NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Electronic Arts (EA), alongside Microsoft (MSFT), is preparing for a global battle with Sony (SNE) over the digital gaming crowd. Electronic Arts’ gaming subscription service EA Access moved out of its beta testing stage on Monday, launching full functionality in North America, Australasia and Western Europe.
EA Access, which features popular titles "Battlefield" and "FIFA 2014" among the first available, will offer unlimited playtime for $4.99 a month, as well as several days' advance access to new releases.
EA Access is currently a Microsoft XBox-exclusive, a partnership which could buoy the latter's sales. Sony has moved 10 million PS4 units overall, while Microsoft Xbox One has trailed behind in global sales in each month since its near-simultaneous launch late November last year.
Electronic Arts' currently exclusive partnership with Microsoft is by default, though. In July, Sony turned down integration of the service on its PlayStation 4 console, arguing it wasn't seen as fair value to its customers.
Not coincidentally, Sony is currently in the beta testing stage of its own digital games subscription service, PlayStation Now. Its platform will forgo the one-price, unlimited-access model for a pay-to-play pricing tier, offering rental prices in bundled hourly packages for each game.
The new services aim to draw players to the digital platform, an offering with lower overheads than physical distribution and far more convenient to consumers.
--Written by Keris Alison Lahiff in New York.