What Is EA Access for Xbox One, and Is It Worth It?

EA Access for Xbox One gives you access to more than 50 games, discounts, and trials of new EA games before they’re released. But is the monthly (or yearly) subscription fee really worth it?

What Is EA Access?

EA Access is for Xbox One owners, and it works exactly like EA’s Origin Access on PC. However, these are separate services that require a separate fee. There’s no equivalent service for PlayStation 4 owners because Sony didn’t think it would be “good value“.

EA Access costs either $5 per month or $30 per year. At $30 per year, that’s $2.50 a month—of course, you’re locking in your payment and you can’t get a partial refund if you change your mind after a few months.

If you pay for this service, you can get all-you-can-play access to the “EA Access Vault”, a library of over 50 games. This includes both Xbox One games and older Xbox 360 games you can play on your Xbox One through backwards compatibility.

You’ll also get 10% off whenever you buy digital EA content on your Xbox One. This applies to new full games released by EA, DLC for EA games, and so on. Of course, the discount only applies if you’re buying digital games on the Xbox Store, so it’s no help if you buy physical copies of EA games.

As an additional bonus, you’ll get early access to free trials of new EA games before their typical release date. For example, when Mass Effect: Andromeda was released, EA Access members could play a 10-hour trial starting five days before launch.

Do You Need Xbox Live Gold?

Xbox Live Gold is Microsoft’s gaming subscription service. You need Xbox Live Gold to play online multiplayer on the Xbox One, and this service also gives you some free games and exclusive sales.

You don’t need Xbox Live Gold to use EA Access. You can subscribe to EA Access and play single-player games even if you don’t have an active Gold subscription.

However, Xbox Live Gold is required if you want to play online multiplayer in EA Access games. An Xbox Live Gold subscription is always required for online multiplayer.

How Many Games Are Available?

More than 50 games are available in the EA Access Vault, including Dragon Age: Inquisition, the first three Mass Effect games, Titanfall, Battlefield 4, Madden NFL 17, NHL 17, and FIFA 17. You’ll only find EA games for free here, not games published by other companies.

You can view a full list of EA Access games on the EA Access for Xbox web page.

How It Works

To subscribe to EA Access, you first download the EA Access Hub app from the Store on your Xbox One. The EA Access app on your Xbox One will walk you through everything. You can also buy a subscription from the Microsoft Store online.

While you’re subscribed, you can view the free games available to you in the “Vault Games” section of the EA Access app on your Xbox One. You can download and play these apps for free, although they’ll stop working if your subscription ever expires.

The app also has a “Game Trials” section that will point you to new game trials when they’re out. And, when you visit the Store on your Xbox One, you’ll see an “EA Access” deals section you can browse. You get an automatic 10% discount on any EA content you buy from the Store while you’re subscribed.

Is It Worth It?

Whether this is worth it or not is up to you. At $5 per month—or $2.50 per month, if you buy an entire year of time—the subscription is inexpensive compared to similar services. Microsoft’s Xbox Game Pass service is $10 per month, doesn’t offer any discounts, doesn’t offer pre-release games, and isn’t available at a cheaper price if you buy more time at once.

If you tend to buy a lot of EA games digitally on your Xbox One, you may even save money by getting the subscription. If you get 10% off a $60 game, you’ve saved $6—more than the cost of one month if you’re paying monthly, or two months if you’re paying yearly. Of course, you have to compare that against the cost of buying physical copies of these EA games, which you may be able to find on sale.

The subscription offers access to quite a few games you can play, although you may be able to find cheaper used copies of these games on websites like eBay or at your local game store. Take a look at the library, consider which games you want to play and compare the cost of the subscription to buying them outright. EA Access could be an amazing deal if you have a lot of time for games and want to chew through the library, but it’s a worse deal if you don’t have much time for games and might take a while just to finish one game.

Is There a Free Trial?

EA Access doesn’t offer a free trial on Xbox One, as Origin Access does on PC. You’ll have to pay for at least a month to try out this service.

If you do give it a try, be sure to cancel it if you decide you don’t want it or EA will keep charging you $5 per month. And, if you plan on sticking with it, consider paying the $30 yearly fee instead of paying $5 every month.

Chris Hoffman is a technology writer and all-around computer geek. He's as at home using the Linux terminal as he is digging into the Windows registry. Connect with him on Google+.