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Electronic Arts announced today EA Sports Season Ticket, a
premium subscription service being implemented into several upcoming sports
titles, starting with Madden NFL 12 this August. For an annual fee of $24.99 (2000 Microsoft Points), subscribers get four
perks: Early access to all new EA Sports titles three days before release, a
20-percent discount on downloadable content, free premium web content and a
membership recognition badge displayed both in-game and EA Sports profile.
Andrew Wilson, head of worldwide development for EA Sports, made it clear this is not an instance of the publisher locking existing game content behind pay walls. "It's a completely additive program; we're not taking anything away from the game and we're going to continue to build and invest in feature, content-rich experiences on the disc. It's a value-add and doesn't take away anything from the gamer who just wants to play the same way they've always have."
Season Ticket currently applies to Madden NFL 12 and the upcoming releases of NHL, PGA Tour, NCAA Football, and FIFA titles. Subscribers can download a full, digital version of each game three days prior to its retail release, however the digital game will time out once the game officially launches.
Subscribers also get a 20-percent discount on all available downloadable content for the selected EA Sports titles, which include items like Ultimate Team packs, accelerator packs and gear upgrades. Additionally, premium web content is also unlocked for each title for members as long as the membership doesn't expire.
Wilson said discussions for Season Ticket began to take shape over a year ago after the company decided to look more closely at researching player needs. "We're always looking at how we can deliver better gaming experiences and respond to feedback we get from gamers," he explained. "In this instance, the components that are part of this program are a direct result of substantial gamer feedback that we had."