Feature Article

Skipping a Madden 15 Demo for EA Access Loses EA Some of the Goodwill It's Earned

Opinion: Subscribing to EA Access will be the only way to sample this year's Madden, and that rubs me the wrong way.

Coinciding with the recent announcement that EA Access is now available to all Xbox One owners, EA revealed that it will not release a demo for the upcoming Madden NFL 15 (as it typically does for Madden every year). EA says this is because it chose to keep its focus on development of the game, rather than diverting resources to the creation of a demo. Given that EA Access offers early access to the company's games--Madden 15 being the first such game--it's going to be hard for fans to buy that excuse, and I can't blame them.

I was really excited for EA Access when it was first announced, and I remain intrigued by parts of it. While I don't think anyone should be crazy about companies' attempts to take ownership out of our hands as consumers, this was positioned in an optional way. Being able to spend $5 per month (or even $30 per year) to play Battlefield 4, FIFA 14, and other games as much as you want doesn't strike me as an awful deal, particularly if you're on a tight budget.

Early access to games is also interesting. Activision revealed last week that preordering Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare will get you the game a day early. For many people, that's a tangible bonus much more likely to encourage preorders than a "bullet-brass" exosuit and gun. The promise of being able to try out most (if not all) of EA's upcoming games before they're released is a nice perk for subscribing to EA Access, even if it's not something that I'd specifically spend money on. EA revealed today you'll be able to play the full version of Madden 15 for six hours with Access, which I feel is a fair amount of time--I was never expecting EA to give away five full days of access to the game before it was released.

Prior to last week's demo news, the most important point about EA Access prior to me was that it was purely optional: If you wanted to go about buying and playing games as you normally would, you could. Up until this Madden news, that made the service--at worst--something you could simply ignore. Between EA vowing to not remove games from EA Access' library of free games (which I am inclined to believe because of the negative PR that would ensue if it started removing games left and right) and some other things it has done recently (like offering free games and refunds through Origin), I was starting to feel like EA had made some real strides in making itself more consumer-friendly.

But this Madden news gives us a distressing glimpse of a future where playable demos (or demo equivalents) are locked behind paywalls. With Internet speeds increasing and things like streaming technology becoming more feasible, publishers should be exploring ways to let more people try their games, not fewer. And yet the latter is exactly what's happened with Madden: as EA Access is only available on Xbox One, players on Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and PlayStation 4 have no way to sample this year's Madden. And when you consider their respective install bases, those platforms represent the majority of Madden's potential audience.

Particularly in the case of an annual sports game like Madden, having a demo available is incredibly important. A perception continues to exist that sports games change very little from year to year, and a demo is the best way to prove that isn't the case. It's also an opportunity to hook people who didn't plan on buying the full game; I know that has happened with me more than once, where a Madden demo convinced me to take the plunge with that year's game.

While EA can say the lack of a demo is the result of focusing on development of the game, it's not as if EA Access is something it threw together in the last few weeks; whatever the reason, EA had to know how it would look to skip a demo of Madden 15 and then begin offering a paid subscription program that will (among other things) let you try Madden 15 ahead of release. It's all the more off-putting that this is happening with a game like Madden that has no real direct competition, as opposed to FIFA 15, which is getting a demo but does have competition for EA to worry about in PES 2015.

EA has a history of being perceived as a money-hungry behemoth, and while I find it absurd that anyone could have ever considered it the worst company in America, there exists a sizable group of people who hate EA. Rather than offering a service that could have won some people over, it now seems likely that EA Access will be considered the direct cause for Madden not getting a demo. Even if EA's official explanation for why there is no demo is believed, it's likely to draw ire: People will see a company that could make the necessary bid to lock up the ESPN and NFL licenses (depriving us of the NFL 2K series, which many felt was far superior to Madden) but won't spend what's necessary to create a demo, which it's been doing every year since at least 2005's Madden NFL 06.

I don't like to make assumptions about how much work goes into making a game possible, but it's not as if sports game demos usually do much more than let you play a limited portion of the full game. This isn't a situation where a demo experience has to be handcrafted. If EA didn't want to spend time making a demo, it could have done what it's doing with EA Access: provide a limited amount of time with the full game. Instead, because that's a selling point for the subscription, most people won't get to try the game.

By not offering a demo at the same time as it launches EA Access, EA is potentially shooting itself in the foot on more than one level. In terms of Madden 15, a strong demo won't convince someone planning to skip the game that they should buy it. (A study has suggested not releasing a demo can be a boon for sales, but that's a questionable conclusion because many of the industry's biggest games never receive demos.) At the very least, those people on the fence might decide to wait until after launch to buy the game, at which point they may opt to pick up a used copy--which EA doesn't directly benefit from--or to not buy it at all. With so many games coming out this fall, it won't be hard to find something else to play.

And in terms of EA Access, what seemed like it could be a good program may suddenly be looked at with contempt. People who were considering subscribing may have ruled out the prospect altogether for fear that doing so will send EA the message that they're okay with missing out on the demos we're accustomed to seeing.

I know I, for one, am not okay with that, and I sincerely hope this is not a sign of things to come.

Chris Pereira is a freelance writer for GameSpot, and you can follow him on Twitter @TheSmokingManX
Got a news tip or want to contact us directly? Email news@gamespot.com

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Twitter/Xbox Live/PSN/Nintendo Network: TheSmokingManX

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Discussion

105 comments
oo_yungstar_oo
oo_yungstar_oo

As an Access user (bargain by the way), this is great news that we get to try the full game.

As regards the lack of a demo. Who needs a demo when you can try the full game?

Blame Sony for not seeing the value in this and not EA.

GrenadeLauncher
GrenadeLauncher

Tough. This is the future of the industry. Publisher subscriptions on top of publisher subscriptions. Ubisoft has already expressed interest.


When all is said and done, you know exactly who to thank for this.

duanwalker
duanwalker

"EA says this is because it chose to keep its focus on development of the game, rather than diverting resources to the creation of a demo."


bullocks! this is about money. cant fool all the ppl all the time!

g1downs
g1downs

Seems that EA is trying to distract us from the game itself. The commercial while funny is way out of left field, there has been a limited number of videos and no demo period.  The changes for this year look cosmetic at best. Just have a sinking feeling that like the last few years of Madden on last gen console, we are getting a game that we would consider a minor upgrade from last year.

cutt777
cutt777

Watch out and don't trip over the EA claymore! 


Now a days I look up reviews before buying EA games and I try to buy used EA games if they interest me. 


snacky_smorez
snacky_smorez

Pretty sure I won't be buying anymore EA products now. This fee stuff is getting out of hand.

syn_nyx
syn_nyx

"Consumer-friendly" I like that you wrote that Mr. Pereira


Sony Gets it:

"We don't think asking our fans to pay an additional $5 a month for this EA-specific program represents good value to the PlayStation gamer," 


EA came to Sony and Microsoft...one of these companies was trying to be consumer-friendly this generation, the other was looking to exploit every possible opportunity to pull more money out of gamers.  Guess who agreed to EA access?  EA and Microsoft have been thick as thieves this generation because they have had a common goal, limit gamer access(going all digital, no more trade-ins,etc) in order to receive more money.  The problem is the blatant greed(from advertising on your console to deceitful "free-to-play" forced in-app purchases on mobile games like Dungeon Keeper).  


The greed by both of these companies has been so transparent that even people I consider to be hardly knowledgeable when it comes to the gaming industry have commented on it.  Microsoft has made good steps on being consumer-friendly since they realized they were going to be completely crushed if they didn't stop trying to milk gamers for everything they could.  EA, on the other hand, has not changed its agenda and they more than likely won't, at least not until people actually see the manipulation for what it is and stops supporting them.  It is unfortunate EA does not have competition like Microsoft did in Sony...If they did then you wouldn't be getting milked because the company with the better policies and agenda would prevail.  

grognard66
grognard66

Anyone else notice how the only people complaining about this are PlayStation 4 only gamers who weren't given a choice? And everyone of them use the old reductionist high school debate tactic (probably because they're only in high school) of ignoring all the other benefits in the program.

This is just one aspect of the program - the vault and discount being the other two and representing an excellent value on their own (a year subscription costs less than Amazon is currently charging for FIFA14 or Battlefield 4).

Also, EA was upfront about how the early access would vary from game-to-game. According to Raptr, I played Madden 13 for 22 hours the entire year I owned it so 6 hours to play over 5 hours is more than generous in my opinion. I can't even recall ever getting up to 6 hours in 5 days from any other game/publisher.

It's also worth noting that those complaining about the value of this one aspect of the program - and for just one of it's games - thought Journey was a great value (a game lasting just over 2 hours and costing half as much as a year subscription to EA Access).

mlozano_88
mlozano_88

While I think this is a good balanced article, I don't agree with the author. I never really believed game demos brought anything to the consumer. He states it right in the article that many blockbuster titles don't have demos and it's questionable to whether or not they help or hurt sales. I do prefer EA putting more time and effort into the game so I also disagree with his assumptions that resources were taken away to make EA Access that would have been used in the demo game anyway. Its different because the EA Access team is most likely a whole separate department in the company that didn't take any staff from the madden team, while having to make a demo game probably requires the effort of the madden team during the development cycle of the game. I don't like EA's access pass either but eh that just my 2 cents.

Shmiity
Shmiity

What goodwill? EA has negative goodwill at this point.

tomservo51
tomservo51

Companies like EA have made the game industry worse. The mid-sized game makers like CDPR make the best games. Always have, always will.

Deano
Deano

I remember only about a decade ago when you had to buy $15 game magazines with cd's every month to get demos because dialup wasn't fast enough or stable enough to download on plus people had bandwidth limits. Yet we have kids nowdays crying about paying $30 a year for access to full games, you chumps really are entitled beyond belief.

LeoKRock
LeoKRock

Madden 25 didn't had a demo on Xbox One, and it wasn't because of EA Access.

Demos are unfortunately dying, but it's not EA's fault, in the Xbox One almost half of the available demos are of EA games

Gen007
Gen007

Thing is what you get with EA access isn't a demo its a trial of the full game. As in you download the full game and get to play the full thing for a limited amount of time that's a whole lot different than the traditional demo. It takes 0 extra effort to have these trials as they are simply putting a timer on the game. A demo really does take extra work though as they have to set aside a chunk of the development team to work on what amounts to roping off a piece of the game to make a demo. I know many people on the internet aren't familiar with the process(although they often think they do) but it takes time and energy / effort away from the game simply to make a demo.


I'm honestly not a fan of some of EA's practices same as many people here but I'm just not seeing the mastermind evil scheme. For one the people who play and buy madden yearly aren't gonna be deterred by the fact that there isn't a demo and EA knows that. Second, like this story mentions they are releasing a demo for NHL and fifa. I mean Fifa is more popular world wide and if they really wanted to be diabolical that would be the game to not make a demo for. Lastly the main draw of EA acess is  the unlimited acess to the games in the valut not demos. The avg person isn't that pressed for demos quite frankly especially with the plethory of informaton and content on the internet these days.


You can find reviews, watch videos, streams, podcasts, read forums, etc and get a pretty good feel for weather you want the game or not all without having played a demo. If a game is crap im sure you'll hear it from a hundred different sources.

Blazen702
Blazen702

So sick of the entitlement gamers believe they have nowadays. 10 years ago gamers would have cried for joy having EA access for $30 a year or free demos of new games. I was happily paying .25 cents up to $1.00 for 5 mins of gaming at an arcade. Stop the crying and enjoy the games.

Blazen702
Blazen702

Ok I just got madden 25 through EA access and the new madden doesn't let me play a season using a team of my choice. It only let's me play a season as 1 player so I can't play both offense and defense and switch players every play. It simulates plays if my player isn't involved. If this is the new madden I'm done with the franchise.

dd212
dd212

there will be season ticket this year so your wrong gamespot xbox 360 and ps3 users will be able to test the game this year

svaubel
svaubel

I havent given EA a dime since the Spore fiasco. 

Never looked back.

ghost140
ghost140

It will be a victory for gaming sports fans everywhere when EA loses its NFL exclusivity license.

themyst
themyst

Has anyone here considered the obvious?  Perhaps the new game sucks (or has very little to offer).  Look at NBA Live 14.  No demo, game sucked.  Coincidence.

Skele7or
Skele7or

Want to talk about EA losing goodwill, how about the EASHL controversy? 

AlClemist
AlClemist

Oh EA always ripping money off like your apps.  They are such money grabbers and only 6 hours long? thats kinda unfair.  I rather have a 2 quarter demo like earlier maddens.

Darknight765
Darknight765

First, kudos on labeling this an opinion. Second, really?!?!? They openly said demo and trials were going to be a part of the program so no surprise there. And who cares if there is no madden demo? Fans of the series are going to buy it and a demo wasn't going to make or break that. I'd be more concerned with the pace they plan on adding games to the vault.

tommynj
tommynj

We all waited this long to play Madden 15. We can wait another 8 days until official release. No big deal...

northArrow
northArrow

I wish I was surprised, but I'm not. I fully expect EA access to become a scam in which you're paying them $5 to play a game's demo. Madden's the first, you know Dragon Age and Battlefield are next

DARKSPACE
DARKSPACE

This Madden news is "BOOM.. Tough Actin Tinactin"

xTheTrueSeekerx
xTheTrueSeekerx

You're kidding, right? How is not giving gamers the choice of what is or is not a "good value" considered consumer-friendly? Besides, don't you think its hypocritical of them to say that and then release their own service that let's you rent a game for a few hours at around the same cost as 1 month of EA Access?

So who's pulling money out of gamers?

cutt777
cutt777

@syn_nyx  great points you made, I think EA's biggest Competition is Activision. They are always trying to one up each other. Guitar hero vs Rockband, Call of duty vs Battlefield, Titan falls vs Destiny, etc..

cutt777
cutt777

@grognard66 lol, EA access is a Claymore, I have my claymore glasses on, you won't see me trip over thier claymore. 


If you think it's a great deal than you buy it and stop trying to sell the kool aid to other people. 


Why would people want EA access to shit games and old sports games. If you want to play old sports games I'm sure you can find used copies for dirt cheap. 


Also new games you buy on EA access will never be yours! You can't sell back! biggest Claymore ever!


sonyonly4
sonyonly4

@grognard66 

I Don't buy EA Games anyhow the last one I bought was Crysis 2 and it sucked, Recently played Dead Space 3 which also sucked.

The only people who think this is a good deal are Xtots you are giving EA money for games that are no longer profitable the new Fifa and Madden are literally a few weeks away, Betafiled Hardline is coming plus 4 is trash, UFC has received nothing but bad reviews across the board and that only leaves PVZ the only game worth playing which you are better off just buying for near enough the same price.

EA Games are terrible pay to win garbage you Xtots are only bragging just like Ryse Son of rome that this is something special because it is not on PS4 something I am well and truly happy Sony did I hate EA and I am glad that PS4 Causals don't have the option to give the C.ancer off gaming money for Old ass Games.

Also WE DO NOT GIVE A SH!T ABOUT PS NOW get that into your little Xtot heads I don't rent games If I wan't a Game I buy it DAY ONE, so shut up bragging about this and when we see all these other publishers jumping in on this BS that EA started we will all blame you Xtots because Just like Microtransactions EA start something BAD for gaming and you Xtots all support it until the rest off us real gamers have to suffer for your actions.

Gen007
Gen007

@LeoKRock Exactly they are actually one of the few that are actually putting out demos it seems.

Thanatos2k
Thanatos2k

@Blazen702 You don't play at arcades anymore, right?


You know, because you wised up?


In 5-10 years you'll be thinking the same about that time you thought defending EA was a good idea.

hystavito
hystavito

@Blazen702 I'm sick of the word entitled :).  Seriously, you gotta admit it's overdone now :).

xTheTrueSeekerx
xTheTrueSeekerx

You have to choose either coach or owner when starting your franchise to play as the whole team, but they both offer different experiences. I personally prefer owner because it feels more like classic madden franchise mode.

sonyonly4
sonyonly4

@ghost140 If only EA lost their team licences then this horrible plague of a company can finally die, after all that is the only reason they get money Casuals buying their sh!tty sports games every year because EA hogs the licences to the teams so the competition can never really compete.

dlCHIEF58
dlCHIEF58

@themyst

LOL, you bring up one of the FEW games on next gen consoles that did have a demo. 

LeoKRock
LeoKRock

NBA Live 14 had a demo, and I bought NBA 2K14 because of it

Thanatos2k
Thanatos2k

@Skele7or EA is desperately trying to keep that under wraps.  Coincidentally every new EA game coming out is dropping modes.  NHL, Sims 4...

ShottyJ
ShottyJ

Anyone who would pay $5 for a demo or multiple demos or trials is a moron. The service overall is well worth 5$ a month so I don't really see how it is a scam.

LiquidSnake0066
LiquidSnake0066

@xTheTrueSeekerx 

There is always a catch! Could it be that EA is shifting the business model knowing that the customer will pay for DLC. Example Battlefield 4 premium $50.00 and all the different coaching and player upgrades as well as MUT packs. EA may be ahead of the curve if the push to go cloud based is successful. This move will reduce the cost of production. less boxes, less discs and less shipping and increase profits. It is not gaming friends... It's gaming business.

grognard66
grognard66

@sonyonly4  I have a PS4/Vita/PS3/PS2/PSP (and WiiU/3DS and gaming PC) so I don't feel the need to rationalize only owning one gaming option.  Your screenname says it all.  Try thinking for yourself instead of letting a multinational corporation make your choices for you.

Blazen702
Blazen702

No I don't play at arcades anymore because they don't exist. And if u have free games with PSN or games with gold it's the same but only $30 a year. You're the 1diot paying full price for games not me. Nice try kid

Blazen702
Blazen702

No I don't play at arcades anymore because they don't exist. And if u have free games with PSN or games with gold it's the same but only $30 a year. You're the idiot paying full price for games not me. Nice try kid

Blazen702
Blazen702

I'm not paying for demos. I was going to buy FIFA 15 and Madden 25 for almost $100 and now I own both for less then $3.00 a month. It's a win win situation. Especially happy that I didn't waste $50 on madden 25 since so far it sucks.

JdotK28
JdotK28

@Blazen702 No, you don't get FIFA 15, you get FIFA 14. So instead of paying $100 for this year's newest sports titles, you get both of last year's games for less than $3 a month. Enjoy playing last years FIFA and Madden, while everyone who plays those games will be playing this year's versions.


Don't worry, though, you get 2012's Battlefield 4. I'm sure that will be fun for a few months until the servers die because everyone moves on to Battlefield Hardline. I hope you enjoy the campaign mode.


At least once you realize the service isn't all it's made up to be, you won't be able to keep any of the year old games you've been paying to play since all you will have done is been renting them.

Blazen702
Blazen702

You're a fuck1ng mor0n. Battlefield, FIFA 14 and madden 25 are all less then a year old not 2012. They are next gen titles that all cost me $3. Try as hard as you want to lie but the truth is I'm right and you're wrong. GTFO. As long as I paid the $30 for the year I basically own them and all the other games joining the vault just like games with gold on X1 and free games on PSN. Get you head out of you A S S 1diot.

JdotK28
JdotK28

@Blazen702 Oh you're right on BF4, for some reason it felt like I've been playing it for 2 years already, my apologies for getting that wrong.


Aside from that, you can't argue my point which is you are basically paying for year old sports games, which are released on a yearly cycle That's cool if you want to pay to play Madden 25 and FIFA 14, but your original point is that before this service you'd have to spend $100 to play FIFA 15 and last years Madden, when really, you'd still have to spend $54 to play FIFA 15 (with the 10% off).

If this sounds like a good deal to you, playing last year's Madden when the new one is out in a week, and last year's FIFA when the new one is out in a month, then hey, more power to you. 


For more enthusiastic gamers, we've already had these games for nearly a year already and this service doesn't offer much unless you're always behind a year. Battlefield 4 is a nice addition, but Battlefield 3 has been free to play on PC for about 6 months and the servers are pretty dead. This is the cycle of these types of games and I don't see why this trend wouldn't continue once Hardline comes out.

If you see this deal as something worthwhile, more power to you. I just think for many of us adult gamers who get the newest big releases when they come out, that it offers very little. Madden, FIFA, Battlefield... these are 3 big titles with big followings that sell very well on day 1: people who play battlefield buy it early on, not months and months later, similar with Madden... you don't see people getting the newest version of the game in February and March. 


Nice language, btw... way to communicate with other people.