News

EA Sports launches $25 season ticket, cripples it with side deal with GameStop

Posted by: Chuck at 8/2/2011 8:12 AM
Today EA Sports launches their EA Sports Season Ticket, a fairly cool program where you can pay an annual fee of $25 and get access to the following benefits:
  • Download  a demo version of EA Sports games three days before the game is available at retail
  • 20% discount on DLC
  • Free "premium" web content
  • Membership recognition
The deal has been released just in time for the fall sports season which means if you buy it now you'll be able to get it for Madden NFL 12, NHL 12, FIFA 12, and the rest of EA Sports end of year lineup.  This sounds great but EA has crippled the program a bit by linking the program with Gamestop (who will be doing a bunch of marketing around it) by teasing gamers with a digital release of games, only to have them expire the day the game is available at retail.

The digital download thing sounds cool until you realize it's a timed demo and it will go away after three days, forcing you to go buy the game at retail.  Sure you can transfer your achievements over and you do get the early access to the game but it feels like EA missed the opportunity to allow consumers to buy the game digitally ahead of launch.   The discount on DLC will be nice and some of the premium content could be interesting if it's done right but it still feels like EA really missed the opportunity to do something really cool here.  Hopefully we'll get full retail purchases next year.


EA SPORTS SEASON TICKET LAUNCHES TODAY

New Program Provides Full Game Digital Downloads Three Days Early, Discounted Downloadable Game Content and More

REDWOOD CITY, Calif. – August 2, 2011 – Electronic Arts Inc. (NASDAQ: ERTS) announced today the launch of EA SPORTS™ Season Ticket*, an all-new program that provides premium benefits for a better gaming experience on five participating EA SPORTS titles. With an annual fee of $24.99 or 2000 Microsoft Points, subscribers will receive four all-new program benefits: access to play all participating EA SPORTS games via a full-game digital download three days before consumers have the option to purchase a disc at retail launch; a 20-percent discount on downloadable game content; free premium web content; and membership recognition. GameStop will introduce EA SPORTS Season Ticket in North America with an innovative multichannel marketing campaign, including its PowerUp Rewards™ program of more than 11 million members.

EA SPORTS Season Ticket is available for the PlayStation®3 computer entertainment system and Xbox 360® video game and entertainment system from Microsoft beginning today. Fans can subscribe today through the Xbox LIVE® Marketplace for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation®Store for the PlayStation 3, and benefits begin with this month’s launch of Madden NFL 12. Moving forward, participating franchises include Madden NFL Football, NHL hockey, FIFA Soccer, Tiger Woods PGA TOUR® golf and NCAA® Football.

“EA SPORTS Season Ticket is an exciting program for our core fans – it lets our biggest fans play earlier, play more and play better than anyone else,” said Peter Moore, President, EA SPORTS. “EA SPORTS Season Ticket is an important step in our vision for transforming how deeply fans connect with the sports games they love through digital products and services. We’re excited to continue evolving EA SPORTS Season Ticket as we listen to what consumers want most in their gaming experiences.”

GameStop President Tony Bartel added, “We are excited to be selected as the exclusive retail marketing partner for the roll-out of EA SPORTS Season Ticket. GameStop is in a unique position to deliver this digital product utilizing its multichannel network. We will continue to work with progressive publishers to bring great gaming experiences to our customers.”

With a paid subscription to EA SPORTS Season Ticket, fans will receive the following benefits for the five participating titles:

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

To subscribe to EA SPORTS Season Ticket for the Xbox 360, go to the Xbox LIVE Marketplace, download and launch the EA SPORTS application, and follow the prompts after “purchase a subscription”. For PS3™ users, go to the PlayStation Store, search for EA SPORTS Season Ticket and purchase the program. EA SPORTS Season Ticket is available on PS3™ and Xbox 360 in North America, and Xbox 360 in Europe, Australia and New Zealand. For more information, assets and videos, please visit www.easports.com/seasonticket.

For more information about EA SPORTS, including news, video, blogs, forums, fantasy leagues and game communities, please visit www.easports.com to connect, share and compete.

EA SPORTS is one of the leading sports entertainment brands in the world, with top-selling videogame franchises, award-winning interactive technology, global videogame competitions, and breakthrough digital experiences. EA SPORTS delivers personal access to the emotion of sports through industry-leading sports simulation videogames from franchises including Madden NFL football, FIFA Soccer, NHL® hockey, NBA JAM, NCAA® Football, Fight Night boxing, EA SPORTS MMA, Tiger Woods PGA TOUR® golf, and EA SPORTS Active.



*CONDITIONS AND RESTRICTIONS APPLY. SEE WWW.EASPORTS.COM/SEASONTICKET FOR DETAILS.

**Digital download is available at 6pm EST four days before launch to ensure subscribers get a full three days to play following the download time. The digital version will time out when the product is available at retail.

About Electronic Arts
Electronic Arts (NASDAQ:ERTS) is a global leader in digital interactive entertainment. The Company’s game franchises are offered as both packaged goods products and online services delivered through Internet-connected consoles, personal computers, mobile phones and tablets. EA has more than 100 million registered players and operates in 75 countries.

In fiscal 2011, EA posted GAAP net revenue of $3.6 billion. Headquartered in Redwood City, California, EA is recognized for critically acclaimed, high-quality blockbuster franchises such as The Sims™, Madden NFL, FIFA Soccer, Need for Speed™, Battlefield, and Mass Effect™. More information about EA is available at http://info.ea.com.
EA SPORTS, EA SPORTS Active, The Sims and Need for Speed are trademarks of Electronic Arts Inc. Mass Effect is a trademark of EA International (Studio and Publishing) Ltd. John Madden, NFL, NBA, NHL NCAA, Tiger Woods, PGA TOUR and FIFA are the property of their respective owners and used with permission. Xbox, Xbox 360 and Xbox LIVE are trademarks of the Microsoft group of companies. “PlayStation” is a registered trademark and “PS3” is a trademark of Sony Computer Entertainment Inc.

All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners.