Update: EA has announced that EA Access is finally coming to PlayStation 4 this July, five years after its launch on Xbox One.
Original article continues below
Just like subscription-based TV services, there’s an increasing amount of choice when it comes to subscription-based gaming services. Sony and Microsoft have their own dedicated online services where games are there to sweeten the deal – PlayStation Plus and Xbox Live. However, they also have their own services dedicated purely to accessing a back catalog of games called PlayStation Now and Xbox Games Pass.
In addition to these, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One owners have another option available: EA Access.
- Check out our guide to the Games with Gold free games and PS Plus free games for a look at your other options.
What is EA Access?
Launched in 2014, EA Access is publisher Electronic Arts’ own slice of the subscription service world, offering Xbox One and PlayStation 4 owners access to its wide library of titles (known as the 'Vault') as well as some additional incentives such as early trials of the newest games and a 10% discount on EA digital purchases.
Although, it's worth noting the service won't officially launch on PS4 until July, 2019. PC gamers on the other hand are able to use the sister service, Origin Access.
What are the benefits of being an EA Access member?
The most obvious benefit to being an EA Access member is that you’re able to play any of the games in its ever-growing instant access ‘Vault’. At the moment there are over 50 titles in the Xbox One vault and members are able to download and play them for free as long as they’re still paying a membership.
Outside of this EA game library there are also early access benefits and discounts to be had. EA’s Play First Trials give members of the service the chance to download and play new release EA games before anyone else.
There are limits on how far into the game you can get and how much you’re allowed to play but typically you get to try out a new game around five days before its official release. If you like what you try and decide to purchase the full game, all of your progress from the trial carries over and you can get a discount off the full price.
The member discount is 10%, but this applies to DLC, season passes, and Ultimate Team content as well as full games so you can making a saving several times over on games which continually release content.
EA Access games: what's in the Vault?
EA Access price: how much is it?
An EA Access membership is $4.99 / £3.99 / AU$6.99 a month on both Xbox One and PS4. When you buy a new EA game you’re typically offered 10% discount on your membership so buying a new EA game will generally get you a month’s free access.
There is, of course, the option of an annual membership which costs $29.99 / £19.99 / AU$39.99.
Prices don’t tend to mean a lot without context so when it comes to EA Access, a 12 month subscription is half the price of a 12 month Xbox Gold membership which is $59.99 / £39.99 / AU$79.95. It’s also half the price of Xbox Games Pass which costs $9.99 / £7.99 / AU$10.95 on a monthly basis.
A PS Plus 12 month subscription is also $59.99 / £49.99 / AU$79.95 or $9.99 / £7.99 / AU$10.95 per month.
It’s worth noting that EA Access payments are handled through the specific console's billing system, so the payment method you want to use will have to be attached to your account.
Payment is automatically renewed every month or year depending on what membership duration you choose.
Do I have to be online?
Given that you download the games you play on EA Access, the only time it’s absolutely essential to be online is when you want to actually download them or access their online services.
Other than that you can download and play offline as much as you like. You also have to be online to access Play First trials, given that they track how long you’ve been playing and where you’ve gotten to.
Download limits and speeds can, of course, create problems here but download services have proven more popular and easier to use than streaming services like PlayStation Now which Sony has struggled to push.
- There are a few EA Games titles on our list of the best Xbox One games