Video game developer Electronic Arts and Microsoft are fighting back against the assortment of discounts and services aimed at making digital video game purchases less than ideal. As a limited time promotion, the two are offering Free EA Access Days. EA Access on the Xbox One will remain unlocked for every Xbox Live Gold user the entire week, letting them download Battlefield Hardline, Madden NFL 25, Dragon Age Inquisition and more, at absolutely no additional fee.
Electronic Arts and Microsoft announced the Free EA Access Days late last week. Since then, news about the promotion has spread far as more gamers have downloaded the EA Access app to their Xbox One console in preparation. Free EA Access Days begins tomorrow, January 19th. The promotion will run until January 24th, according to a post on the EA Access Blog.
For the most part, there don’t seem to be any major gimmicks or catches with the offering. Any Xbox One owner at all that has subscribed to Microsoft’s Xbox Live Gold service gets unlimited access to Electronic Arts’ digital catalog through the EA Access app. Games that are downloaded through EA Access come complete with all extra downloadable content. Xbox One owners can play these games as much as they want for the week. Game saves from these titles are even transferable, meaning players can purchase the games at the end of the Free EA Access Days promotion and continue where they left of.
For its part, Electronic Arts is hoping that players will purchase a subscription to EA Access instead of the individual games. EA Access costs $4.99 a month or $29.99 a year for those willing to play up front. Microsoft touts this digital download service as one of the key differentiators for its Xbox One entertainment console.
Sony says that Electronic Arts approached it about offering EA Access on the PS4 too, but it turned the company down because it didn’t see the value in it for PlayStation customers. Digital games do seem to be growing fast. Retailer GameStop saw big declines in its business, which some analysis attribute to digital game sales muscling in on their business. Amazon added a 20% discount on games to its Amazon Prime subscription service last week. Most assumed that the discount was to attract more gamers from GameStop and Best Buy. It now seems more likely that Amazon is targeting digital game sales for consoles.
There are other benefits that come with EA Access, but Electronic Arts isn’t offering those up to everyone during the Free EA Access Days promotion.
The service is really just a low-cost way to access games in the publisher’s catalog that would otherwise get ignored or picked up in retailer’s discount bins once their successors arrive. As such, lots of Electronic Arts’ newer games aren’t available on the service. Instead of getting downloads of those titles, EA Access subscribers get trials of these titles. Star Wars Battlefront, Need for Speed, NBA Live 16 and Madden 16 all have free trials available through the service right now.
EA Access game saves work with both disc and digital copies of each game, but Electronic Arts makes it just a bit easier for users to buy digital right from Xbox Live. Titles that users purchase from the developer with the same account as their EA Access subscription save 10% off the purchase price of the game. The company has held limited time discounts for subscribers in the past. It discounted a number of titles during the EA Access Members Only Sale a few weeks ago.
The EA Access app has received an update in preparation for Free EA Access Days. It’s available in the Xbox Store to download now ahead of the promotion’s start tomorrow.