EA to charge $4.99/month for access to its biggest games

Electronic Arts has introduced a new program that will let Xbox One owners buy into a bundle of top franchises with a monthly subscription. Dubbed EA Access, the plan will cost $4.99/month or $29.99/year. Subscribers will get access to "The Vault, a collection of EA's biggest games." They'll also be entitled to 10% off EA "digital content" for the Xbone and access to "trials of new EA games up to five days before the release date."

EA Access begins a limited beta test today, and it's supposed to open its doors to everyone "soon." Beta members will have unlimited access to Battlefield 4, FIFA 14, Madden NFL 25, and the inescapable Peggle 2. More titles will be added to the collection, but it's unclear if games will have a limited shelf life in the program.

The first trial offerings will be Dragon Age: Inquisition, Madden NFL 15, NHL 15, FIFA 15, and NBA LIVE 15. Folks who sample those titles and end up buying them will be able to transfer their progress from the trials, which makes it sound like this is essentially early access to finished games. The press release doesn't say whether there's a progress or level cap on the Play First component of the subscription, though.

EA's subscription plan may be limited to the Xbone for now, but there's no reason a similar program couldn't be introduced for PC games. Heck, the announcement even says EA is "always looking for new ways to make it easier for gamers to play more EA games across all platforms." (Emphasis mine.) I actually don't mind the idea of a monthly pass to a broad catalog of game content—I'm just not sure I trust EA with the keys. Are you listening, Lord Gaben?

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