EA is bringing its on-demand all-you-can-play vault of first-party games to Game Pass for free. This is a carefully-designed business move that has far-reaching implications.
Today Microsoft announced a fusillade of next-gen value: First the Xbox Series S allows ray-traced next-gen 1440p gaming for $299, and the Xbox Series X was confirmed for $499, making it the most accessible point for 4K 60FPS+ gaming. But the real bombshell surrounds Xbox Game Pass.
EA Play is coming to Game Pass Ultimate on both PC and Xbox for no extra cost. Normally, EA Play is $5 a month per platform on its own, but it's now included free with the $15 a month GP Ultimate subscription. Why would EA wrap itself in a potentially competing service? It's simple, really: EA wants to use Game Pass to sell microtransactions and game sales.
EA Play coming to Game Pass is a classic case of "if you can't beat 'em, join 'em." EA knows about the Game Pass Effect, a phenomenon that sees subscribers actually buying more games. But EA is more interested in microtransactions.
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Out of the 89 games available on EA Play on Xbox, 48 of them, or 54%, are monetized with microtransactions. This is an extremely important distinction.
EA cares most about live services and monetization, and Game Pass is the perfect avenue for back catalog earnings. Game Pass is an excellent way to keep making money from games like Battlefield V and Battlefront II that have been retired and longer receive updates.
By virtue of its all-you-can-play service, Game Pass fosters online engagement. Players are more eager to try out new games and sample the offerings, but they have to be connected to do so. A rich vein of multiplayer games also keeps players sticky in the network. EA knows a portion of Game Pass subscribers are already online by default, so it's hoping to attract these users to its mega-hit sports games like FIFA, Madden, and NHL and monetize them with add-ons.
There's also some great singleplayer games in here too that incentivize full game purchases. Anyone who invests in a Dragon Age campaign and then runs out of Game Pass Ultimate subscription time is more likely to buy the game outright to continue the experience.
Or you could just stay subscribed to Game Pass Ultimate. Who needs to buy games any more when you can just lease them for smaller costs over time? This is the logic that's built Microsoft's billion-dollar service empire.
Below we've cataloged the full list of EA Play games on Xbox and separated them into monetized and non-monetized titles.
When we refer to monetization, we're talking mostly about in-game purchases via virtual currencies. Some games on this list like Dragon Age: Origins, Dragon Age 2, and Mass Effect 2 all have purchasable DLC. It's worth noting that some paid DLC for games are included free. This includes extra DLC cars for Need for Speed Rivals. But any game with a premium currency is still monetized accordingly.