Whether you like it or not, gaming is gradually becoming much more service driven. The wheels have been in motion for a while, with Season Passes and long-tail downloadable content business models designed to keep you spending more on a single game for longer. However, the announcement of EA Access overnight – a PlayStation Plus-esque subscription service tied specifically to EA Games published releases – seemingly represents the end goal for the Redwood-based giant. But is it something that you’d actually spend money on?
The prospect certainly sounds appetising on paper. For just $5 per month or $30 per year, you’ll be able to nab complete access to “catalogue titles” such as FIFA 14, Madden NFL 25, Battlefield 4, and Peggle 2 for the duration of your subscription. You’ll also be able to enjoy new titles likes Dragon Age: Inquisition a little earlier than everyone else, while discounts will be available for the majority of upcoming content. Considering that it would cost you more to rent the above roster of releases, it sounds like an excellent deal – at first glance, anyway.
Sony doesn’t agree with the value proposition, however. In a statement to Game Informer, the company came down surprisingly harshly on the Xbox One exclusive scheme, suggesting that it passed on the promotion because it doesn’t represent ‘good value’ for fans. “Gamers are looking for memberships that offer a multitude of services, across various devices, for one low price,” a spokesperson said. “We don’t think that asking our fans to pay an additional $5 a month for this EA-specific programme represents good value to the PlayStation gamer.”
That comment has peeved some PlayStation 4 owners, as they feel that they should be able to make up their own mind. That’s a fair criticism, but we can see the platform holder’s long-term viewpoint. At the present, PlayStation Plus provides a variety of free titles across multiple systems as part of a single subscription fee, but this move threatens to splinter that. For starters, it’s unlikely that we’ll see an EA published title added to the Instant Game Collection in the near future, as the organisation is much more likely to peddle those giveaways as part of its own programme.
The real danger, however, is that this could set a scary precedent for other publishers to follow. The likes of Activision and Ubisoft certainly have enough content to support a similar service, while we daresay that even Bandai Namco, Tecmo Koei, Bethesda, Konami, Capcom, and SEGA could attempt to take a piece of the pie. Should things head in that direction, that’s eight additional subscription services that you could end up paying in order to reap all of the rewards, on top of your annual PlayStation Plus pledge which would be seriously diminished without major publisher support.
But does that potential but perhaps unlikely eventuality give the platform holder the right to dictate what constitutes good value? It stands to reason that if EA’s offering really is poor, consumers will vote with their wallets, and the whole model will die a premature death as a consequence. We can certainly see Sony’s point when it comes to the content offering, as the likes of Peggle 2 and Titanfall – a title which isn’t available as part of the service yet, but presumably will be added later – haven’t even released on the PS4 at the time of typing. With less content on offer, it certainly loses its lustre.
But is it something that you’d even pay for anyway? There’s been a lot of bluster about the service since its unveiling yesterday, but as is often the case with exclusives, we suspect that some of that excitement has stemmed specifically from the programme skipping the PS4. Alas, it would be unfair to indicate that there’s no earnest enthusiasm at all, as some do seem eager to stump up the relatively affordable asking fee in order to unlock instant access to the abovementioned games. We can certainly appreciate that there is definitely value there.
Whichever side of the fence you currently sit, we reckon that this is a story that’s going to run and run. Much like the Online Pass phenomenon that temporarily defined the latter half of the PlayStation 3 generation before fizzling out, we suspect that all eyes are going to be on how well EA Access performs. If it takes off – and becomes a big advantage for the Xbox One – then expect Sony to reluctantly change its stance. You may also want to prepare yourself for a future of many subscription services, rather than just a few.
Would you be willing to pay for EA Access, or does it not represent any real value for you? Do you think that Sony’s right to pass on the programme on the PS4, or should it at least give owners the choice? Share your enthusiasm for Push Square Premium in the comments section below.
Would you pay for an EA Access subscription on the PS4? (80 votes)
- Yes, I think it sounds like great value13%
- Hmm, I need to know more16%
- No, it doesn’t sound worth it to me71%
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