When I first heard of the concept for EA Access on the Xbox One, a good few months ago now, I was quite sceptical as to how it would work and whether or not it would be worth subscribing to. Upon its release, I decided to hold off on my subscription because, at the time, the only games in the ‘Vault’ that I didn’t have were Peggle 2 and Need for Speed. For that reason, I figured that the benefits did not outweigh the annual subscription fee of £19.99. That was until a few weeks ago, of course.
For those who don’t know, EA Access is a subscription service which allows you to get discounts on EA games, early access to some titles and the ability to download and play any game that is added to their ‘Vault’. Initially, I was entised by the low subscription fee and the prospects of being able to play some great EA games for “free”. But the lack of any decent titles put me off a little. I wasn’t sure how long it would take for some decent titles to start filtering through, and I’ve been surprised at how quickly they’ve been added. Currently, you’re able to download a number of recent titles through the Vault. EA have offered UFC, Madden NFL 15 and NBA 15, which have been added to other great games like Battlefield 4, Peggle 2, and Plants vs Zombies.
For me, those are the sorts of games, (omitting Battlefield 4), that I wouldn’t usually buy myself – at least not from new. I’ve owned one or two NFL games over the years, but I’ve never purchased them on release, and I would usually wait until the next year’s title was out before buying the out-dated version. The same goes for the Need for Speed games, or the NHL and NBA games; they’re the type of titles that I enjoy playing, but not enough to warrant me spending the full price on release. But with EA Access I’ve been given the opportunity to play these games at a fraction of the price.
If I wanted to download the NBA or NFL games from the store, I’d still have to part with £50 per game. I might be able to snatch them up for £30 each pre-owned in Game or HMV, but that’s still £60 to play two games that I’d enjoy, but wouldn’t miss if I didn’t own them. My EA Access subscription, however, lets me download and play those games, as if I owned them, as part of my yearly subscription. That’s the perfect scenario for me. I often fancy playing games like UFC or NFL, but their price always put me off. But, because I don’t really follow the sports, I’m happy to play the out-dated versions. I don’t mind if the kits are last season’s, or if they’re missing some players or fighters – NFL 15 will keep me happy until NFL 16 is added to the vault. I’ll be able to get my fix of American Football, or Basketball, or Ultimate Fighting, even if the games are a little out of date.
Saving money is one thing, especially as you can get 10% off of new EA releases, but EA Access also gives you early access to some of their games. For example, we can currently play Battlefield Hardline for a trial period, before the game is put on general sale. This is free of charge, and it gives you full access to the game for a few days. I’ll be buying Hardline anyway, but being able to play it earlier than I expected is just the icing on the cake!
I must admit that EA has shocked me with this one, as the company isn’t usually known for its generosity. I assumed that the Vault would be offering games like FIFA 14 until FIFA 17 hits the shelves, at which point they’d add in FIFA 15, for example. But the fact that they’re willing to include current games, like Madden 15, perhaps shows that the service will be much better value for money than I first expected. However, EA Access isn’t for everyone. If you’re not much of a sports fan, there’s very little in the Vault which would appeal to you. But if you enjoy EA’s sports games, and are happy to play the out-dated versions of the game to save yourself a bit of cash, EA Access is for you. The list of games available on the Vault, as well as information on the service in general, can be found here.