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Sony Nixes 'EA' Subscription Service for PlayStation

4 Aug, 2014 By: Erik Gruenwedel

Sony Computer Entertainment reportedly has put the kibosh on allowing game publisher Electronic Art’s ‘EA Access’ subscription gaming service on the PlayStation.

Xbox July 30 announced it had partnered with EA to create “EA Access,” offering unlimited playing rights to select titles (four thus far) for $4.99 per month, or $29.99 annually. The subscription model for games represented a baby step toward Xbox One evolving into a Netflix of sorts for electronic gaming (Netflix doesn’t offer video games).

But in an email to GameInformer.com, Sony said such a deal wasn’t in the works.

“We evaluated the EA Access subscription offering and decided that it does not bring the kind of value PlayStation customers have come to expect,” a Sony representative said.

Indeed, Sony already has PlayStation Plus, which affords subscribers access to myriad catalog games electronically on connected devices, including PlayStation 4. It is also beta testing a subscription streaming service called PlayStation Now that enables users to rent titles.

“PlayStation Plus memberships are up more than 200% since the launch of PlayStation 4, which shows that gamers are looking for memberships that offer a multitude of services, across various devices, for one low price,” Sony stated. “We don’t think asking our fans to pay an additional $5 a month for this EA-specific program represents good value to the PlayStation gamer.”

Michael Pachter, analyst with Wedbush Securities in Los Angeles, says Sony's response could be in response to Microsoft having an exclusive with EA.

"I don’t think you can read much into this at all, but yes, Sony is more focused on PS Plus and PS Now," Pachter said.

The analyst said PS Plus will thrive because it is required to play against multiple players online on PlayStation. But he said PS Now can only succeed if third party content is made available.

"If third parties offer their own subscriptions, less content will be available for PS Now," Pachter said.

Meanwhile, Xbox One’s offering of third-party subscription gaming might be Microsoft’s attempt to slow sales of PS4, which Sony said outsold Xbox One and Xbox three-to-one in the most recent fiscal quarter ended June 30.

Sony said it sold a combined 3.5 million PS4 and PS3 consoles in the quarter, which was up 218% from the previous-year period when it sold 1.1 million units.


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