For the first time this console generation, Sony is jealous of Microsoft

Speaking of videogames, Electronic Arts announced an interesting offer in EA Access: for $5 a month or $30 a year, Xbox One owners can play all the games in EA’s so-called Vault, which currently consists of FIFA 14, Madden NFL 25, Peggle 2 and Battlefield 4; with presumably more in the pipeline.

You can also get 10% off EA titles purchased through the Xbox One game store.  If you’re planning on buying even one EA game, it’s worth getting EA Access for the 10%.  Essentially, EA Access comes free for one month with every >$50 game purchase.

This appears to be a modified approach of in-app purchases on mobile; i.e. lower barriers to adoption, create stickiness once adopted and monetize later via downloadable content.  If successful, it might even create network effects.

EA Access is smart for multiplayer games that benefit from a wider installed base.  Games like Battlefield are better with more opponents, so lowering barriers will increase the pool of players.  This will also make it easier for EA to launch new multiplayer titles to success; a new fighting game for example would likely have more people playing under this program than without.

There’s also ample opportunity for cross-promotion.  I would get EA Access just for Battlefield alone, but since FIFA, Madden and Peggle are included, I might as well give those games a try.  I might even get hooked on one of them and be compelled to purchase additional content.

A subscription model makes a lot of sense for sports games; paying a smaller fee instead of buying essentially the same game year after year.  It remains to be seen whether EA will add sports games to the Vault in a timely manner, but if it does this program can be a blockbuster.

This is a very savvy move by EA.  It’s not available on the PS4 and the fact that Sony felt compelled to deride the program publicly is interesting:

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.

I am a PSN subscriber and will be a day one customer for EA Access, so Sony, you’re wrong about this.

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