Electronics Arts (EA) has decided to test the loyalty of its hardcore gamers by charging them $25-a-year to get early access to its five main sports titles.
Called ‘Season Ticket’ the system will be available from the end of August and will allow gamers access to digital versions of the new games three days prior to their official release. Once the games become available in stores, the digital versions that have been downloaded, will expire online.
This is the catch in the system, which will ensure that gamers will still have to go to games stores and purchase the physical disc. This is an attempt to appease the retailers such as GameStop who are partnering with EA in this initiative.
"This gives you access to an early version but you still have to go to retail or order it online," said EA Sports' President Peter Moore in an interview. The five games that will be available through this system will be FIFA, Tiger Woods PGA Tour, NHL Hockey, Madden NFL and NCAA Football titles.
Those opting not to purchase the new system won’t miss out on any content, with Moore saying the target audience is more hardened gamers: "This is not for everybody. This is for a hardcore EA Sports consumer that buys multiple games a year and enjoys getting their hands on games before anyone."
As well as getting early access to the games mentioned above, subscribers will get a 20 per cent discount on downloadable content within games, such as new courses in Tiger Woods PGA Tour Golf. You’ll also get access to premium web content and membership recognition.
Games will be downloadable via the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 in North America but only on the Xbox 360 in Europe. You can subscribe via Xbox Live today and Season Ticket will cost $24.95 per year or 2,000 Microsoft Points. The first game available will be Madden NFL 12 later this month.