Thanks to GameInformer for its story discussing EA Sports' announcement of a new Premium Pass service for Madden NFL 2005 players
. Although it's explained that "This package of paid subscription-level features will be available [on the PS2 and Xbox Live] at no cost to Madden NFL 2005 owners, as long as the user enters their credit card number, by way of sponsorship by Dodge"
, there's some speculation that subsequent Madden seasons will include a higher-tier, optional fee, especially as "If you do not have a credit card, you can still sign up for the EA Sports Premium Pass with a PayPal account, or Telecheck for $19.95."
In the meantime, this extra service means: "Players who sign up for the EA Sports Premium Pass receive a boost to their online Reputation Rating, which is a publicly visible indicator that rewards and penalizes players for following EA Sports Fair Play rules"
, as well as receiving: "Name in lights... personalized career pages... members only medals [and forthcoming] Web leagues [and] enhanced Web tournaments." Update: 08/06 17:47 GMT
: Game Informer now has an interview with EA's Chip Lange
which helps clarify the subscription-related shenanigans.