All last year's EA Sports games now included with company's subscription service

For a number of years now, the best value in the world of video games has been the EA Access subscription service. Available on Xbox One for $ 30 a year, the service provides the back catalog of games from publisher Electronic Arts plus 10-hour trials with new games and 10 percent off all digital purchases.

What’s referred to as the “Vault” now includes 47 games which are available in full to subscribers. Among them are all of the EA Sports games released on this console generation. The most recent ones — “Madden NFL 17,” “NHL 17,” “FIFA 17,” “EA Sports UFC 2” — are now even part of that group.

MORE: Review of Madden NFL 17

It’s an interesting strategy being employed with EA Access, as the games are added at a point in the year when their potential to sell new copies has dwindled, leaving digital revenue as the primary focus. The revenue-generating Ultimate Team mode within EA Sports games makes the company hundreds of millions each year. By making the games essentially free to play, it provides an opportunity for more people to get into them and spend money there, while at the same time maybe creating some new fans who will buy the next editions in the fall.

There is also an EA Access spin-off for PC called “Origin Access.” That one includes “FIFA 17” but none of the other sports games from the company releases for PC. Sony has continued to block the EA Access service from being made available on PlayStation 4.

MORE: Review of FIFA 17

While many sports games are quick to lose relevance once their seasons end, there are the likes of “FIFA 17,” “NHL 17,” “EA UFC 2” and “Rory McIlroy PGA Tour,” which represent leagues or promotions that are still active or aren’t based on a yearly cycle. This is the point in the year when EA Access is at its highest value for sports fans.

Bryan Wiedey posts sports gaming news and analysis daily at Pastapadre.com, is co-founder of the sports gaming site HitThePass.com, hosts the “Press Row Podcast” and be reached on Twitter @Pastapadre.

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