It's Gaming 101: When it comes to value-added programs like free games and sneak previews to demos, Sony has PlayStation Plus and Microsoft has Xbox Live Gold. PlayStation Plus works on the PlayStation 4 and, as you might've guessed, Xbox Live Gold works hand-in-hand with Xbox One.

That was the model that made sense. But that was before EA green-lit EA Access, a new value-added program that costs just as much as the other two providers and has a serious love for sports games.

The aforementioned service is currently in beta and available for any Xbox One owner to sign up for. But before you run off and sign up for the one-year plan, here's five things you need to know about EA Access before you tack on another recurring charge to your monthly statement.

1. EA Access is not a game-streaming service like PlayStation Now

OK, I'll admit, this one is more for me than it is for all of you.

When the service was first announced at the tail-end of July I had thought - nay, dreamed - that the service would compete with the overwhelmingly overpriced PlayStation Now. I thought the two streaming services would go neck-to-neck and, in a bold, decisive move, Microsoft would give EA the rights to many of its first-party Xbox 360 titles.

This is not - and likely never will be - the case.

Instead, when all its features are taken into account, it's more like PlayStation Plus. Subscribing to the service gets you a handful of games to download (note: not stream) for free so long as you continue to be a subscriber.

EA Access

2. It's available only on Xbox One and it's currently in beta

I've got some good news if you live in Australia, Austria, Canada, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Mexico, New Zealand, Spain, United Kingdom or the United States: Theoretically, right now, you can walk away from your computer, turn on your Xbox One, download the EA Access Hub app and start your subscription to the service right this second. Don't in fact do that, as you'll miss some crucial information coming later in the article, but you could - theoretically - do it.

If you don't currently reside in one of those countries or chose to buy a PS4 instead of an Xbox One, then you won't have access to EA's service for some time. (Don't worry, we still love you.)

Although the service is only on Xbox, you don't need to be an Xbox Live Gold member to use it.