EA to launch free, downloadable Battlefield game

by Paul Jay,

Video game giant Electronic Arts is taking a step way from the retail sales model for PC games and moving into ad-supported online gaming, with plans to introduce a free downloadable version of its Battlefield series.

Battlefield Heroes is expected to be available online in Western markets later this year. It follows the company's experiment with free online games in South Korea, where EA introduced a free version of its FIFA soccer game, the NY Times reports.

From the article:

Gerhard Florin, E.A.’s executive vice president for publishing in the Americas and Europe, said it has signed up more than five million Korean users and generates more than $1 million in monthly in-game sales. Players can pay not only for decorative items like shoes and jerseys but also for boosts in their players’ speed, agility and accuracy. Mr. Florin said that while most users do not buy anything, a sizable minority ends up spending $15 [US] to $20 [US] a month. With Battlefield Heroes, E.A. hopes to bring that basic system of “microtransactions” to Western players, along with increased advertising.

The new game is marketed to a more general audience than the retail versions of EA's Battlefield series. Heroes will feature simpler, cartoonish graphics and be easier to run on older PCs.

Battlefield Heroes could be just the beginning for EA's move to add so-called "casual online games" to its repertoire.

Last week Gamasutra, citing a report in Korean publication Digital Chosunilbo, said EA would open a development studio in Korea to produce "three or four" online games. Digital Chosunilbo cited an EA source saying an online version of NBA Street, along with Battlefield, was one of the projects.

It will be interesting to see how this business model takes in North America and Europe. We're also curious to see what other mainstay titles EA plans to convert into scaled-down online games. The Sims? NHL? How about a simplified version of some of recently acquired Bioware's games? Neverwinter Nights light anyone?

« Previous Post | Main | Next Post »

This discussion is now Open. Submit your Comment.




I guess they didn't want the same thing to happen with this game as happened to Crysis. Maybe they realized PC games don't sell well when you can just download them for free.

Posted January 21, 2008 01:48 PM



It's worth noting that Battlefield is not their best WW2 FPS game, a new one hasn't been put out in years, and they were usually trash when they were put out.
As far as microtransactions are concerned, I prefer to buy the entire game at once and not in chunks.

Posted January 21, 2008 03:49 PM



Online sports games, especially racing, are a natural fit for in-game advertising. Why should all those billboards around the arena/track be fake? Why don't people pay for spots there? There are already organised racing leagues based on car simms, all someone needs to do is offer the client for free, set up a spectator system to get more people in (or watching the replays over and over), and start selling all the advertising space.

It is a simple and real-world proven marketing system. If it works in the real world, why not in a simm?


Posted January 21, 2008 05:42 PM

Andrew H.


I agree David. I am a huge motorsports fan, and I own games from NASCAR Racing 2003 Season, which i bought brand new for 40-50 bucks 5 years ago, and now is worth well over $100 still, to NASCAR 08 on PS3, and from the cars itself, to the billboards to the walls and the infield grass area..there are real sponsorships that the game makers pay money to use the Rights to place them into the game for realism, except for Tobacco and Alcohol sponsorships. There are people out there who take Sim Racing seriously. There are many different kinds of Sim Racing Leagues out there, with their own sponsorships to pay to have a server to hold about 30-40 people to race at once, with minimal lag. You can tell which servers are the well funded ones, and which are not.

Posted January 22, 2008 12:59 PM

Stephen D


We bought my son an EA Battlefield game for the PC, but once we opened it, we were warned that there was additional advertising software bundled with the game. EA claimed no responsibility for how the adware operated.

That doesn't sound like EA is very reliable in this area.

Also, the Battlefield game says you must be 14 years of age to play, but I question how old you need to be in order to judge whether to load adware on the family computer or not.

There is a nagging question of gaming violence in the industry, but EA seems to be using kids to open the backdoor on family computers.

Posted January 23, 2008 01:57 PM



Well, this is probably going to kill the game. I also think EA is coming into the 'free game' era just a little to late. This will not bode to well. Already, their are two big online sport games that are free; Free Style Street Basketball Online, and Kicks (An online soccer game) which seem to be managing very well. EA's Battlefield going free swing is also going to cause a stir, but having some dear and almighty competition, as there are MANY free online WW games, and combat sims. I really think EA shoul;d just stick with the regiment their with, and 'going free' is more of an independent move then mainstream, which is what EA is. Stop trying to 'do the right thing', because 8.7 out of 10 times; it's wrong!

Posted January 24, 2008 08:11 AM

Barkley Pollock


What about xboxlive?

Posted January 24, 2008 04:03 PM


What about xBox live? ...?

Posted January 28, 2008 12:13 PM



What would be the point of putting Battlefield on Xbox live for free? Xbox wouldn't make any moolah from it, which seems to be Xbox Lives motives. I just don't se that happening anytime soon.

Posted February 5, 2008 08:22 AM



...Jason, that is how a business works.

Posted February 5, 2008 09:09 AM



I could see it coming from another company, but from EA, hell no. They make you pay for everything. Not to mention I have not seen a single free game on the PC produced by EA. If you can, please direct me, and not mention most of their Online implied games are done through subscriptions. If they were smart they would stay with what they are doing.

Posted February 6, 2008 08:31 AM

« Previous Post | Main | Next Post »

Post a Comment


Note: By submitting your comments you acknowledge that CBC has the right to reproduce, broadcast and publicize those comments or any part thereof in any manner whatsoever. Please note that due to the volume of e-mails we receive, not all comments will be published, and those that are published will not be edited. But all will be carefully read, considered and appreciated.

Note: Due to volume there will be a delay before your comment is processed. Your comment will go through even if you leave this page immediately afterwards.

Privacy Policy | Submissions Policy


World »

Zimbabwe's military backs march aimed at ousting President Robert Mugabe video audio
Leaders of Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe's party are making plans to force him from office if the 93-year-old leader resists pressure from the army to quit, a senior party source says.
Dozens killed in bombings in Damascus, eastern Syria
At least five children and two rescue workers were killed Friday in a Damascus suburb during a government bombing campaign amid escalating violence in and around the capital despite a truce, activists reported.
Lebanon's outgoing PM Hariri heads for France, asserts his freedom
Lebanon's outgoing prime minister Saad al-Hariri says he is on his way to the airport, and then to France, to prove he is not being held captive in in Saudi Arabia.
more »

Canada »

'Our children are vulnerable': Judge sentences Calgary mother to 3 years in prison for son's strep death
A Calgary mother convicted in her son's "senseless" death after failing to take the bedridden seven-year-old to a doctor for his treatable strep infection was sentenced to three years in prison Friday.
Ontario Legislature set for weekend debate on bill to end college strike
The Ontario Liberal government's second attempt to push through legislation to end the province's college strike on Friday did not get unanimous consent, but the bill was introduced and will be debated starting on Saturday.
New hope stirs in northern Manitoba after Fairfax joins groups to buy Churchill railway
Communities along the flood-damaged railway to Churchill have renewed hope after it was announced a Toronto-based investment company will partner with two Manitoba groups in an effort to buy Omnitrax's assets.
more »

Politics »

'Canada does not engage in death squads,' while allies actively hunt down their own foreign fighters video
Countries like the U.S., U.K., France, and Australia have adopted a policy of killing their citizens who have gone to Syria and Iraq to join ISIS. But Canadians who join the militant group have so far had little to fear from their own government, either at home or abroad.
Canada sends bomb-clearing engineers to Iraq as ISIS retreat leaves country littered with IEDs
Canadian combat engineers will train the Iraqi army in bomb disposal over the next six months, the military announced. It is the latest reconfiguration of Canada's mission in the war-torn country.
Public safety minister announces $327.6M to fight gangs and gun violence
Minister of Public Safety Ralph Goodale announced the federal government will spend $327.6 million over five years on anti-gang initiatives and gun crime crackdown.
more »

Health »

Sorry - we can't find that page

Sorry, we can't find the page you requested.

  1. Please check the URL in the address bar, or ...
  2. Use the navigation links at left to explore our site, or ...
  3. Enter a term in the Quick Search box at top, or ...
  4. Visit our site map page

In a few moments, you will be taken to our site map page, which will help you find what you looking for.

more »

Arts & Entertainment»

Alex Trebek, Tragically Hip receive Order of Canada video
Alex Trebek and the surviving members of the Tragically Hip will receive the insignia of the Order of Canada during a ceremony at Rideau Hall Friday morning.
Guy Maddin 'ludicrously honoured' to have designed Winnipeg warming hut video
A warming hut designed by filmmaker Guy Maddin will be among those lining the river skating trail in Winnipeg this winter.
Video Mudbound's Dee Rees aims for 'changing people's idea about themselves' video
Mudbound actors Rob Morgan, Garrett Hedlund and filmmaker Dee Rees on making the film festival favourite, adapted from a book by Hillary Jordan.
more »

Technology & Science »

Climate-hit nations say UN talks offer little help for soaring losses
Though some delegates and observers claimed progress on key details of the Paris agreement, countries that are immediately threatened by climate change say enough isn't being done.
Quebec biofuel company partners with Qantas in effort to cut emissions
A Quebec biofuels company has signed its first deal to power an airline's jets with energy grown from Canadian oilseeds.
What are the best ways to shrink your carbon footprint?
Want to reduce your carbon emissions? Curious about whether you’re getting the most for your efforts? Here’s how to figure out how to make the biggest difference.
more »

Money »

Canada's inflation rate cools slightly in October
Canada's rate of inflation came in at 1.4 per cent year-over-year in October, following a 1.6 per cent rate in September, easing mainly due to smaller gasoline price increases, Statistics Canada said Friday.
Loblaw to be early adopter of Tesla's all-electric Semi
Canadian grocer Loblaw has ordered 25 of Tesla’s all-electric Semis, as part of an effort to move its fleet of delivery trucks to low-emission vehicles.
Nebraska government says latest pipeline leak won't affect Keystone XL decision video
Nebraska state officials say an oil spill from the Keystone pipeline in South Dakota this week won't affect their imminent decision to approve or deny a route for the related Keystone XL project.
more »

Consumer Life »

Sorry - we can't find that page

Sorry, we can't find the page you requested.

  1. Please check the URL in the address bar, or ...
  2. Use the navigation links at left to explore our site, or ...
  3. Enter a term in the Quick Search box at top, or ...
  4. Visit our site map page

In a few moments, you will be taken to our site map page, which will help you find what you looking for.

more »

Sports »

[an error occurred while processing this directive]
Live Watch the Canadian mixed curling championship video
Watch live as the Canadian mixed curling championship continues in Swan River, Man. The winner of the tournament, which will be decided Saturday, represents Canada at the 2018 world mixed curling championship.
Live Watch World Cup bobsleigh & skeleton video
Watch live as Canada's best bobsleigh and skeleton athletes are in action at the second World Cup stop of the season in Park City, Utah.
Preview CFL playoffs: East final a pick-'em, but Eskimos have edge in West
It's division final weekend in the CFL, as four teams vie for the right to play for the Grey Cup in Ottawa on Nov. 26. Here's a look at what to expect in the Saskatchewan-Toronto and Edmonton-Calgary matchups on Sunday.
more »

Diversions »

[an error occurred while processing this directive]
more »