Electronic Arts entered the free-to-play market with Battlefield Heroes
, and it's continuing to explore that business model with the brand, with DICE and recently formed
EA division Easy now developing a core-focused Battlefield
PC shooter that will be free to play.
EA says the Battlefield Play4Free
will feature the vehicles, sandbox environments and 32-player multiplayer that are "signature" for Battlefield
, and particularly highlights its aim to offer "premium" quality in the free category. The publisher describes the title as "positioned to compete with top console titles" when it goes live in Spring 2011.
"We broke new ground in 2009 with the launch of Battlefield Heroes
, a game that has six million registered players worldwide," says senior producer James Salt. "Now we are complementing that arcade shooter with a core, realistic Battlefield
shooter experience that fans have been clamoring for."
Electronic Arts is continuing to aggressively explore new tactics in emergent market sectors like mobile, social, digital and free-to-play, and company's current goal is to continue to grow its revenues from these sources to represent a greater share of its whole.
Although the publisher hasn't discussed the particulars of the business model for Battlefield Play4Free
, the game will monetize at least in part on microtransactions as Battlefield Heroes
does -- the game will feature an in-game store for weapons and equipment players purchase with virtual currency.
The virtual currency can be earned through gameplay, but Battlefield Heroes
found success by allowing players to make real money purchases as well. As the title ramped up, developer DICE's Ben Cousins -- who after the game's success became the head of the Easy free-to-play group within EA -- has said
that the "vast majority" of players play for free.