EA said that sooner or later, they’d have a subscription service – and it came sooner rather than later. EA Sports yesterday announced a new service available to PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 users; Season Ticket. A paid subscription service, it gives sports fans a host of exclusive benefits. The people who buy EA’s annual sports games tend to be pretty loyal, happily spending their coin on slightly upgraded iterations of the same games every year – and Season Ticket seems like an excellent way top extract even more money from the diehards.
Paying $25 a year, EA Sports Season Ticket holders get these benefits for the following games : Madden NFL Football, FIFA Soccer, Tiger Woods PGA Tour Golf, NHL Hockey and NCAA Football.
â€¢ 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.
Sweet! You get to play the games early, getting some good practice in before your friends – and get to keep all the achievements and trophies you earn in the trial time. But wait..what? Your 6Gb+ download becomes absolutely useless after 3 days? For many people, not least of all us in South Africa, it’ll take nearly 3 days just to download the game..and then you have to go buy the physical media to continue playing? No way to unlock the digital copy? Really?
â€¢ 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.
What? You still have to buy the damned DLC? Seeing as you’re such a loyal sports game customer buying the games as well as a hokey subscription, you’d think EA would throw some free stuff your wayâ€¦but wait they are!
â€¢ 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.
Web content? Oh sod off. There is more though! You also getâ€¦
â€¢ Membership Recognition: Subscribers are easily identifiable with an exclusive membership recognition badge displayed both in-game and on their EASPORTS.com profile.
I can see big sports fans getting a bit of a kick out of the early access – but you’re pretty much paying money to get demos. You also have to pay money to get DLC discountsâ€¦there’s something inherently fishy about that, kinda like the Holiday Club and similar schemes. As somebody who’d rather repeatedly punch himself in the junk than play sports games, I can;t help but feel it’s worthless so I invite you, sports fans, to tell me what you think of Season Ticket.
Season Ticket is currently available on Xbox 360 in Europe, USA, Australia and New Zealand – and in the US only on the PS3.
Last Updated: August 3, 2011