Sony Was Right To Turn Down EA's Video Game Subscription Plan (Forbes)

#1lilj812Posted 7/31/2014 7:12:55 AM(edited)
Saw this on the first page of Yahoo, don't know if it's been posted yet.
http://www.forbes.com/sites/erikkain/2014/07/30/sony-was-right-to-turn-down-eas-video-game-subscription-plan/

Soon, Xbox One gamers will be able to pay $5 a month for a Netflix -like subscription to EA games. The EA Access program is coming exclusively to Xbox One because Sony turned down the idea, stating that the company doesn’t think “asking our fans to pay an additional $5 a month for this EA-specific program represents good value to the PlayStation gamer.”

My colleague Paul Tassi argues that this “seems pretty disingenuous and petty from Sony” since the subscription is entirely optional.

While I think he’s correct that Sony may have turned down EA Access due in part to the PS Now game-streaming service and the success of PS Plus, I think he’s absolutely off the mark when he calls it a “dumb decision” by Sony.

Let’s look at what an EA-specific subscription plan could turn into for consumers and Sony alike.

EA Access

First of all, this may not be the only publisher-specific subscription plan offered. Today it’s just EA Access and Sony’s own offerings. But what if in a few months Ubisoft offers a $5 subscription to Ubisoft Infinity for $3.99 a month and then Activision comes out with Activision SuperMegaJoy for $6 a month and then…well, you get the picture.

This starts to become confusing for consumers, and it becomes a huge task for Sony since each of these plans is funneled through Sony’s framework and ultimately Sony’s customer service.

Lots of gamers don’t think about the publisher of game X or game Y. Unlike Netflix, which offers movies and TV from myriad studios, EA Access is just EA. How many consumers will sign up thinking that it is, in fact, the Netflix of games, only to find out that Call of Duty isn’t a part of the plan. The headache for Sony is obvious. They’ve dodged a bullet. Microsoft is right in the cross-hairs.

If you read the EA Access Terms of Service, you’ll notice that the subscription purchase is made directly through Microsoft; that an EA Origin account is required; and that all customer service related questions are directed to Microsoft, not EA. If Sony had embraced EA Access, Sony would have been responsible for all the same burdens.

Plenty of other problems could arise.

Like PS Plus, cancelling your EA Access account means loss of access to all content you may have purchased through the program. Unlike Netflix, only some titles are available for free. The rest—and this includes basically all new content—is simply discounted. This is just another potential confusion for customers and problem for Sony customer service.

And again, if other publishers start doing the same thing you just magnify the issue. Sony’s own services PS Plus and PS Now are handled by Sony directly and include games from numerous content creators. These are simpler solution for both customers and Sony, and I think that’s more relevant to the issue at hand than potential competition from EA.

(Note: I think PS Plus and PS Now could be better integrated for simplicity’s sake, and obviously we don’t know how well Now will work yet. Now also needs to figure out a better pricing scheme than what we’ve seen so far, so this isn’t an argument in favor of Now so much as it’s an argument against Sony getting embroiled in EA Access, etc.)


Maybe down the road a real “Netflix for games” will rise up and beat out all these plans. But EA Access is not that program, and Sony was right to keep their distance.

Update: As a reader notes, there could also be server-related issues. The entire technical backdrop is another potential source of problems for Sony (and MSFT) that were certainly a part of Sony’s decision.

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#2Dave_is_my_namePosted 7/31/2014 7:14:42 AM(edited)
So basically Forbes hired a moron to write bad articles.
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#3LotrMorgothPosted 7/31/2014 7:15:18 AM
so forbes is arguing that no one should try something new that costs money because in the future other people may also do that and no body wants to pay for all of it. my god is journalism truly dead
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"You will not be happy if you continue to search for what happiness consists of. You will never live if you are looking for the meaning of life"-Camus
#4MCcakePosted 7/31/2014 7:19:00 AM
They didn't want it interfering with their PS Now "deal"(hehehehe)
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#5Troll_DirectoryPosted 7/31/2014 7:20:55 AM
lilj812 posted...
First of all, this may not be the only publisher-specific subscription plan offered. Today it’s just EA Access and Sony’s own offerings. But what if in a few months Ubisoft offers a $5 subscription to Ubisoft Infinity for $3.99 a month and then Activision comes out with Activision SuperMegaJoy for $6 a month and then…well, you get the picture.
actually, this is exactly what i'm hoping for. :)
#6lilj812(Topic Creator)Posted 7/31/2014 7:21:43 AM
LotrMorgoth posted...
so forbes is arguing that no one should try something new that costs money because in the future other people may also do that and no body wants to pay for all of it. my god is journalism truly dead


Games used to release with 100% of it's content, then maybe get an expansion adding much more content. Now games come out with 90% of the content in vanilla, 10% as DLC, and another 10-20% as future DLC. On top of DLC, thanks to CoD Elite. now we have year long DLC plans for 50 bucks tied to each game.

We as consumers end up spending more money for less content the more that time passes. Some trends you need to look at and see if the overall outcome is positive or negative to gaming. Every company having a subscription plan is not a good thing for gaming. Everything will start costing way to much money.
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"Worlds best heel"
"I really don't understand the irrational hatred a lot of people have for IE. It's not a bad browser." El Pollo Diablo87
#7LotrMorgothPosted 7/31/2014 7:23:16 AM
lilj812 posted...
LotrMorgoth posted...
so forbes is arguing that no one should try something new that costs money because in the future other people may also do that and no body wants to pay for all of it. my god is journalism truly dead


Games used to release with 100% of it's content, then maybe get an expansion adding much more content. Now games come out with 90% of the content in vanilla, 10% as DLC, and another 10-20% as future DLC. On top of DLC, thanks to CoD Elite. now we have year long DLC plans for 50 bucks tied to each game.

We as consumers end up spending more money for less content the more that time passes. Some trends you need to look at and see if the overall outcome is positive or negative to gaming. Every company having a subscription plan is not a good thing for gaming. Everything will start costing way to much money.


that's fine but would require actual research. look at the trends that have happened, not saying here's a list of things that COULD happen that would make my point. also, let's not update the news story with insight garnered from a reader's comment
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"You will not be happy if you continue to search for what happiness consists of. You will never live if you are looking for the meaning of life"-Camus
#8Jedi454Posted 7/31/2014 7:24:29 AM
Damage control thread lmao.
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#9lilj812(Topic Creator)Posted 7/31/2014 7:28:31 AM
LotrMorgoth posted...
lilj812 posted...
LotrMorgoth posted...
so forbes is arguing that no one should try something new that costs money because in the future other people may also do that and no body wants to pay for all of it. my god is journalism truly dead


Games used to release with 100% of it's content, then maybe get an expansion adding much more content. Now games come out with 90% of the content in vanilla, 10% as DLC, and another 10-20% as future DLC. On top of DLC, thanks to CoD Elite. now we have year long DLC plans for 50 bucks tied to each game.

We as consumers end up spending more money for less content the more that time passes. Some trends you need to look at and see if the overall outcome is positive or negative to gaming. Every company having a subscription plan is not a good thing for gaming. Everything will start costing way to much money.


that's fine but would require actual research. look at the trends that have happened, not saying here's a list of things that COULD happen that would make my point. also, let's not update the news story with insight garnered from a reader's comment


Look at trends that have happened!! You're right!!!! Look at gaming in the 90s, then look at gaming now. Look at pre xbox era, and post xbox era!!!! Pre 360 era, and post 360 era.

If you look at DLC, and see that every company is following suit except for mostly indies who are usually in the game making business for the love and not the money... AND then you see who is running the first of these company specific subscription plans and that it's EA...

It's going nowhere good and quickly.
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"Worlds best heel"
"I really don't understand the irrational hatred a lot of people have for IE. It's not a bad browser." El Pollo Diablo87
#10lilj812(Topic Creator)Posted 7/31/2014 7:29:56 AM
Jedi454 posted...
Damage control thread lmao.


Jedi, you know I'm of the PC master race yea? I don't have any next gen console lol. One day I'll get a wii u and ps4 though.
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"Worlds best heel"
"I really don't understand the irrational hatred a lot of people have for IE. It's not a bad browser." El Pollo Diablo87