Last year, Electronic Arts launched EA Access on Xbox One. For $4.99 a month, the subscription service offers an add-on to your existing Xbox Live Gold service. Players get to try EA games on Xbox One earlier than the retail release, save 10 percent on EA digital purchases on the Xbox Store, and gain access to the Vault, which includes old EA games users can play for free.
Today, EA Access has launched on PC as EA Origin Access, offering the same benefits for players who are using EA's Origin service. Same 10 percent discount on EA digital games on Origin, same ability to try out upcoming games five days earlier than their retail releases (Unravel is the next title, coming February 4), and the Vault is still active. Currently the Vault contains:
- Battlefield 3
- Battlefield 4 Digital Deluxe
- Battlefield: Hardline Digital Deluxe
- Dragon Age: Origins Ultimate Edition
- Dragon Age II
- Dragon Age: Inquisition Digital Deluxe
- The Sims 3 Starter Pack
- FIFA 15
- Dead Space
- Dead Space 2
- Dead Space 3
- Need for Speed: Rivals Complete Edition
- This War is Mine
Like PlayStation Plus' free games or Xbox Live's Games with Gold, you retain access to all titles as long as you subscribe to the service. Drop out and those free games are gone.
If you're a huge EA fan and I'm sure there's a reason to pick up EA Origin Access. Personally, I find that it's a bit limited compared to everything that could be offered digitally on PC. That list above is only a fraction of the titles that EA has available in its back catalog. Imagine if EA Origin Access was closer to Marvel Unlimited, Spotify, Apple Music, or Kindle Unlimited? This is EA's service, so if anyone should be able to really open up that back catalog, it's them. Where's Burnout Paradise, Crysis 3, Need for Speed: Most Wanted, Battlefield: Bad Company 1 and 2, Mass Effect, Mass Effect 2, and Mass Effect 3?
EA should be using EA Origin Access as a tool to let fans catch up with their rich history of titles. For example, Marvel Unlimited keeps readers engaged with Marvel's back catalog of titles they might not otherwise read if they had to buy them a la carte. Some have argued that the data shows increased trade paperback sales of Marvel titles after the launch of Marvel Unlimited: people like a run they've read and they buy a physical version of their bookshelf. In addition, the publishing gap - Marvel Unlimited is six months behind current publishing schedules - means that subscribers are incentivized to try out Marvel's most recent output. People flippin' love Marvel Unlimited if they're an elapsed or new comics reader.
Netflix has allowed me to binge on shows that I completely skipped on TV. Between Crunchyroll and Funimation, if I heard about an interesting animate series, I can probably find the entire thing within minutes. I'm an avid Kindle Unlimited reader and the service has lead me to buying books from authors I never would've tried before. The same is true of Spotify, where I scan the service's Discover Weekly playlist and New Releases section of the latest music. Yes, these services mean I buy less of whatever that product they're offering, but it means that I have a much stronger connection to the stuff that I do buy.
EA could see those benefits from EA Origin Access, but as it stands now, the service is far too limited in its Vault offerings. It's less about pure sales numbers and revenue and more about building that stronger connection with your audience. This in-turn means they're more likely to jump onboard with your new projects and in EA's case, means more people are using Origin.
It's about looking beyond the immediate and thinking more about building something more meaningful with your fans or reaching out to new ones.