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Electronic Arts Tests Games Subscription on Xbox One

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July 29 (Bloomberg) -- Electronic Arts Inc. began testing a monthly subscription service that lets players download games such as FIFA 14 to Microsoft Corp.’s Xbox One consoles.

Under the so-called beta test, players can buy a $4.99-a-month membership for unlimited access to four titles, including Madden NFL 25, Peggle 2 and Battlefield 4, Redwood City, California-based Electronic Arts said in a statement today.

The EA Access membership is a first for the company, which also plans to sell the subscriptions through GameStop Corp. stores and at Amazon.com. Both outlets will also offer the service in Europe. As part of the plan, fans will be able to try new games up to five days before their release and save 10 percent on digital content through the Xbox Games store, the company said.

“It’s an interesting way to create a revenue stream,” said Eric Handler, an analyst with MKM Partners LLC in Greenwich, Connecticut, who has a neutral rating on Electronic Arts shares. New game trials could give the company a boost in holiday sales, and spur other publishers to follow, he said.

Electronic Arts fell 2.1 percent to $34.34 at the close in New York. The stock has gained 50 percent this year.

To contact the reporter on this story: Sonali Basak in New York at sbasak7@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Anthony Palazzo at apalazzo@bloomberg.net Rob Golum, Stephen West

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