EA has officially launched its premium gaming service EA Access. Xbox One gamers throughout the world can sign up for a subscription now.
EA Access allows Xbox One owners to download and play a collection of games from the publisher for a flat subscription. The membership costs $4.99 a month, or $29.99 for an entire year. It's currently avialable in Australia, Austria, Canada, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Mexico, New Zealand, Spain, United Kingdom, and the United States with additional countries being added soon.
The "Vault" of EA Access titles is fairly small at the moment. You'll only have access to Madden NFL 25, FIFA 14, Battlefield 4 and Peggle 2. However, EA says that the library will expand in the future. Maybe they'll indicate some of the upcoming games during their Gamescom 2014 press conference?
EA Access's membership perks also includes early trials of new releases. Players will be able to get hands-on time with games like Madden NFL 15, FIFA 15, NHL 15 and Dragon Age: Inquisition before they're released in stores. The content of these trials will vary from game to game. You'll be playing the full game in some cases and you'll be restricted to certain modes in others. Your progress from this early access will carry over to the full version.
The third and final perk of EA Access is a 10% discount on digital content. You'll get this price reduction whether you're buying games, virtual currency, or DLC through Xbox Live.
You can sign up for the service by downloading the EA Access hub and following the instructions. You can pay with either credit card or PayPal. The EA Access FAQ GameStop locations will begin selling memberships soon as well. Presumably the retailer will offer plastic cards with voucher codes, as they do with Xbox Live Gold and PlayStation Plus.
Speaking of Xbox Live Gold: it's not required to use EA Access. You can sign up for EA Access and download games with a free Xbox Live account. However, you will need Gold if you want to play the multiplayer modes for these games.
EA Access is currently exclusive to the Xbox One. Sony said that they rejected the service for the PS4 because it didn't deliver enough value to gamers.
“PlayStation Plus memberships are up more than 200% since the launch of PlayStation 4, which shows that gamers are looking for memberships that offer a multitude of services, across various devices, for one low price," a Sony rep said last month. "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.”