EA Access is one of the Xbox One's most intriguing exclusive features, giving it some key differentiation compared to the competition. But is it worth your money? Read on.

You can subscribe to EA Access directly on your Xbox One, giving you a whole range of benefits for a low monthly or annual payment.

See EA Access at Amazon

What do you get with EA Access?

An EA Access subscription delivers a range of benefits, including the following:

  • 10 percent discount on all games, DLC packs, and in-game purchases.
  • 10-hour, one-week early access free trials to EA's first-party games, including Battlefield, Mass Effect, and FIFA.
  • Permanent access to dozens of games from EA's back catalog, including games from franchises such as Dead Space, Dragon Age, EA's various sports titles, and second-party games like Unravel.

How much does it cost?

EA Access is $4.99 a month, but it also comes in at $29.99 for yearly plans, a substantial discount that saves you almost $30.

Is EA Access for Xbox really worth it?

Ultimately, it depends on how much you spend on EA games, and how much you value its additional features.

The 10 percent discount will typically net you a $6 saving per big-budget "AAA" game, such as Battlefield 1 and FIFA. If you purchased enough games and DLC using EA's annual pass, the cost of entry would effectively pay for itself — presuming you would have purchased those items anyway.

But EA Access provides value in other ways. The exclusive trials could save you money simply by allowing you to test games extensively ahead of launch. It was thanks to EA's trial that the general lack of polish on Mass Effect: Andromeda was exposed early, ahead of any review embargos. These sorts of trials will help you make more informed purchase decisions, potentially saving you cash in the process. Mass Effect: Andromeda will be patched and polished extensively during the coming weeks and months, and it is already seeing discounts on Amazon due to the backlash.

EA Access's greatest feature is arguably its vault. EA provides permanent access to several big-name titles and DLC packs through its subscription, including games such as Dragon Age: Inquisition, the backward-compatible Xbox 360 Mass Effect trilogy, and older Battlefield games. EA seems to place games in the vault as soon as their initial sales burst fizzles out. Mirror's Edge Catalyst, for example, arrived in the Vault quite quickly after launch.

As someone who doesn't play EA's range of sports titles, instead of purchasing an annual subscription, sometimes I pick up a month here and there just to "rent" certain games and partake in certain trials. Some games, such as Mass Effect 2 and 3, are currently only available digitally as part of EA Access.

I still tend to prefer owning my games. EA says that it won't remove games from the vault once they're in there, but the terms of service state that EA retains the right to remove games with 30 days worth of notice. The company hasn't removed a game yet, but there's no reason to think it might not in the future.

Final thoughts

It simply depends on how much you stand to benefit from EA Access's services, whether or not it's worth it. If you purchase several EA titles per year, including micro-payments in games like FIFA and Battlefield 1, those 10 percent savings could essentially make the subscription pay for itself.

If you plan on placing your purchases carefully, EA's trials could also save you money, informing you whether or not to wait for a sale or subsequent patches. Plus, you can always purchase a single month.

See EA Access at Amazon

What do you think? Do you use EA Access? If so, is it worth the cost of entry?