NEWS - Thursday, August 4, 2011

EA Sports Season Ticket Discounts DLC

As rumored several months back, the EA Sports subscription plan is real. It was announced today and is now available on Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, granting users who pay the yearly fee access to early game downloads, DLC discounts, and other features that may or may not be useful to you, depending upon how much time and money you spend on sports games throughout the year.
 Known as EA Sports Season Ticket, the subscription program costs $24.99 (2000 Microsoft Points) per year and entitles you to the following: three days of early access to play certain EA Sports games, a 20% discount on DLC, free "premium web content," and recognition of your membership both in-game and on the EA Sports website.
The early game access comes in the way of a full game download. Four days before the game is set to come out at retail, at 6pm Eastern, it will be made available for download to subscribers. It won’t become activated until three days before launch; the early downloads are meant to guarantee you’ll get a full three days to play. Unfortunately, you can’t opt to keep the digital version -- once the retail game becomes available, the digital one will expire. Fortunately, any progress you made, and Achievements/Trophies you’ve earned, will transfer to the disc-based game.
The DLC discount applies only to participating titles. You can subscribe to the service now, but the early game downloads and cheaper DLC will only apply to Madden NFL 12 and future iterations of the NHL, FIFA, Tiger Woods, and NCAA Football series (the few-week-old NCAA Football 12 isn’t included). That leaves out NBA Jam, NBA Elite (which won’t next be out until fall 2012), EA Sports MMA, and Fight Night, though any of those might be added later.
It’s worth noting that, while the 20% discount sounds like a lot, to make up for the $25 spent on the Season Ticket itself, you’d need to buy $125 on DLC over the course of one year just to break even.

As for the web web content, it isn’t like the web series planned for Call of Duty Elite subscribers. Instead, it’ll include things like premium Creation Center packs for FIFA Soccer 12, which "provide a deeper set of customization tools and abilities within Creation Center to build your own teams and tournaments." You’ll only have access to those as long as your membership runs for, so if you decide next year you don’t want to renew, access to the packs will disappear.
EA Sports President Peter Moore spoke with about the new subscription and if he expects Xbox Live members to be more hesitant to adopt it given that they already pay for access to Live. He explained, "Look, this is a program that’s additive and supplementary to your core experience. It’s not something that, if you don’t subscribe to it, all of a sudden is less than optimal. We are very clear on that.
"There are people who will just say, ’Look, I don’t believe in paying extra for content or access,’ and that’s perfectly fine, but my e-mail box over the last few years has been full of requests saying, ’How do I get the game early. I spend a lot of money with you guys, how can I get a discount like I can with some other kind of, if you will, retailer -- and I’m putting quotes around that."
If you are so inclined to take the plunge now, you can download the EA Sports application from the Xbox Live Marketplace and purchase the Season Ticket from there. On PS3, you’ll need to download the Season Ticket from the PlayStation Store. You’ll want to be sure of which system you want to play all of your sports games on, as Kotaku reports the Season Ticket benefits will only apply to the system it’s purchased on.
With many of the features not good until the next wave of sports games comes along, though, you might be best off waiting until at least a few days before Madden is out before subscribing.


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