EA Sports is a beast. It is a massive money maker for the publisher, and it continues to hold the attention of millions of rabid fans thanks to a fairly consistent string of quality sports titles. And in this new age where downloadable content for games is not just common but profitable, EA has come up with a new way to offer some online content, give their fans a bit extra and make some scratch off of it in the process, naturally.
Earlier today, EA launched the “EA Sports Season Ticket,” an annual service that offers a handful of benefits. For $24.99 via the PlayStation Network or 2000 MS Points through Xbox Live, subscribers will receive benefits on five EA Sports titles: Madden NFL Football, FIFA Soccer, Tiger Woods PGA Tour Golf, NHL Hockey and NCAA Football.
According to the press release, the benefits include:
• Early Full-Game Digital Access: Three days before a game’s scheduled release, fans will be able to download and play the full version of all five participating titles on Xbox 360 and PS3™**. The digitally downloaded game will time out when the game is available at retail and consumers have the option to purchase the same full game on disc at retail. EA SPORTS Season Ticket subscribers can transfer all achievements earned during the three-day download period to the purchased disc, resulting in an early edge over the competition.
• Discounted Downloadable Content: Subscribers will get a 20-percent discount on all available downloadable content for participating EA SPORTS titles. Downloadable content, which enhances and refreshes the core game experience, includes such items as Ultimate Team packs, accelerator packs and gear upgrades.
• Free Premium Web Content: Premium web content extends the game experience beyond the console to a web browser. All participating titles will feature premium web content that will be free to EA SPORTS Season Ticket members beginning with the premium Creation Center packs for FIFA Soccer 12. These packs provide a deeper set of customization tools and abilities within Creation Center to build your own teams and tournaments, and will be available to the consumer until the membership to the program has expired.
• Membership Recognition: Subscribers are easily identifiable with an exclusive membership recognition badge displayed both in-game and on their EASPORTS.com profile.
So basically for $25 you receive a full demo a few days early, a slight discount, a bit of extra content and a shiny online badge. At first glance, that might not seem like much for your bucks. Actually, at second and third glance that might not seem like much of a deal either, but the pass is geared towards the hardcore EA Sports fans. It is a love letter to them—albeit a slightly expensive one. But with the prices of digital content rising all the time, and more and more optional features in games being available for a price (NCAA Football 12, offers the ability to max out the stats of a created player for a fee, for example), the benefits begin to come become more apparent.
Still, it is a risky move by EA. Fans are generally not in favor of having to pay extra for content that should justifiably have been included in the original title to begin with. The first game to fully utilize this service will be Madden NFL 12, which debuts on August 30. Once that game is released, we’ll get a better look at what the EA Sports Season Ticket is all about.