Tag Archive: the emperors new clothes

EA Innovating?

I have a Love/Hate relationship with Electronic Arts. When I was a young gamer on my $3500 386 SX-16 (price is a date reference. I worked all summer to afford it..) getting a box with the EA logo was getting a good game. It was synonymous for me. They really did have some blockbusters. Perennial sports title buyer (football, hockey) and all around brand supporter.

I defended EA during some tough times on this blog, and then they ultimately lost my support as a longtime customer due to expansion pack shenanigans, communication weaknesses, pulling sports games from the PC and most importantly for the flippant way they promote how they fire people.

Big corporations trading on stock markets do stupid things to remain “valuable” to short term thinking.

Now, enter EA Access – currently just for Xbox One – and suddenly EA looks pretty smart. They are mass discounting some major titles in exchange for a subscription. $4.99 per month, or $29.99 annually. They are also adding in some pre-launch perks (play Dragon Age:Inquisition first! Never buy another roster updated Madden title again, just pay your sub and get the next gen..)

In a world of Songza and Netflix this points to going in the right direction. The true value hinges on what titles make it to the vault (the platform of available games) but EA has commented that once a game gets there it stays there – so as long as you are subscribing you can always go back.

IF this service was available on PC I would subscribe. I have a bin full of X-box games I’ll likely never play again, and each one an oddly priced $60 – the “standard” fee for a new box. If they make most titles available the value is there if you just buy a single EA title a year. It’s a huge departure from the tied to nothing $60 box fee. It could be a disruption in the market.

I’ll watch this closely. I am intrigued, and this could be the future of how to consume gaming content alongside free to play. I may actually become an EA customer again. This is clearly a customer focused strategy if implemented properly.