Electronic Arts continued the microtransaction fueled free-to-play direction for the Battlefield
series today with the open beta release of PC title Battlefield Play4Free
A more realistic take than 2009's Battlefield: Heroes
similarly lets players participate in basic 32-player shootouts without laying down any money. Dedicated players can use real money to purchase additional Battlefunds -- the same in-game currency used in Heroes
-- to purchase upgrades to characters and equipment.
At a GDC presentation last month
, Ben Cousins, who recently left his role
as general manager of EA's free-to-play focused Easy studio, said the company aims to make Play4Free
"the Western world's biggest free-to-play client game."
Cousins also outlined how Heroes
' introduction of paid weapons that provided players a small but distinct advantage caused the game's average per-user revenue to shoot up, despite vocal complaints from some players
"There seemed to be a disconnect between what they were saying -- 'I will leave and never spend a penny' -- and what they were doing -- sticking around and spending a lot of money," Cousins said of the change.
Last month, EA announced Battlefield: Heroes
has attracted 7 million registered users
since its June 2009 launch.
In February, EA announced a distribution deal with BigPoint
putting games on the company's Play4Free label in front of BigPoint's 175 million registered users.