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Industry "mixed" on Origin Access Premier, EA says

Industry "mixed" on Origin Access Premier, EA says

Electronic Arts chief Andrew Wilson has said that the reception from the industry to Origin Access Premier is "mixed".

Speaking to investors - as transcribed by the good folks at Seeking Alpha - the exec said that while consumers are on-board with games launching onto the subscription platform on Day One, developers and publishers are divided on the business model.

EA has also announced that Origin Access Premier will be launching on July 30th. 

"Coming out of EA Play, there was a lot of conversation on Origin Access Premier. And certainly from a gamer standpoint, the feedback was very, very positive in terms of the opportunity to access more great games at great value with reduced friction," Wilson said.

"And we expect that that will be a big plus for gamers over time. And the subscription business will take time to build, but we believe in the long-term potential of that as we have seen to be true – with linear based media like TV, movies, and music.

"In terms of the conversation we've had with other developers and publishers, I would say that the feedback is mixed. I think we are in a unique position by virtue of the depth and breadth of our portfolio and then many, many, many hundreds of hours of gameplay that we can offer with our own portfolio to take this step forward for the industry, and we do believe we're leading and pioneering for the industry.

"Some developers and publishers that we have spoken to are very, very excited about the opportunity to access this highly engaged player base that will deliver tremendous lifetime engagement into this live service.

"And other developers and publishers, I would say, are in a wait-and-see approach. As I've said before, I think the greatest disruption of the consumption of entertainment media, in the last five years of the combination of streaming plus subscription, we're starting with subscription and we're leading from there, and we're investing in streaming over the long term. And my sense is that as we're able to grow the TAM as a result of this, engage players for longer with greater value at lower friction that we'll see continued uptake and participation in services like this."

Origin Access Premier was announced at EA Play this year, the publisher's own event around E3 in Los Angeles. Triple-A titles such as BioWare's Anthem will be releasing onto the platform as they launch in stores.

This is a similar model to Xbox Game Pass - with titles like Sea of Thieves coming to subscribers alongside retailer purchasers - and creates a number of problems when it comes to figuring out how games are performing.

With the example of Sea of Thieves, the title was played by some two million players in its first week on sale, but there is just no knowing how many of those paid full price, how many paid via a subscription and how many people simply used the two-week free trial to give it a go.

It allows publishers to better spin how individual projects are doing. Which - depending if you're the publisher or not - is either great or pretty terrible.

That being said, as games move more and more towards a service-based model, the stat that matters most isn't the number of people who have access to your game - be that paid or via a subscription - it's the number of people who play on a regular basis. So maybe we're being very old-fashioned with our above criticism.


PCGamesInsider Contributing Editor

Alex Calvin is a freelance journalist who writes about the business of games. He started out at UK trade paper MCV in 2013 and left as deputy editor over three years later. In June 2017, he joined Steel Media as the editor for new site PCGamesInsider.biz. In October 2019 he left this full-time position at the company but still contributes to the site on a daily basis. He has also written for GamesIndustry.biz, VGC, Games London, The Observer/Guardian and Esquire UK.

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