Electronic Arts, one of the industry's oldest and now largest video game publishers, has announced a new business strategy: a Netflix-for-games subscription service of sorts that will, for a monthly fee, give Xbox One owners access to a growing library of recently released titles.
Called EA Access, the subscription service will cost $4.99 per month -- or $29.99 per year -- and allow unlimited access to something EA calls The Vault, its repository for the service's available titles. The Vault will launch with four EA-developed games: FIFA 14, Madden NFL 25, Battlefield 4, and Peggle 2.
In Australia, those prices are AU$6.99 a month and AU$39.99 a year, which is a little above the exchange rate, but a fairly small mark up compared to what Aussies have put up with in the past.
The service is a noticeable departure from existing delivery networks in the game industry. Though it is not full-blown game streaming -- meaning no hardware or download required, as Sony is attempting to deliver with its forthcoming PlayStation Now service -- EA Access does mark the first instance of a major industry player taking its titles the route of a subscription service.
It is, however, not unusual for EA, which has grown its digital efforts considerably over the last few years. Thelast week partially on the strength of FIFA, yet also thanks to an 80 percent boost in its "ultimate team" fantasy soccer league service, a 50 percent boost in its hockey fantasy league service, and a 350 percent jump in its fantasy American football offering.
EA Access will arrive exclusively on Xbox One soon, the company says, in a public beta for North America and Europe only. Subscribing to the service will also net consumers 10 percent off digital downloads and add-ons to EA titles through Microsoft's Xbox store, like full-price game purchases and membership services like Battlefield 4 Premium.
Membership will be available through Xbox Live, but will also be available in-store at GameStop and online at Amazon.
In Australia, EA has yet to announce any in-store partners, but we'll update if any news comes to hand.