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Xbox One Adds Subscription Games, Video

30 Jul, 2014 By: Erik Gruenwedel

Inclusion of EA games, Sky’s Now TV ups Xbox One’s media player prowess

Microsoft’s bid to market Xbox One as more than a second-generation video game console took another step with the inclusion of third-party subscription gaming and video services.

The availability of third-party subscription content services on Xbox comes after Microsoft dropped the mandatory membership to access Xbox Live.

Characterized as a possible “Netflix” of gaming, Xbox has partnered with publisher Electronic Arts to create “EA Access,” offering unlimited playing rights to titles (four thus far) for $4.99 per month, or $29.99 annually.

Games currently available include FIFA 14, Madden NFL 25, Peggle 2 and Battlefield 4. The subscription model for games represents a baby step toward Xbox One evolving into a Netflix of sorts for electronic gaming (Netflix doesn’t offer video games). But the trend has begun with Sony Computer Entertainment launching PlayStation Now, featuring catalog games available electronically on connected devices, including PlayStation 4.

Separately, British Sky Broadcasting’s over-the-top video service app, Now TV, linked with Xbox One in the United Kingdom following its recent bow on PS4.

“Sky is an important partner for Xbox and with the launch of Now TV on Xbox One, our fans have even more ways to enjoy their favorite TV shows, live sports and movies,” U.K. Xbox Live product manager Pawan Bhardwaj said in a statement.

Now TV enables subscribers to watch 800 new-release movies, live action from all Sky Sports channels, in addition to pay-TV channels Sky 1, Sky Atlantic, Sky Living and recently added Nickelodeon and Nick Jr., among others, on connected devices.

“Launching on Xbox One means Now TV is available on both the latest next-generation consoles, as well as over 50 other devices,” Gidon Katz, director of Now TV, said.

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