Every now and again, usually once a month, I get a message via Xbox Live from Microsoft letting me know what new features or tweaks will be applied to my console in the next update. So, the other day, I looked and saw that there was a message, and naturally, I was interested to see what the latest update would entail. Instead, It talked about some kind of new EA beta, followed by a code! (on a side note, I appreciate the fact that instead of having to write the code down and enter it again, Xbox One has added an option to redeem the code right inside the message screen… it’s the little things.)
On July 29th, Xbox One launched its newest exclusive, and it is not a game, it’s an app! The EA Access Hub is something I see as revolutionary, and, in time, could be the way we all play games in the future. Upon redeeming my code and downloading the hub, it explained to me that I need a membership to access the apps features. It went on to tell me the features that would come with said membership, and once I saw the actual price, I picked my jaw off the floor and signed up. For the RIDICULOUSLY low fee of $5/month or $30/year, you get unlimited access to a “vault” of the FULL VERSION of select EA titles. Now, I will admit, the starting lineup is somewhat small and basic, but when you consider the list of titles that EA holds, as well as the additional features of the membership, it wont be long until you sign up too. But, I am getting ahead of myself. Let’s start with the games available at this time:
Right now, the games available are Battlefield 4, Madden NFL 25, FIFA 14, and Peggle 2. As I said, the games aren’t super impressive unless you like sports games or havent played Battlefield 4. Well, I DO like sports games, and I am a COD guy, so I HAVEN’T played BF4, so I am in! But say you aren’t like me, and are not into sports games all that much, or you have already played Battlefield. Well, do you like saving money?! Then maybe the next feature will get you…
Members also receive 10% off of all EA digital content. That is not only DLC like Ultimate Team Packs or Season Passes, but FULL GAMES. So if you are a fan of going the digital route and plan on picking up Battlefield: Hardline when it comes out, or maybe Madden NFL 15, you automatically get 10% off.
One more feature: Members get what is called EA Early Access. This gives you the option to “pre-order” upcoming titles and try the game out 5 days before it releases. Not only do you get early access to the game, but all saves and progress carries over to the retail version if you choose to buy it later. Imagine if this was a possibility with betas like Titanfall or Destiny. No ranking up again, no finding rare loot or anything else all over again, just right where you left off. So far, confirmed games for the Early Access are Madden NFL 15, NHL 15, FIFA 15, NBA Live 15, and Dragon Age: Inquisition.
It really is a great value, and all of this is just the beta, with EA promising more to come in the future. Now, I signed up for just 1 month, just to see how everything worked out, see how I enjoyed the features, and I can tell you, once the full version drops and another game or two get added, I will be upgrading to the annual subscription. If you like just one of these games, it’s worth the price of admission alone, and when you think of the library EA holds, with new entries in development for franchises like Mass Effect, Medal of Honor, Mirror’s Edge, Need for Speed, and Titanfall, you know the value is there.
I truly think that this may be the way people game in the future, and if this early version is successful for EA, you can expect more developers to jump on board and create their own hub. Looking ahead, we could see and Activision Hub, or a Ubisoft Hub. This also gives me hope of being able to play 360 games via cloud service on my Xbox One. Who knows? The only thing I know, is that, at least for me, the EA Access Hub is a home run.
Currently in a closed beta, the EA Access Hub will be available soon to download. Memberships will also be sold at local GameStop stores if that is more your style. What are your thoughts on this new way to play? Will you be signing up? Let us know at email@example.com, or post a comment below! Til next time…