EA Sports did not answer questions, from Polygon and elsewhere, to clarify what "gameplay hours" means — whether actually playing the game or if that includes time spent in menus adjusting rosters and the like.
Still, this figures to be more restricted than the old Season Ticket program, which gave subscribers early access to upcoming EA Sports games like Madden, with unlimited use, on the Friday before their general release in North America.
In both cases, early access is limited to a pre-release period; once the game launches in retail stores and elsewhere, the pre-release copy that has been downloaded deactivates.
EA Access was announced at the end of July and offered last year's Madden NFL 25, as well as FIFA 14, Battlefield 4 and Peggle 2, to beta subscribers. Those titles are full digital downloads, and Electronic Arts has promised never to remove a game it has added to the EA Access catalog.
However, EA later announced that this year's demo version of Madden NFL — which had been made available to all consoles for free for nearly a decade — would only be accessible to EA Access subscribers. That effectively shut out PlayStation gamers, where no EA Access program is available.
It costs $5 a month or $30 annually to subscribe to EA Access.