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Today, game publishing giant Electronic Arts announced EA Access, a new service exclusive to the Xbox One that will allow gamers to pay a monthly fee for unlimited downloads and plays of a select batch of titles. If this service stays exclusive to the Xbox One, Microsoft may have a new weapon to wield in the console war.

For a fee of $4.99 a month – or a 50 percent discount of a yearly pass for $29.99 – EA Access membership will give subscribers the ability to download games that are in “the Vault,” which the company says is “a collection of EA’s biggest games on Xbox One ready for you to download and play.” During the service’s closed beta, the Vault only holds four games, but they’re biggies: FIFA 14, Madden NFL 25, Peggle 2, and Battlefield 4. The company also says that more will be added to the Vault soon. That isn’t the only perk of membership either, as subscribers will get a 10 percent discount on EA digital games for Xbox One purchased through the Xbox Games Store.

Needless to say, this is pretty huge. As it stands, the games in the Vault may not tickle your fancy, but EA publishes some of the biggest titles in gaming. The possibilities for games that will get added to the service are pretty staggering. The service is very reminiscent of Sony’s PlayStation Plus service, which offers free games available to download and play for a yearly membership fee. Those titles can range in quality, of course, but it’s a pretty great deal. EA Access can cost less, however, since PS Plus runs about $50 for a year, while EA Access’s $30 option is, obviously less than that.

Meanwhile, Microsoft offers free games every month in its Games with Gold promotion for Xbox LIVE Gold subscribers. Between that and EA Access, Microsoft might have a lot more to crow about regarding the way the Xbox One treats gamers right. That said, Sony’s been beta testing PlayStation Now, a cloud-gaming service it’ll be unleashing sometime soon. Moreover, it’s entirely possible that EA Access will come to PlayStation 4 at some point in the future, not to mention PC.

Either way, one thing’s for sure: it’s a good time to be a gamer.

[EA Access]

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