EA Sports subscription model in the works, may take a while

By on July 26, 2011, 12:57 AM

While the idea is still on the drawing board, Electronic Arts has confirmed to be investigating an annual subscription model for its "EA Sports" brand. One document, said to be from the company, describes the service as, "an annual paid subscription that enhances your gaming experience," which is to include EA's core sports titles: Madden NFL, FIFA, NHL, Tiger Woods PGA Tour, SSX: Deadly Descents and NCAA Football.

With the regularity at which sports titles are released and the burgeoning expense of downloadable content, EA may be banking on avid armchair athletes finding an all-inclusive subscription peppered with incentives a fairly attractive offer. Such benefits are slated to include reduced prices for DLC (downloadable content), early access to unreleased games (up to a week), social recognition in the form of badges, DLC version portability and a few other perks.

According to a survey in circulation, EA's purported subscription plans may be similar to the ones outlined below:

This is also interesting news in the wake of the recent friction between Origin (EA's recent digital game distribution service) and Steam (Valve's well-established, competing platform). EA claimed a major hurdle with Steam as Valve made it impossible to, as an EA spokesperson put it, "give you the best possible gaming experience" through direct updates, patches and support. While some readers may find that statement dubious, one may possibly see the difficulty EA could have implementing this type of subscription plan on Steam.

There has been no mention of whether or not subscriptions are intended to eventually replace future purchase-to-own games, but depending on the annual price, this could either be a huge upset or a viable future for gaming. Of course, if this proves most successful, there may be little to keep EA from offer subscriptions for all genres of its games.

Is this the beginning of the end for á la carte gaming? What price and what features would convert you to a subscription?




User Comments: 12

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Darkshadoe Darkshadoe said:

Madden 2013 Price chart

Team - $10.00 each .. Buy any division, get another division at 15% off

Team Players - $5.00 each .. Buy the offense, get the defense at 10% off

Plays - $.99 each .. Buy the Second and Long Pack and get any Special Teams play free.

It will come to this before too long

Superpeter Superpeter said:

Madden Pc Anyone?

Hankhendrix Hankhendrix said:

They've done it again.

"Its just like the old EA saying. Get the F*** out of my building".

Coodu Coodu said:

What I love the most is they all have the "Look at the size of my wallet" badge to go with them. People will literally pay to have their username have a shield/icon/epeen sign next to it.

Sigh. End rant :P

fyrfaktry fyrfaktry said:

darkshadoe said:

Madden 2013 Price chart

Team - $10.00 each .. Buy any division, get another division at 15% off

Team Players - $5.00 each .. Buy the offense, get the defense at 10% off

Plays - $.99 each .. Buy the Second and Long Pack and get any Special Teams play free.

It will come to this before too long

EXACTLY!!!

fyrfaktry fyrfaktry said:

darkshadoe said:

Madden 2013 Price chart

Team - $10.00 each .. Buy any division, get another division at 15% off

Team Players - $5.00 each .. Buy the offense, get the defense at 10% off

Plays - $.99 each .. Buy the Second and Long Pack and get any Special Teams play free.

It will come to this before too long

EXACTLY!!!

KG363 KG363 said:

I will never do a subscription. EVER

Inarius03 said:

I can't wait until the world is rid of EA.

yukka, TechSpot Paladin, said:

I play Fifa on 360. If there is value in the yearly subscription offering that I don't currently get for the £39.99 I spend every October (usually at midnight in a supermarket - only game I queue for) then I would consider it. But not if its value that was previously included with the game.

gwailo247, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

I think the reason they are doing this is because they see sports games, and FPS shooter games as revenue thieves when compared to "regular" type games (RDR, GTA, etc). You buy GTA4 for $60, play it for a month lets say, and then you go and buy another game, another $60.

You buy a sports game, you can play it for six months or longer pretty much to the exclusion of other games. Same with a fun FPS shooter. So EA looks at it from the perspective that you're not out there buying new games, and you're getting hundreds of hours of enjoyment for a game that costs as much as a ten or twenty hour game does.

So the inevitable conclusion is to make those game cost more to offset the costs of lost revenue due to the player not buying other games. But since they cannot make these games cost more than $60, they're going to nickel and dime everything to death on DLCs in order to have the game's final cost reflect the ultimate value to the consumer.

Staff
Rick Rick, TechSpot Staff, said:

gwailo247 said:

they're going to nickel and dime everything to death on DLCs

That's a good observation, as you'll notice none of the proposed subs offer DLC content for free... only at a 'discount'.

Whatever EA decides to do, it almost certainly in the interest of profits (that is their obligation to shareholders, after all), so it is safe to assume they expect to make more money on downloadable content instead of traditional, up-front purchases... or even the subscriptions themselves.

gwailo247, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

Rick said:

Whatever EA decides to do, it almost certainly in the interest of profits (that is their obligation to shareholders, after all), so it is safe to assume they expect to make more money on downloadable content instead of traditional, up-front purchases... or even the subscriptions themselves.

And the problem with sports games and DLCs is, as darkshadoe pointed out, is where do you stick the addons? You either remove core components from the game and sell them back, the DLCs are completely cosmetic (stadium, uniform, etc), or they provide an unfair advantage to those who don't own them.

I suppose with soccer games you could charge more for adding non premium leagues that weren't included with the original game, but when it comes to US games (football, basketball, baseball), you have to include all the teams or the game is stupid. And what else can you really add that shouldn't be included in the game in the first place?

The only thing I would think a subscription would be useful for would be updating rosters and so forth as a given season goes on. But that pretty much gets done when the annual refresh comes out (at full price).

I'm not sure how they're going to proceed, but I'm 95% certain it is going to result in more money for the same experience.

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