access subscribers can download without having to pay full price. These games don’t come on a disc. They’re installed directly to the Xbox One’s hard drive. Think of it as Netflix, but for video games rentals.
When the service first debuted, only Xbox One games made it to The Vault. Since then, EA has opened the service up to games that are part of its Xbox One Backwards Compatibility Program.
Thinking of it as a rental service is key. If a user stops paying for EA Access, all the games they’ve downloaded through the service stop working. Users can pick up the subscription and those games will begin working again, but that’s how it works – no pay, no play.
Though the digital video game downloads are the most important part, EA Access is also part loyalty program. EA Access subscribers get 10% off each Electronic Arts game that they purchase through the Xbox One Store. Users also get access to new video games five days earlier than their release on store shelves. So for example, Madden NFL 15’s official release date wasn’t until August 26th. However, EA Access users were able to trial the game on August 21st.
Lately, EA has also rolled in exclusive sales for EA Access subscribers, discounting some of their most popular titles by very large amounts.
Is EA Access a Good Deal?
So is EA Access a good deal? Should Xbox One owners rush to their console to pick up a subscription to play Electronic Arts’ selection of games for $4.99?
EA Access has a lot of extras that sound great if you’re looking for a new loyalty program, that blanket 10% off digital video games will definitely save subscribers some money if they’re big fans of Electronic Arts’ video games. Users who purchase a brand new Electronic Arts Xbox One title a month will break even on that first game, saving $6 off a $60 purchase. Of course, users will need to buy new games at full price every month to really make this perk of EA Access alone worth $4.99 a month. It’s also worth noting that potential EA Access subscribers should consider what getting access to Electronic Arts’ games five days early is worth to them.
One issue worth noting is EA’s sudden about face with adding all games. For a while every game that it released came to EA Access. Additionally, they were all eligible for the purchase discount. Titanfall 2 shattered that tradition. It won’t be available through EA Access for trial. Worse, discounts won’t apply to it either. That’s definitely a step in the wrong direction.
Deals and loyalty stuff aside, EA Access is all about making digital video game rentals more palatable. I’m sure that Electronic Arts is petting that EA Access is a gateway drug, that people who subscribe will slowly begin to appreciate the convenience of digital game downloads. Forget spending a lot of money to buy a physical copy that you’ll sell in a few months time anyway, just purchase a subscription and download the games you want to play.
What Games Are a Part of EA Access?
The bet succeeds only because EA Access has a pretty dynamite line-up of video games available in The Vault. Right now, that digital download line-up consists of:
- NBA Live 16
- Rory McIlroy PGA Tour
- FIFA 16
- NHL 16
- Madden 16
- Battlefield Hardline
- Dragon Age Inquisition
- FIFA 15
- Battlefield 4
- Madden NFL 15
- Plants vs Zombies Garden Warfare
- NHL 15
- EA Sports UFC
- Need for Speed Rivals
- NBA Live 15
- Peggle 2
- FIFA 14
- Madden 25
- Plants vs Zombies
Recently, EA added access to Madden NFL 16, less than a year after it’d debuted on disc. This means that for the very first time, EA Access subscribers can play a current game in the franchise alongside their friends who paid full price for the game. $30 is a lot more palatable than $40 knowing that there’ll be a new Madden NFL title out this summer.
Is EA Access Worth Buying?
Whether EA Access is worth subscribing to depends on how users answer a few questions.
Do you play games made by Electronic Arts often? Yes, than that’s a point towards getting the service. Are you fine with games disappearing if you stop paying? No, then don’t get the service. The biggest question you have to consider is whether you trust Electronic Arts to add more games to The Vault on an ongoing basis. The service launched in 2014 with a pretty slim roster of games. It’s blossomed since then, proving Electronic Arts is committed to keeping the service alive and enticing.
EA Access is worth buying, even if you just want to try out a game for a single month. $4.99 is a small price to pay for easy access to great sports titles and games that haven’t come out yet.