The benefits to having it far outweigh the cost of paying for it, and better yet, it's only available on the Xbox One. But if you're not familiar, let's run through everything you need to know.
What is EA Access?
The easiest way to think of EA Access is that it is to EA's games as Groove is to music. It's a subscription based service that for a monthly or yearly fee gives you access to a number of benefits. There are outlined below:
- Free access to a number of full EA games for Xbox One from the vault
- Free access to a selection of full Xbox 360 backwards compatible titles from the vault
- 10% discount on purchasing new EA games from the Xbox Store
- Early access trials to a number of new EA titles
Recent examples included early access to play Unravel and Plants vs Zombies: Garden Warfare 2, regardless of whether you'd actually pre-ordered the game. EA Access essentially allows you to try before you buy.
The full games can be downloaded and installed to your console to play for as long as you continue to subscribe to the service.
What games are available?
As of the time of writing there are 19 full Xbox One titles and two Xbox 360 titles to play for free in the EA Access Vault. These are:
- Rory Mcilroy PGA Tour
- Battlefield: Hardline
- Battlefield 4
- Fifa 16
- Fifa 15
- Fifa 14
- Madden 16
- Madden 15
- Madden 25
- NHL 16
- NHL 15
- Dragon Age: Inquisition
- Plants vs Zombies: Garden Warfare
- Need for Speed Rivals
- NBA Live 16 (From May 25 2016)
- NBA Live 15
- Peggle 2
- Dead Space (Xbox 360)
- Plants vs Zombies (Xbox 360)
EA has been adding titles fairly regularly, and it's expected that Mass Effect for Xbox 360 will be in there soon as well.
Forthcoming titles including Mirror's Edge: Catalyst and Battlefield 1 will have early access trials for EA Access members.
How much does it cost?
In the U.S. a monthly subscription costs $4.99, or £3.99 a month in the UK. If you want to pay up for a full year in one go it'll cost you $29.99 or £19.99.
You can subscribe directly through your Xbox One console or on Xbox.com using your Xbox Live account and the credit card attached to it. If you pay monthly it'll just keep rolling over until you cancel your subscription.
You can also buy prepaid codes from some retailers to redeem on the console if you so wish. The prices are the same as paying digitally.
Why you need it
Simply put, because you get everything above. Unless literally none of the games appeal to you at all, there's value to be had from it. The best value comes from buying a 12-month subscription in one go, but even if you pay monthly you're not spending more than the price of a new game over the course of the year.
The difference is that you have 21 games to play for that money, with a list that will only keep growing. If you like to get into things early, or just enjoy the yearly sports titles but aren't bothered about being a day one customer, then EA Access is for you. At some point FIFA 17, Madden 17 and NHL 17 will get added to the vault — as long as you're happy to wait a while.
It's an innovative service, and one which has led to a similar program from EA on the PC called Origin Access. On the console it's exclusive to Xbox One and it's something you should definitely have to get the best from the console.
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