Battlefield Free-To-Play Game Could Happen Someday, But Not Soon
EA says it "probably makes sense" to offer a free-to-play Battlefield game.
On a longer-term basis, Electronic Arts wants to offer a big free-to-play Battlefield game, but it's not going to happen right away. Speaking during EA's latest earnings call, CEO Andrew Wilson said one of EA's goals, broadly speaking for all of this major franchises, is to expand the "modalities of play" and give players more options for how they want to consume content. One of these pillars could, one day, be a free-to-play Battlefield game.
"When we think about all of our games and our big blockbuster franchises like Apex, like FIFA, like Madan, like Battlefield, like the Sims, we're always thinking about innovation and creativity at its core, [and] how do we build that out in the modalities of play?" he said. "How do we think about that across platform? How do we think about the extension of those experiences? And business model is one piece of that puzzle."
Wilson said it "probably makes sense" for the Battlefield series to have a free-to-play component some day in the future. EA isn't doing that just yet because the first job is to provide a "reinvention" of the series, and it believes Battlefield 2042 is that with its larger-scale, 128-player multiplayer and new modes like Portal and Hazard Zone. The next phase of Battlefield's ongoing expansion will be to launch the free-to-play Battlefield Mobile. After that, EA might look to release another free-to-play Battlefield game, presumably for console and PC.
"I think as we then think about further expanding the play those over time, free-to-play will make sense for the franchise, but it's not the focus right now," Wilson said.
For the first time in many years, the Battlefield, Halo, and Call of Duty franchises are all releasing new mainline entries this year, and all within the space of a month of each other. Battlefield stands out, though, because it's the only one of the three franchises that doesn't have a free offering. Halo Infinite's multiplayer is free and Call of Duty: Warzone and its new Caldera map are free (though Vanguard's traditional multiplayer is not).
EA isn't missing out on the free-to-play train altogether, of course, as its Apex Legends franchise is an absolute juggernaut that brings in a lot of money for the company every quarter.
EA has experimented with free-to-play Battlefield games in the past, like with Battlefield Heroes and Battlefield Play4Free, though they didn't last too long. Battlefield 2042 will be here very soon, and you can check on the unlock time to play as soon as it's live.
In other news, Wilson recently discussed NFTs and spoke about why he's enthusiastic about their promise for the future of gaming.
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