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EA is always on the lookout for new ways to monetize gaming content, but the company’s new program, launching today, is blazing some particularly innovative new ground. For $25 a year, gamers can sign up for the “Season Ticket” program, and enjoy a variety of savings and bonuses. The biggest one is the ability to download EA sports titles three days before they hit retail shelves—without buying them—via the PlayStation Network or Xbox Live.
Here is everything you get for your $25 a year:
* 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.
So you’ll download the full game three days early, and then when that download times out on the game’s retail release you have to go to the store to pay for it.