EA is launching Origin Access Premier, its new unlimited PC gaming subscription service, next week. The service will go live on Monday July 30th, CFO Blake Jorgensen said during the company’s quarterly earnings call (via Variety), and will cost $14.99 a month or $99.99 a year.
EA already has a $29.99-a-year PC downloads service called Origin Access, as well as the similar EA Access plan for Xbox One, but subscribers to those have to wait several months for new titles to come to the “vault” of available EA games. (FIFA 18, for example, still hasn’t been added.) Origin Access Premier, on the other hand, will let subscribers download every new EA title five days before its official release date, as well as all the titles from the back catalog.
The service may make sense, then, for anyone who expects to play two or more EA PC titles at launch over the course of a year and is unconcerned with traditional notions of “ownership,” since you lose access to the titles once your subscription lapses. This is perhaps a better fit for EA than anyone else, given the company’s focus on annual or biennial series like FIFA, Madden, and Battlefield where the majority of the player base migrates to each new release.
The $14.99 monthly fee could also be a good way to test games that you’re unsure you’d want to play for more than a few weeks. If all you want out of Battlefield V is to blast through its presumably short single-player campaign, for example, or if you don’t think you’ll be playing Anthem long-term, you could sign up to Origin Access Premier for a month and save $45 while checking out everything else on the service. Origin Access also recently started to add titles from publishers other than EA, such as Warner Bros’ Batman Arkham series.
EA remains the only major third-party publisher to offer a subscription like this, though Microsoft is doing essentially the same thing with its Xbox Game Pass, which now includes day-one access to every new Microsoft first-party title. The new business model could either attract extra revenue from customers that would normally spend less than the subscription fee on the company’s games in a given year, or expand DLC and microtransaction revenue by increasing the player base of each title.