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Sony's Not a Huge Fan of EA Access

The company determined EA's offering "does not bring the kind of value PlayStation customers have come to expect." Ouch.

The newly announced EA Access subscription service from Electronics Arts is exclusive to Xbox One, but only because Sony passed on the program, it seems.

For a monthly ($4.99) or annual ($29.99) fee, EA Access grants a 10% discount on digital purchases, a chance to play retail releases early, and a back catalog of games in The Vault, which currently includes Battlefield 4, Peggle 2, FIFA 14, and Madden NFL 25.

Unless something changes, though, don't expect it on PlayStation 4 or Vita.

“We evaluated the EA Access subscription offering and decided that it does not bring the kind of value PlayStation customers have come to expect,” the company said in a statement. “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. 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.”

While it's possible this is completely about Sony making a value judgement of EA Access for PlayStation owners, it's also likely Sony views EA Access as competition to PlayStation Plus. The question is whether EA won't bother including its releases as part of PlayStation Plus in the future. I'm betting it doesn't go that far.

Patrick Klepek on Google+
198 Comments
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Posted by clush

Except for a few loud people here, people definitely don't want options. They want convenience. That's why the iPhone is doing so well. I sigh every time I have to reinstall uplay or origin on top of steam.

Good on sony for nipping this publisher specific subscription thing in the bud and curating their ecosystem. Maybe not for the reasons stated, but I'm happy with their decision.

Also, does EA really not check with platform holders if their new scheme is cool with them before developing and launching it? What if Microsoft had said the same thing, would it even be worth it for EA? Unless EA did in fact mean to compete with ps+ I see no reason why they wouldn't check in with sony earlier and maybe work something out rather than simply getting denied like this. I'm no businessman, but this looks like an ill advised strategy.

Posted by Dberg

Good on Sony. There's too much publisher specific storefronts and shit.

Online
Edited by l4wd0g

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.

That tends to happen when you charge to play online.

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

Seriously though, I want to play Fifa 15 early and it's worth $5 a month to me, and they aren't charging you, why is that a bad thing? Why arguing against the freedom of choice as consumers.

I wonder if, fiscally, Sony would be losing money on digital sales over PSN if EA can go straight to the consumer (which is where our discount would be coming from). Here is an article of break down of the Anatomy of a $60 video game. If you consider that PSN is the retailer and distributor, digital games bring in a better source of revenue to platform holder (and hopefully the developer and publisher too).

Posted by kagato

Seems like a terrible deal unless you are really into sports games, EA, one of the biggest publishers out there turned up to E3 with a half baked mode for Battlefield, that's it! I don't think we should be rewarding them by throwing cash at them, they killed Dungeon Keeper, Deadspace and TOR, hell even the last Dragon age was mediocre at best and look at the state of Sim City or Battlefield 4! Everyone has to make their own decision on value, if i played Madden or FIFA annually then id probably be into this but its an easy choice for me to just stay clear.

Posted by ProfessorEss

Sony uses the "we're doing it for you" line too much. They should really come up with something different for the next one.

Posted by HarrySound

I can not believe there are so many people here upset that they can't EA money on a monthly subscription plan.

Have you guys learnt nothing all these years?

If EA are doing something you can be damn right in thinking it's for EAs shareholder benefit first and foremost.

Posted by NeoZeon

Sony's logic here is just, well, odd. If they hadn't felt the need to make a statement on this then no one would have had to hear this frankly stupid comment. Make no mistake, I love me some Playstation, but they shouldn't push it. This sounds a lot like the arrogance from the PS2 days and that terrifies me.

I could also say that the PS+ numbers had to go up because we need it for MP now, but folks covered that already. In regards to that, I blame MS and the people who blindly support them. I would like to think that if Xbox Live hadn't existed, then there wouldn't be yearly fees at all.

It's a moot point I know, since surely someone would have done it eventually, but, screw it, let me ponder dammit!

Edited by Patriot91

Patrick's wrong. This isn't competing with PS+. You'd still need PS+ to play games online so there's no way anyone is giving that up. What this really competes with is PS Now. Sony doesn't want any subscription game services competing with theirs on their platform. Plain and simple.

Posted by Benny

I can not believe there are so many people here upset that they can't EA money on a monthly subscription plan.

Have you guys learnt nothing all these years?

If EA are doing something you can be damn right in thinking it's for EAs shareholder benefit first and foremost.

Sony is a company with shareholders too, they do a good job of giving their company a friendly face but don't be so naive as to think that they aren't doing exactly what EA is doing with their own subscription service and simply came to the conclusion that financially it would be bad for Sony to let EA put this service on their consoles.

Posted by Sander

Can't imagine if this EAccess thing happened on Sony that we would still get Crysis 3 and Dead Space 3 with PS+.

Operating under that assumption, I'm glad Sony denied.

Posted by Shaanyboi

"BUT WHEN I DO IT, IT'S CUTE!"

Posted by agathis

They don't want to offer the service, because it would eventually compete with Playstation Now for gamer dollars. That much is obvious. Now, it's a separate question whether or not EA Access is worth it. At the moment, I say probably not. But it's hard to say what it will look like in a year. Sony is trying to wall off digital game sales, just like Apple has tried to do with its own platform. Sony produces a lot of content in ways that Microsoft doesn't. And so from a larger perspective this makes sense. On the other hand, from a consumer choice perspective, this really kinda sucks.

I say let consumers decide what they want. Right now, Sony is deciding for us. It's not a huge deal, but it's a little frustrating.

Edited by friendlypossum

@marioboza: But really dude, 30 bucks for a 10% discount is pretty rough. I think its pretty boss they just said what everyone is thinking. I'm sure Sony would have had to pay EA something to get on board with this and if its something no one would really buy, it doesn't seem like a good idea. Would you have payed for that service? Maybe you would and that's cool, but i'd argue the majority wouldn't.

Posted by dancmc

Says the company touting the value of PSNow

Posted by BradBrains

@kagato: if your really into sports games though your not gonna want last years sports games

Posted by tescovee

4.99 an hour is more like the value Sony is interested in.

Posted by Nhoj_Sllew

I think it's funny people think Sony is "standing up to" EA on this one


Posted by FajitaBoss

Considering the awful job they are doing pricing PS Now I take SONY´s argument against EA as a grain of salt.

Edited by TrafalgarLaw

People should read this:

Sony’s belief that EA Access wasn’t a good value for PlayStation owners is rooted in a bit of reality. Sony wants to be very publisher and developer-friendly, and making a deal with a top-level publisher like that could do them far more harm than good. If you’re an indie developer or even just a small third-party, how important are you going to feel with Sony making a deal with EA and clearly showing bias towards their products? Microsoft finds themselves in that situation now and will have to strike the right balance going forward. They’ve been derided for years for having ads all over the 360 dashboard, and if those multi-media ads change to just being EA ads, they could easily alienate people. There’s a world of difference between making someone aware of something and beating them over the head with it.

If either, or both of the modern Xbox consoles feature tons of EA-specific ads, then both companies look bad. Microsoft looks like it sold out for EA, while those who view EA as nothing but a big, evil company will have fuel added to their fire by the company themselves.

EA Access is a much harder sell to PS+ users who are used to top-shelf freebies like Muramasa Rebirth giving them an excellent value for their dollar across all platforms.

Edited by zodstein

They don't like it because they are trying to gouge for their own rental service.

Edited by SPCTRE

Well, they're right. It isn't a good value at the moment.

Posted by Norusdog

who cares why they're denying it. It's a rip-off as-is. do the math. Even the annual cost isn't worth it. 10% is an insult..esp if you pay monthly..you'd have to buy TWO full-priced games a month JUST to BARELY break even...you're not saving shit. And play early? a couple hours? is that really their definition of "early"? that's an insult..lol.

Fact is this shouldn't matter unless you're an avid EA fan that buys 5+ EA games a year. I get the "sony should give consumers the choice" thing...on one hand..but consumers are stupid. Look at (most if not all of) the f2p models out there that make a killing...DOTA 2 especially. you gotta be all-kinds of stupid to pay for that crap.

Edited by Brodehouse

@trafalgarlaw: If you’re an indie developer or even just a small third-party, how important are you going to feel with Sony making a deal with EA and clearly showing bias towards their products?

... Allowing EA to sell a product on your store does not show 'bias' to EA products over other products. This is a complete fabrication by an outsider who knows nothing of business. This would be tantamount to saying that since A Realm Reborn has a subscription fee, Sony is 'making a deal with Square and clearly showing bias towards their products'.

He then goes on to say that it will seem like bias if you see 'tons' of ads for EA games on consoles. Because we've never seen tons of ads for EA games before. If you see an advertisement for Battlefield or Madden, clearly it's bias.

Did Jeremy Peoples go to business school, or does he have any insider sources that are commenting on Sony or EA's internal statements about this? Then why on earth is he presenting his idle speculation as business analysis? Beating Stage 5 of Castlevania does not prepare you to be coherent about the industry.

who cares why they're denying it. It's a rip-off as-is. do the math. Even the annual cost isn't worth it. 10% is an insult..esp if you pay monthly..you'd have to buy TWO full-priced games a month JUST to BARELY break even...you're not saving shit.

Either you're not solid on what the actual monthly fee is, or you're not solid on multiplication.

Edited by TrafalgarLaw

@brodehouse said:

@trafalgarlaw: If you’re an indie developer or even just a small third-party, how important are you going to feel with Sony making a deal with EA and clearly showing bias towards their products?

... Allowing EA to sell a product on your store does not show 'bias' to EA products over other products. This is a complete fabrication by an outsider who knows nothing of business. This would be tantamount to saying that since A Realm Reborn has a subscription fee, Sony is 'making a deal with Square and clearly showing bias towards their products'.

You will need a seperate page for EA Access like PS+ has now. They'll clearly need to up the ads and rework some of the store pages to make this work. How else would you know when a new EA access game has hit the service? The point still stands, how important would you feel when your small game gets buried under the EA Access ads and pages? How else will Sony prevent Ubisoft or Activision from doing a similar service, opening the flood gates to publisher-specific subscriptions?

I say good on Sony for seeing a potentially dangerous development and nipping it in the bud. Sony fought to make ownership of physical, retail products as important as owning a digital one. They won't make moves into favouring an all-digital future exclusively. Microsoft can do this EA thing but having them no vision at all is showing again.

Edited by Brodehouse

@trafalgarlaw said:

@brodehouse said:

@trafalgarlaw: If you’re an indie developer or even just a small third-party, how important are you going to feel with Sony making a deal with EA and clearly showing bias towards their products?

... Allowing EA to sell a product on your store does not show 'bias' to EA products over other products. This is a complete fabrication by an outsider who knows nothing of business. This would be tantamount to saying that since A Realm Reborn has a subscription fee, Sony is 'making a deal with Square and clearly showing bias towards their products'.

You will need a seperate page for EA Access like PS+ has now. They'll clearly need to up the ads and rework some of the store pages to make this work. How else would you know when a new EA access game has hit the service? The point still stands, how important would you feel when your small game gets buried under the EA Access ads and pages? How else will Sony prevent Ubisoft or Activision from doing a similar service, opening the flood gates to publisher-specific subscriptions?

I say good on Sony for seeing a potentially dangerous development and nipping it in the bud. Sony fought to make ownership of physical, retail products as important as owning a digital one. They won't make moves into favouring an all-digital future exclusively. Microsoft can do this EA thing but having them no vision at all is showing again.

We have multiple free-to-play games on PSN that routinely add content and advertise the new content on PSN. When Dust 514 and Warframe came out, was it the same huge undertaking you're making selling a subscription plan on PSN to be? EA already spends more on advertising than anyone else, and it really doesn't matter whether it's one product or the other. EA already buries indies with their ads. All the major publishers already do this, and of course Sony is going to give the best store space to the people who will pay the most for it. You're taking an irrational 'moral' stand due to the nature of the product not appealing to you. That's fine for personal consumer decisions, but it's absolutely worthless business analysis.

'How else would Sony prevent Ubisoft or Activision from doing a similar service'? Why would they want to prevent them (outside of reducing competition for Plus)? If Ubisoft or Activision are willing to pay to advertise and pay licensing to Sony, Sony lets them advertise and sell products on their store. This is how all other products and advertising work. The only reason Sony has done this is to reduce competition for their own subscription service. It has nothing to do with consumer benefits or equality or fairness to indies or anything of these babyface traits people are trying to pin on them to suit their little cultural console war between good and evil. And supposed journalists who speculate wildly about "MAYBE IT'S BECAUSE THE TIDES OF THE MOON" aren't helping anyone understand anything. They're just acting as the promoters of the console war, selling tickets to storylines.

Sony has not 'fought to make ownership of physical products important', they've just reduced the amount of products you can use on their system. That is it. EA Access existing does not mean anything for physical EA products unless the people in the physical market overwhelmingly transition to using EA Access. At that point, the physical market may not make sense anymore, and shift into more of a 'premium goods' thing much like PC games have been leaning on. Most of the market prefers physical games and as such, physical games are being sold and the market works in such a way to increase physical sales (launch days are a result of the unique attributes of selling physical goods). Enough of the market prefers buying digital that it makes sense for companies to offer digital distribution models in addition to the existing physical model. In the future, consumer preferences may change. However what you're demanding is that Sony enforce the physical model dogmatically, even if there exists people who prefer digital, because you prefer physical.

I own a Playstation 4. I do not own an Xbox One. I cannot even try EA Access on my console, I can't decide for myself whether it appeals to my interests, because Sony has decided that it's not good for me. When really, it's because it's not good for them. When I first heard this story, I was fine with it, but hearing these kind of nonsense defenses of anti-consumer behavior as being pro-consumer is absolutely galling. I will not be pastored to by a corporation about what's good for me. I want competition, I want options for my money. If EA Access is not a good deal for me; I can not buy it on my own volition. If EA Access is a good deal for me; it doesn't matter because Sony won't allow it.

Edit: If there was two pieces of adult learning I would advocate for with absolute will, it's logic classes, and economics classes. Understanding economics in an intrinsic and academic sense will do so much more for you to protect yourself and understand business and economic actions than will widespread cultural stick-planting based around suspicion and ignorance. The easiest way to make young boys kill themselves in a war for your benefit is to build a cultural narrative of good versus evil. The easiest way to make consumers work against their interests for your benefit is to build a cultural narrative of good versus evil.

Posted by Pepsicolaboy

...sigh

Posted by Grimluck343

I think it's funny people think Sony is "standing up to" EA on this one

Hey man, worst company in the US. Stick it to the man.

Posted by peritus

I dont see how witholding an optional service is good for the consumer. More choice is better in these kinds of situations. If its not worth the money people can just choose not to buy it. But im pretty sure there would be plenty of people that would totally buy it, if only for FIFA/Madden.

Posted by LK_Marleigh

I think a lot of general gamers don't realise how huge a deal this is for FIFA and Madden players. They are massive franchises (FIFA sells in excess of 14m copies annually)

To miss out on the chance to play the games early and to miss out on the discount (not for the games, but the dlc, people spend a lot of money on virtual card packs) combined with xbox exclusive Legends players in Ultimate Team mode is making a lot of players reconsider console options.

I personally would like to make the choice myself as to whether something is worth my money.

Posted by spraynardtatum

Well Sony, I'm not a huge fan of PSmeow, you dun fucked up them prices. Now EA can release some bullshit 4 game "service" and people think it's a better deal. Here's what's going on:

1. Sony is just jealous of how cheap EA's service is.

2. EA wants to offer as little as possible with the service and make people still pay for everything else.

Edited by BradBrains

@lk_marleigh: in theory that makes sense but it will make way less an impact than you think. People play on the console their friends play. Also most casual gamers who play just fifa are not going to want to pay another monthly fee on top of what they already pay even if it saves them money.

People need to get past the "how dare they take away my freedom" stuff and realize what a bad precedent this ea thing is. Yea sony is doing it for selfish reasons mostly but I, glad they are.

Posted by LK_Marleigh

@darkstalker: People that play just FIFA usually paid for a Season Ticket (which was withdrawn at the start of the year) which gave early access to EA Sports Titles, 20% discount and some free in game stuff, that cost $30 as a one off amount. Most PS4 FIFA players would have just bought one month of EA Access for $5 for September to get early access and a 10% discount on their purchases. There is a huge FIFA community and a lot switched from PS4 to Xbone just because of the exclusive Xbone content. I see this pushing a lot more over.

Edited by EXTomar

@brodehouse:

You are doing a lot of "hand waving" suggesting it is not that hard to support this behavior. The way Steam, Amazon, and even PSN work is that a service or feature is available to all vendors or none of the vendors. Updates are send on the basis of installed apps and account settings which is why if you have Borderlands 2, some DLC shows up and others do not where EA Access doesn't work this way. Adding this specific feature to support just for EA is a bad idea. The question of whether or not they should support this subscription behavior for any company is another discussion entirely and maybe an interesting idea.

So I've asked this multiple times already: How does this work on XBox One? No one has chosen to answer yet. The reason why I ask this is because the interface to manage it is what is going to make or break these systems. No one would put up with Steam or Battle.Net or Amazon if you had to use multiple logins and synchronize them and manage some of it over here and some of it over there. So again I ask, how does this work on XBox One? If it is slick and seamless and integrates totally into XBox Live then that will help a lot. If you need to go to the "EA Access App" and set things in there....not so much.

Months from now assuming more games make the list and you want to get Madden 25 but are at the limit, how do you work through the process? Do you uninstall Peggle 2 and that automatically "returns" a license for you to install Madden 25? When you are at the purchase page for Madden 25, what does that look like in the store? Does it say "Paid with EA Access" or do you need to activate something? When you are looking at the purchase page for Madden 25, do you get a warning or error you are about to pay real money instead of use EA Access? Can you choose to not use EA Access since you may want Madden 25 anyway without counting towards your quota?

None of these are impossible or improbable to implement but these details are important. Managing these system is always a challenge where we've seen the result on other systems that the best they can offer is timed locks that kick in on expiration and they are difficult to manage. It seems to me that to make this works the store front needs to be completely rebuilt to support this Netflix behavior by default then secondarily off a way to purchase the game at any time. Doing it the other way around makes it clumsy.

Posted by Hunkulese

Is there a required commitment if you're paying monthly? I'm only interested in BF 4's campaign and would probably enjoy 4-5 games of Madden. If I could only pay $5 for that and get $6 off of Dragon Age, that's pretty good value.

Posted by DrGreatJob

Good. Fuck EA, this is a terrible service.

Posted by Lind_L_Taylor

Sounds like a good plan. I wouldn't want to bleed another $5 extra per month on a service I don't really want. If there's anything I'm truly sick of, it's monthly fees. Everybody wants money for nothing but "access".

Posted by Live_Free_or_Die

Good. Glad they made this decision.

Posted by MonkeyPunch

F**king hell man. I swear in the Future every game you buy will want a subscription of some kind... I hate all that stuff. I never got in to MMO's, basically because I detest subscription and most MMOs used to be subscription based.

Edited by MikeinSC

Speaking as somebody who has EA Access, it is really good. The Vault alone is worth the price of admission. I don't buy games online as is so no loss there.

Sony trying to play heavy handed is amusing. "PSN subs have increased a whole lot" which is obvious given that they put the online access behind it. I don't see a benefit of PSN over XBLA at this point. The GwG titles on the XBone have been excellent.

Edited by EXTomar

@mikeinsc said:

Speaking as somebody who has EA Access, it is really good. The Vault alone is worth the price of admission. I don't buy games online as is so no loss there.

Sony trying to play heavy handed is amusing. "PSN subs have increased a whole lot" which is obvious given that they put the online access behind it. I don't see a benefit of PSN over XBLA at this point. The GwG titles on the XBone have been excellent.

How does "The Vault alone is worth the price of admission" and "I don't buy games online as is" make sense?

I've wondered for a long while now about how this functionally works and even with some having access to this I still haven't got an answer. What is actually in there? How do you select something to install? How do you manage the whole system? These are the key details that will make or break these system more than actual number of games. Which reminds me, how many games are in there right now?

Posted by Budwyzer

@zodstein said:

They don't like it because they are trying to gouge for their own rental service.

Sony has a game rental service???

Posted by MikeinSC

@extomar: I have Bet Buy GCU, so all new games are 20% off as is. So, new games are irrelevant as I will NEVER buy a new original title online. Old games are peachy.

I've wondered for a long while now about how this functionally works and even with some having access to this I still haven't got an answer. What is actually in there? How do you select something to install? How do you manage the whole system? These are the key details that will make or break these system more than actual number of games. Which reminds me, how many games are in there right now?

What's in there? Presently, Battlefield 4, Madden 25, FIFA 25, and Peggle 2 and a free 6 hour demo of Madden 15 (which won't launch until it is 100% downloaded from my experience). More games to come.

There is a separate Vault category that lets you DL and install anything there (I suspect we'll have Plants v Zombies GW soon). Just one click, choose install, and it's the usual incredibly long DL process ---- (I get that the games are bigger overall, but a game twice as big as a 360/PS3 game shouldn't take 3-4 times as long to DL.) As far as managing, there is a little app that shows everything available. Not massive content yet, but well more than enough to justify the expense and the potential is nice. Madden is a likely buy, but I'm curious as to games like Live (to see if it is playable) and their non-sports titles that are unlikely to have demos otherwise.