Video game company EA is slowly switching its business model to recurring subscriptions. The company just launched Origin Access Premier for $15 a month or $100 a year, members will be able to play the full game days before a big launch. They can also get extra content including in-game currency, plus all the benefits of the Basic membership that features an ever-evolving library of games 100-plus games in EA’s library, dubbed The Vault.
This isn’t EA’s first subscription. The company first launched EA Access on the Xbox One. For $5 per month or $30 per year, you can download and play old EA games as part of your subscription.
“Origin Access Premier offers players a wealth of content, including all of EA’s PC games and numerous titles from other publishers in a single membership,” said Michael Blank, senior vice president for Player Network at EA, in a statement. “As our first-ever subscription service with full access to newly-released EA games, we’re offering players more freedom to play the games they want, anytime they want.”
In addition to full games, EA Access lets you try new EA games for 10 hours. You also get 10 percent off on EA digital purchases.
In 2016, EA launched a similar service on PC for the same price. In addition to a collection of EA games, the company partnered with Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment and other game companies. You can find indie hits, such as The Witness, Oxenfree and Trine 2.
“I view this as another stepping stone for EA as they push the industry towards subscription models,” said Colin Sebastian, analyst at R.W. Baird, in an email. “Since the offering is only for PC games, it represents a small part of EA’s business. That said, we see it as somewhat incremental since a customer who previously purchased only Madden or Battlefield may now opt for Origin Premier to get early access to their favorite game, with an option to play a variety of other games as well.”
Subscribers won’t have to pay for DLCs, or at least not as many. Games included in the subscription are deluxe editions (Fifa Ultimate Edition, Battlefield V Deluxe, etc.).
In order to convince people to subscribe right away, EA is adding deluxe editions of Battlefront II, Fifa 18, Unravel Two, Fe or The Sims 4 right away.
Other companies have launched subscription services, such as Microsoft with the Xbox Game Pass and Sony’s PlayStation Now. This is an interesting shift as game companies are getting ready for cloud computing.
Upcoming games that will debut on the Premier subscription also include Madden NFL 19 Hall of Fame Edition (August 2, 2018), FIFA 19 Ultimate Edition (September 20, 2018), Battlefield V Deluxe Edition (October 11, 2018), and Anthem Legion of Dawn Edition (February 15, 2019).
While many people still buy games on DVDs and play on gaming consoles, the industry is slowly going to switch to cloud gaming. You will launch a game on a server in a data center near you and stream the video feed to the device in front of you.
“The timing is just before Madden and FIFA, so one would think that people who play both will find it compelling,” said Michael Pachter, analyst at Wedbush Securities, in an email. “That could be one million subscribers right away. It will be interesting to see what happens beyond that, my guess is that they could get to 3 million subscribers over time, but without a lot more content, I’m skeptical that they grow much larger.”