Electronic Arts, one of the largest game publishers in the industry, has begun digital delivery of its games with Battlefield 2: Special Forces, the first expansion to its popular multiplayer online shooter via its new EA Downloader service. Players can purchase the game now for $29.99 and download a version that will be unlocked concurrent with its retail release on November 22nd.
The service is similar to Valve's Steam "content delivery system", though at present Electronic Arts has announced no plan to expand the service to non-EA games. Those who download the digital versions of the game will have the ability to re-download it should the installer be deleted, as the game is tied to the user's account. In addition, the EA Downloader service allows users to install games on multiple PCs, tied to specific usernames and passwords.
Future EA releases through the digital delivery system will include full games, demos, updates, and patches, as the company moves forcefully into the paid-for digital content area on the PC, and as the PC retail game market in North America continues to partially fragment, ceding somewhat to the growth of casual online PC titles.
"Digital distribution will keep content flowing to players, keeping their current EA games fresh and delivering new EA games quickly and conveniently," said Chip Lange, vice president of EA Online Marketing. "We are always looking for ways to better connect with our customers, and EA is innovating to give our game-playing community access to exciting and immersive content."
The next title slated for digital delivery is the Sims 2 Holiday Party Pack, which will let Sims 2 players download an assortment of holiday-themed items for $14.99. The pack will be available on November 17th.