The next step for the Battlefield series has been revealed to tone it down and make it free. Battlefield Heroes has been announced by EA and is being developed by DICE, the team behind the 10 million plus selling Battlefield games.
Further coverage has been supplied by the New York Times and by the BBC.
So, ignoring the TF2 arguments that have already spread like wildfire around the internet lets get down to my thoughts. This is a good move by EA, people by have issues with the use of adverts and micro-transactions in games, but for me if they mean the game is free then all the better. EA’s promise that it will be playable on ‘grandmas laptop’ (BBC article) is also promising as it indicates that system requirements are going to be low and many PCs will be able to play the game.
That is a very good thing. By removing the traditional barriers of entry to big PC game releases, cost and high system requirements EA are attempting to tap into the ‘casual’ market and make a PC game playable for the masses. The ads are said to only appear on the front end of the game and micro-transactions will, according to the BBC article not be used to buy better weapons, instead they will be used to customize the character. Again this is a good move as it removes the ‘elite’ element that occurs when people can buy their way to success in a game (Hellgate London anyone?)
The game is also being toned down according to EAs VP for US and EU publishing, Gerhard Florin.
“Now we’ve toned down the difficulty, shortened each game session to 10 or 15 minutes and made the visual style more cartoony.”
This is another smart move by EA and DICE, while it may isolate the Battlefield players who played for realism it is going to make Heroes much much more appealing to the casual gamer.
If EA and DICE can make this a good enjoyable game to play and take this distribution method forwards then I will be happy. If this also helps spread PC gaming to the masses again, I will be even happier.
Originally posted on my blog.