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Easy Studios GM Cousins Exits EA As  Battlefield Play4Free  Launches

Easy Studios GM Cousins Exits EA As Battlefield Play4Free Launches

March 31, 2011 | By Leigh Alexander

Electronic Arts' Ben Cousins has been a vocal proponent of the free-to-play model as general manager of the publisher's free-focused Easy Studios, but now that the game he's been advocating, Battlefield Play4Free, is launching, it looks like he'll be departing.

"[Battlefield Play4Free] launches this week and it's time for me to leave EA," Cousins said on Twitter. "Very proud of what I've achieved in the last four years."

"The team should get all the credit; they are all very much still at EA, kicking ass as ever," he later added.

Cousins quickly became an outspoken presence on the potential value of free-to-play business models to consumers, recently suggesting that the $60 boxed retail format was 'exploitative'.

At GDC earlier this year, he was candid about the struggles the team faced in finding the right game balance for virtual goods sales in Battlefield Heroes.

EA has a staggered launch planned for Battlefield Play4Free's open beta that will first welcome players of Battlefield: Bad Company, BFBC2 and Battlefield 1943 on March 31, then will add the game's Twitter and Facebook followers starting April 4. The game is expected to fully launch during the spring.

Cousins hasn't announced what he'll do next, and Gamasutra has reached out to Electronic Arts for comment and will update with any we receive.

[UPDATE: In a statement to Gamasutra, Electronic Arts said Oskar Burman will lead EA's Play4Free Easy team in Stockholm. "Battlefield Heroes continues to grow and we look forward to launching Battlefield Play4Free on April 4th worldwide," said the company.]

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