Breaking Down the EA Sports Season Ticket

by
Posted August 5th, 2011 at 9:30 am

The EA Sports ‘Season Ticket’ was announced earlier this week and to no surprise the initial reaction towards the subscription plan was largely negative. Though in and of itself the offering may be intriguing and is relatively inoffensive – what it represents for the future is what seems to bother consumers the most. Until then only the plan placed in front of consumers can be analyzed and in the case of the ‘Season Ticket’ it provides far less value than EA would suggest but it still may hold appeal for some. 

The timing of the announcement was definitely poor. Coming on the heels of established media outlets questioning the need to purchase games on day one due to all the issues they’ve been shipping with here comes EA to offer the chance to pay to play them even earlier. It may have best been announced at E3 or in the lead-up to NCAA 12’s release but by missing that window the company absolutely had to get it out in advance on Madden 12 which will drive sales the most out of the five titles that will fall under the ‘Season Ticket’ umbrella.

Of course there is the potential that early access could lead to bad word of mouth and hurt sales. The first few days of play though are generally positive so that risk seems negligible. Should any huge issues be discovered during that period however they will be out there prior to official release of the games. That could be a net win for consumers if the issues were big enough to sway a purchase decision and prevent entering into a frustrating situation.

For now the ‘Season Ticket’ will include perks for Madden NFL, NHL, FIFA, Tiger Woods PGA Tour, and NCAA Football. Not having an NBA or MLB product hurts the potential of the subscription but until those products return to EA’s portfolio these five are their steady yearly releases. The idea here from EA’s perspective is having titles like NHL, FIFA, and Tiger included could lead to more sales as consumers have the window to try those games for three days and may find they like them enough to go out and purchase them.

Early Full-Game Digital Access
Three days before a game’s scheduled release, fans will be able to download and play the full version of all five participating titles on Xbox 360 and PS3. The digitally downloaded game will time out when the game is available at retail and consumers have the option to purchase the same full game on disc at retail. EA SPORTS Season Ticket subscribers can transfer all achievements earned during the three-day download period to the purchased disc, resulting in an early edge over the competition.

This is what will sell the subscription. Had it been a full week early (which they considered) I could see many jumping on board and in excited fashion. Three days early makes things more questionable. The downloads will go up on the Friday evening before release (accounting for the several hours that will be needed to download) and expire early AM on the Tuesday of release.

Certainly EA is looking towards a day when digital distribution becomes standard and are weaning consumers onto the idea. It’s somewhat surprising that they aren’t offering the opportunity to keep the digital copy that is downloaded for $60. Thankfully they aren’t forcing that in the subscription otherwise opportunities for pre-order incentives, promotional credits, and the ability to resell would be lost.

Discounted Downloadable Content
Subscribers will get a 20-percent discount on all available downloadable content for participating EA SPORTS titles. Downloadable content, which enhances and refreshes the core game experience, includes such items as Ultimate Team packs, accelerator packs and gear upgrades.

The biggest miss from what was originally rumored to be part of the official subscription is the ability to carry over DLC purchased from one year to the next. This would have been huge for titles like Tiger Woods (which sells extra courses – $50 for all) or those with Ultimate Team mode (where consumers lose everything and start over). Having that would have made the ‘Season Ticket’ much more valuable.

The 20% off should be considered no more than a bonus to the three day window which will be the reason why consumers are interested in the package. In order to break even on the $25 one would need to spend $125 in DLC – more for there to be any ‘savings’ due to the subscription. Unless an individual is one of those cited to be spending hundreds or thousands on Ultimate Team the discount is inconsequential.

Free Premium Web Content
Premium web content extends the game experience beyond the console to a web browser. All participating titles will feature premium web content that will be free to EA SPORTS Season Ticket members beginning with the premium Creation Center packs for FIFA Soccer 12. These packs provide a deeper set of customization tools and abilities within Creation Center to build your own teams and tournaments, and will be available to the consumer until the membership to the program has expired.

Don’t put much stock into this. Maybe something worthwhile comes out of it or maybe not. The same promise of premium content was made when the ‘Online Pass’ was announced. In fact the ‘Online Pass’ page of EA’s website still claims it as a feature despite it never being fulfilled:

•”In addition to Online Team Play, Live Tournaments and other modes and features, we expect every product will include additional content as part of its Online Pass. Access to bonus content is included in the purchase of an Online Pass for a particular product. Our goal is to provide value to consumers, and this is one piece of that philosophy.”

Membership Recognition
Subscribers are easily identifiable with an exclusive membership recognition badge displayed both in-game and on their EASPORTS.com profile.

There can’t be anyone out there who would care about this? I’m surprised they are promoting it as though it represents a fourth of the package. I’m sure there will be many who would prefer not being branded as someone who paid the $25.

There was a great deal of discussion on Twitter regarding the annual window and according to EA Sports the subscription is active for 365 days. It is possible that by timing things right consumers could squeeze in six releases to that window.

According to an EA representative if an extra release falls into the 365 days then the benefits will in fact apply. So it’s now documented that the program does not lock at five releases. If not the case then EA Sports is being intentionally misleading and should have framed the package in a clear and concise way by stating it only includes five consecutive releases.

So – if you choose to purchase the ‘Season Ticket’ – the time to do so is the afternoon of August 26th. The Madden NFL 12 digital download will be made available on Friday August 26th at 6pm ET. Buying the ‘Season Ticket’ at that time will mean an opportunity to sneak in Madden NFL 13 under the 365 days. Madden 13 is tentatively scheduled to come out on August 28th 2012. 365 days from 8/26/11 means expiration will happen on 8/25/12. The download for Madden 13 will be out the evening of 8/24/12.

So there is an opportunity by timing right to get Madden 12, NHL 12, FIFA 12, Tiger 13, NCAA 13, and Madden 13 all for the $25. I wouldn’t suggest buying it for that reason alone but it’s worth a shot since there is no reason to secure the ‘Season Ticket’ prior to the 26th anyway.

For those who want to play the games three days early there will be no convincing that the ‘Season Ticket’ is a bad deal. Ultimately everyone will make the decision on what that access is worth. Take a look at the package, avoid the hyperbole being spewed by EA Sports, and make the decision based on the facts and personal value of what’s being offered. While I wouldn’t recommend purchase of the ‘Season Ticket’ those who choose to pay for it shouldn’t be faulted for that decision either.

  • Ghost of John Madden

    I wouldn’t waste time and harddrive space downloading this if it were free.

    It offers nothing I am interested in (says the guy who owns 20+ EA sports titles dating back to 1994)

    • Sdot

      ANY1 WHO WUD WASTE DEER $ ON SEASON TICKET IS

      STUPID STUPID & SHUD B FELT PITTY 4

      SRY

      • Skihawks

        It’s not deer season til November. Not sure what you mean?

        • Sdot

          DIS JOKE WAS FUNNY 4YRS AGO WEN I 1ST STRTD TYPIN LIKE DIS

          NOW IT JUS EH!

      • Anonymous

        What is deer money? Can you buy deers with it? Do deers use it as currency? I am confused…

        • Lonnie

          lol

        • if im not mistaken deer money is used by the rare deer people of westward in Montana, they are a quiet and gentle people who much like native americans live of the land and respect the earth. The deer people started popping up in the 1860’s discovered by a Spanish expedition led be fracos de pizian. While mapping out the west he came upon a deer man and was taken back by his small horns on his head and small stature, he followed this man back to the village where they treated the men as kings, i few days later one of the spanards was discovered “getting it on” with a deer woman and was promptly attacked by the villagers de pizian with all his men set the village on fire leaving only a few deer people alive. But some do live today, for all we know Sdot could be one of the few remaining deer people.

          • Raz

            They have internet?  If they are like the Native Americans then I doubt they have internet, well, unless of course they have their own casino as well.
             

        • if im not mistaken deer money is used by the rare deer people of westward in Montana, they are a quiet and gentle people who much like native americans live of the land and respect the earth. The deer people started popping up in the 1860’s discovered by a Spanish expedition led be fracos de pizian. While mapping out the west he came upon a deer man and was taken back by his small horns on his head and small stature, he followed this man back to the village where they treated the men as kings, i few days later one of the spanards was discovered “getting it on” with a deer woman and was promptly attacked by the villagers de pizian with all his men set the village on fire leaving only a few deer people alive. But some do live today, for all we know Sdot could be one of the few remaining deer people.

  • ovfd55

    I’m a addict when it comes to madden so 25 dollars for a 3 day jump is worth it to me alone.But I norm buy either fifa or NHL the 3 days would help me decide or end up buying both.

    Also season ticket almost ensure someone will have ncaa rosters out on release day.

    Do I wish it was longer yes but you don’t want someone over playing the game trying to get a much time out of lets say a week worth and get tired of game and not buying

    • Sdot

      LMAO BLESS YA HEART

      PRAY 4 HIM

  • Mike Vick

    “There can’t be anyone out there who would care about this? I’m surprised they are promoting it as though it represents a fourth of the package. I’m sure there will be many who would prefer not being branded as someone who paid the $25.”

    lol. I am going to make fun of everyone I see that purchased this.

    • TheComingofTan

      I understand you not liking the value and not purchasing the product; but, you want to “make fun of everyone” that purchased it?  Are we in middle school again?

      • Zdotisretarded

        believe it or not there are teenagers typing on gaming forums

  • No buy. A week early and 50% off DLC might of been worth it.

  • if they were to give you free 1-3 day access to the game early it would be worth buying. but i would get it until knowing it was free..

    it sucks because ncaa football came out already, and the next upcoming title is madden, i feel it not worth it.

    again if retail sold the hard disc at 59.99 + tax in most case 64.00 something. they should do a thing where if you wait a week and your a member you can get the game at a discounted rate 49.99 or 54.99. i think that would help the sale of adding 25 dollars to it, and gives the person the feeling that they are getting something that’s worth getting.

    • kendiggy

      true, I would at least be a little interested if I saved some money on the game to subsidize this nothing of a package.

  • DonRSD aka PSN DonVCorleone

    what a ripoff.
    typical EA.
    when does the nfl license expire so nfl 2k can make its triumphant return?

  • DonRSD aka PSN DonVCorleone

    what a ripoff.
    typical EA.
    when does the nfl license expire so nfl 2k can make its triumphant return?

    • Phoenix

      2k is not going to make a return. When the license expires the NFL will just re-sign with EA.

      Madden sells well, they already are well known as the official game of the NFL, and EA can afford te license and has no reason to give it up.

      Considering the NFL wants only one NFL game (which is why they offered up the license in the first place) there is pretty much 0 chance of EA not resigning unless they go out of business or shut down the sports division of their company (neither of which is likely).

      On a side note it isn’t a ripoff it is a good deal. 5 full games for 25 dollars allows gamers to try out the full product before deciding to purchase plus if they decide to purchase they get a discount on dlc. It is a very good deal.

  • DonRSD aka PSN DonVCorleone

    what a ripoff.
    typical EA.
    when does the nfl license expire so nfl 2k can make its triumphant return?

  • DonRSD aka PSN DonVCorleone

    what a ripoff.
    typical EA.
    when does the nfl license expire so nfl 2k can make its triumphant return?

  • Skihawks

    Pasta,

    Good article.  I agree that the ability to grab a game three days early is big.  Think about it.  Instead of waiting til a Tuesday (Monday midnight release) many people have the weekend to play a much anticipated game without the worry of calling off sick, taking a personal day, missing school, etc.  I think that is smart on EA’s part.  My only concern would be the length of time to download the game.  If the game is available at 3 p.m. EST (for example) and doesn’t finish downloading til midnight, you have lost a day. 

    Also, I hope EA reconsiders the DLC.  It is an absolute rip off that DLC is that expensive.  TW 12 courses have gone up in price.  I still find it amazing that even older DLC (for all titles, not just EA) don’t drop in price over time.  It could increase sales and bring in something versus nothing.  The initial DLC offering they considered was way more appealing. 

  • Skihawks

    Pasta,

    Good article.  I agree that the ability to grab a game three days early is big.  Think about it.  Instead of waiting til a Tuesday (Monday midnight release) many people have the weekend to play a much anticipated game without the worry of calling off sick, taking a personal day, missing school, etc.  I think that is smart on EA’s part.  My only concern would be the length of time to download the game.  If the game is available at 3 p.m. EST (for example) and doesn’t finish downloading til midnight, you have lost a day. 

    Also, I hope EA reconsiders the DLC.  It is an absolute rip off that DLC is that expensive.  TW 12 courses have gone up in price.  I still find it amazing that even older DLC (for all titles, not just EA) don’t drop in price over time.  It could increase sales and bring in something versus nothing.  The initial DLC offering they considered was way more appealing. 

    • Anonymous

      3 days early is nothing

      • it kinda is if your not sure if you want the game and you want to “test” it out first

        • Anonymous

          $25 to test a game? Come on man!!!

          • Jared16Evans

            yeah but you have to consider that you can “test” the full version of 5 games for that price which is less than renting each game to go along with not knowing if your store (Blockbuster, Game Fly, Redbox, Family Video) will have it.

    • ive never taken off school or  so i could play a video game lol

  • Skihawks

    Pasta,

    Good article.  I agree that the ability to grab a game three days early is big.  Think about it.  Instead of waiting til a Tuesday (Monday midnight release) many people have the weekend to play a much anticipated game without the worry of calling off sick, taking a personal day, missing school, etc.  I think that is smart on EA’s part.  My only concern would be the length of time to download the game.  If the game is available at 3 p.m. EST (for example) and doesn’t finish downloading til midnight, you have lost a day. 

    Also, I hope EA reconsiders the DLC.  It is an absolute rip off that DLC is that expensive.  TW 12 courses have gone up in price.  I still find it amazing that even older DLC (for all titles, not just EA) don’t drop in price over time.  It could increase sales and bring in something versus nothing.  The initial DLC offering they considered was way more appealing. 

  • If i was a billionaire i wouldn’t do this deal.. Its not worth it @ all 3 days!? Besides people can wait to play ur half ass games ea

  • I could only imagine the backlash if the Sports Season Ticket had been initially connected with NCAA Football 12, which has had all kinds of online issues.

  • Lesciancio

    I have already purchased and not really seeing the downside. You will be able to play 5 games before their release dates and see if they are worth your money.. It’s like renting them all for 5 bucks a piece. Rather spend that 5 per than go out and buy anyone of them for 60 and not like them.

    • Monty

       That actually does makes a lot of sense..you can rent the games for 3 days and see if you like them..or if they are broken..Damn…..damn…

  • Keith.

    Just another EA money grab.  EA would sell Peter Moore’s mother if it thought it would help pay for all those exclusive licenses.

  • arodg012

    hey pasta. does the download last until midnight on the games official release or does it end early thar morning?

    • I believe it expires early Tuesday AM (something like 6am ET) 

      • If true, that could be a good way to not have to deal with the crowds at midnight releases.

  • Anonymous

    Would be SO WORTH IT if this was ALL EA Games. Not just EA Sports.

  • kendiggy

    I thought it was funny that they posted about this to their facebook NCAA Football 12 page, and there was only a few comments about the package, and pages of ripping EA apart for the crappy NCAA game they released. I agree with you that it was poor timing for them to ask consumers for more money.

    It might be okay if maybe they included the online pass with this, and dropped the price of each individual game. maybe if they gave people the choice of how they want to play the game, and still have the option of just buying the online pass instead of the the whole package. I don’t know, I guess we could spend all day either ripping it apart or talking about how to make it better, but I really don’t think they would change anything because of it.

  • Jodonnell2194

    3 days early? lmao. I can get the game a week early from any store not named gamestop.

  • They should just allow consumers to pay like $5 to download one full game 3 days early. I bet more people who do that, even though it technically costs more, than spending $25 for a full year. Millions of people are ripping this, but most would easily spend $5 to download Madden or NCAA three days early. 

  • Skihawks

    Pasta,

    Are you buying it to get more insight which would enable you to provide more specific feedback on its overall value first hand?

    • I will be buying it. I don’t want to, mostly on principle, but I need to for coverage purposes.

  • they should really rethink this 3 days isnt dick especially since its saturday sunday monday    if they let you have it a week early  that way mid week when you have nothing to do you have this    there isnt one thing in here that is value wise worth it     

    i have also noticed i havn’t said one thing nice about EA in like 2 years  

    soooooooo
     
    EA you smell nice today 

  • Skihawks

    I forgot to ask if this will impact demos? Why release a demo if there are people who will drop $25 to play the full retail version three days early?

    • I dont see them conflicting. Early demo available to everyone, its anticipated because its earlier but is limited in its scope. Then the 3 day early download is absolute final version and access to most modes and online play.

  • Double D

    Will the rosters for Madden be updated earlier than the actual release day then?

    • Usually the first roster update is out about a week before the game arrives in stores. Probably earlier this year. They’ll want it out so reviewers don’t mention outdated rosters.

      • Joe

        Thanks Pasta and Double D, that small but important information helps in making my decision to buy this thing.

      • Double D

        Thanks pasta. I probably will be getting the service so i can play the game early.

  • Say pasta what will this do for ncaa12? new stadiums? unis?

    • This has nothing to do with NCAA 12. Buying the ‘season ticket’ will land NCAA 12 in the 365 days. 

  • Geeznutz

    I’m waiting for the cold water to hit my face any minute

  • Joe

    Yeah it is just a way for EA to make more money.  Yeah they should have made it up to a week before the street date release.  And yes they should give costumers who buy this a bigger discount on DLC for each game.  But it’s America damn it!  And this is the American way.  I personally love the idea of getting Madden on a Saturday (won’t even attempt to download it Friday night).  I don’t see why EA still brings the game out on a Tuesday.  Anyway, count me as one of those suckers.

  • JJ

    EA, if you’re going to try to rape me up the ass then you might as well buy me dinner and take me to a movie first.

  • Jlosch13

    I will most likely make this the first Madden title I haven’t purchased in years.

  • Robnelson21

    I look at it this way, Purchasing the season ticket can be good for those not sure if their going to buy madden. If you don’t like it you only paid $25.00 for the DL and not wasting $66.00 on the game.