Madden fans: if you signed up to EA Access to enjoy the demo, we have bad news for you.
The Madden NFL 15 demo included in EA Access is limited to six gameplay hours, EA has confirmed.
@KansasFF EA Access memebers will have six gameplay hours with the full Madden NFL 15 game.
— EA Access (@EAAccess) August 18, 2014
It’s worth noting that the “demo” is not a specific teaser build but the full, feature-complete game, so putting a timer on it is the only way EA can limit it to a taster experience rather than, you know, the full release.
In this instance, the demo really seems to be functioning as an Early Access deal rather than a taster – albeit a very limited one. Sort of makes you miss the old Season Ticket scheme, where you’d get unlimited use early access to the whole EA Sports range.
This kind of demo is the cheapest to produce, because it doesn’t involve much extra development work. Its existence is, in that regard, a good thing, as publishers are proving more and more loathe to produce demos.
In many other ways it’s going to be deeply unpopular. For one thing, it’s not free, as demos usually are – EA Access costs $5 a month or $30 per year, so the publisher is essentially locking demos behind a paywall. Sort of ruins the whole try-before-you-buy thing, doesn’t it? We an’t say this comes as a surprise, though; this isn’t the first paywalled EA demo situation we’ve seen.
For another, EA Access is not available on PlayStation consoles, so there’s no way for PS3 and PS4 fans to get the demo. Gosh. (Sony has said it doesn’t have anything against the scheme, by the way, although it has suggested EA Access isn’t good value.)
Finally, making you pay for something then limiting the time you an spend with it – well. The outrage over PlayStation Now pricing is probably a pretty good indication of how digital rentals are going down with the gaming community right now.
Of course, EA Access’s subscription price includes other content: Madden NFL 25, FIFA 14, Battlefield 4 and Peggle 2. More will be added in the future, and none removed. You don’t need a Gold Live sub for EA Access, but you will need one if you want to use the multiplayer side of any of the included games. So the demo is a sort of value-add thing, I guess, rather than the point of the scheme.
Madden 15 hits PS3, PS4, Xbox 360 and Xbox One on August 26 in North America and August 29 in Europe.