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Battlefield 3: Battlelog Elite? EA Games eyes subscription-play for future installments

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Electronic Arts is looking into the possibility of augmenting key franchises such as Battlefield or Medal of Honor with subscription services similar to Activision's Call of Duty Elite. EA Games label head Patrick Soderlund confirmed the possibility in an interview with Venturebeat, saying his work launching Battlefield 3 paved the way for the launch of Star Wars: The Old Republic. He adds that the latter's live-supported, team-integrated launch “forever changed things for us.”

While BF3 launched with the free stat-tracking service Battlelog, Soderlund says the company's undergone “a mental switch” after launching BF3 and ToR back-to-back. He says the company now sees its work on properties like Battlefield as “a 24/7 service. We have people... that are on this every single hour of every single day. 365 days a year.” Now the company's viewing A-list properties like Battlefield and Medal of Honor – not to mention Need for Speed, Dead Space and the like – as constant services.

Is subscription-play the next logical step? “I think it’s fair to say that we’re looking at that,” says Sunderland: “Like all other companies, we’re looking at how we can maximize our investment in this and... get more people playing this product.” Sunderland's fellow label, EA Sports, last year introduced a Season Ticket program as the company's first foray into subscription gaming; Battlefield 3 is soon to get its second big DLC update, the Close Quarters pack, our preview of which you can read here.

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15 comments

  • lilspooky - March 13, 2012 4:07 p.m.

    EA needs to fix some major issues with BF3 before even thinking of doing something like this. I think they missed the window to launch a paid service for BF3. I'm sure they will release a new Battlefield game, (2143, BC3, or BF4) then add a subscription model. People are already pissed off enough at EA these days for Origin and the ME3 crap. After the last MOH game, why would they even try a subscription with it.
  • sh33phead - March 13, 2012 4:31 p.m.

    Unless some future Mass Effect 3 DLC is released and is A)'Completely free' and B)'Anything short of spectacular' I refuse to purchase any EA product whatsoever. I've actually uninstalled Origin from my PC, thus sacrificing my ability to play Battlefield 3, and also refuse to renew my Old Republic account. It's a matter of principal. They certainly have some bloody nerve if they try pulling this subscription shite on Battlefield.
  • ParagonT - March 13, 2012 4:54 p.m.

    Call of Duty's Elite service is hardly worth the money if you add previous dlc and compare them, so why should people buy this as well? People need to stop think of why they want this, because they're certainly not keeping the consumers interests in mind.
  • Jacko415 - March 13, 2012 4:59 p.m.

    Welp... at least they're being honest about about their intentions now... But really, with the direction EA has been going, especially since the anti-COD references in BFBC2, this is not surprising and is to be expected from a company like this, emulating its competitors business model. Though, while It may have some big faults due to EAs agenda, but none of you can deny that BF3 is still EXTREMELY fun as with the rest of they're recent A-list games (MoH excluded of coarse).
  • JSayonara - March 13, 2012 6:24 p.m.

    Dear EA and Activision. Please just fuck off. I put up with yearly milked franchises, I put up with some once good games being unable to be used with a controller, instead forcing me to buy some shitty plastic controller thing for an extra £50 odd. I put up with the loss of instruction manuals, lack of GOOD DLC worth the money spent and Online Passes. I even put up with you buying and ruining once great studio's/franchises *cough Mass Effect cough*. Now, I have to be told that I have to pay for some fucking stat tracking system, just to play your frankly, increasingly shittier games? BF3 is a fucking mess. You've Call of Dutified it, despite that being NOTHING to do with the spirit of the franchise and on top of that, there's STILL no reliable way of getting into a squad with your mates, in a game FAMED for online multiplayer. I'm sick of your constant attempts to bilk us out of money for whatever shitty concept you've come up with this week. Y'know, 'cause I really enjoyed buying ME3 BRAND NEW, only to find that an integral piece of DLC was reserved for those who wanted to spend money on a special edition. Guess knowing you have a blockbuster on your hands means you can do whatever you like, right? Still what's another800 Microsoft points after you've just forked out £40 eh? Bastards. In future I'll stick with developers like Rockstar, who still give us a great package and DLC that's actually worth the money, thank you.
  • CowCatapult - March 14, 2012 3:30 a.m.

    Totally agree. My only hope is Valve, and the Humble Bundle games.
  • LordZarlon - March 13, 2012 6:34 p.m.

    I'm sure the guys at Tdar are going to say, "They have the right to charge whatever they want for the services they provide. Oh the stupid internet is complaining again!" YOU KNOW WHAT! I AM COMPLAINING! It was a part of EA's advertising that they weren't charging for online play like "Evil Activision." This is classic. We have all been pissing on Activision/Blizzard just because they are the new kings of corporate greed. Lets not forget who the original evil game corporation was. EA.
  • ClusterShart - March 13, 2012 8:19 p.m.

    Yeah, well, maybe they should make battlelog something that I want to use before making an elite version.
  • redinsanity - March 14, 2012 4:17 a.m.

    yeah, I love B3..... but I just don't see myself paying 9.99 a month for Live then having to pay between 10 and 15 $ a month extra to access its online features on top of that...... if EA goes this way they will see a dramatic drop in sales.... we gamers still have pride and integrity damn it
  • komadose - March 14, 2012 5:16 a.m.

    Really? Ok, let me think about it... Yes, here goes; I'm not subscribing, unless it's nothing less than the best shooter ever made. Also, the subscribing fee should include EVERYTHING. No more separately sold DLC, map-packs or any other content. I also would never subscribe to more than one game at a time. Even then, i propably wouldn't subscribe every month.
  • TheMasterJeef - March 14, 2012 5:50 a.m.

    EA, don't people hate you enough at the moment? Talk about fuelling the fire! I will delete my Battlelog account if i have to pay for it. Out of about 8-10 people i know that play Battlefield 3 on a regular basis, only two of us have bothered to create a Battlelog. The only reason I even look at it from time to time is to work out how many kills to unlock preferred scopes. Speaks volumes.
  • GhostNappa2k10 - March 14, 2012 6:08 a.m.

    Call O Duty Elite is crap, please don't go down that route EA.
  • amagasakiseb - March 14, 2012 7:26 a.m.

    Basically what they all said: piss off.
  • laxsagacity - March 14, 2012 7:54 a.m.

    I will maybe accept a subscription based model if there is no upfront cost. just the subscription. So if a game is crap I will have just spent the 10 bucks for the first month. Also cost must decrease over time. Let the studios put the game and its long lasting appeal with their wallet. Battlefield 3 is dying on PC 5 months after launch. It's still full of bugs and the promised aggressive dlc in the first 6 months didn't happen. If dice wants to charge they should have to live up to expectations. As is people do t feel they got what they paid for. The fact of the matter is, this disappointing game would be dead if they charged subscriptions. The idea of full price and then subscriptions for a game they had to mislead an entire platform on is absurd. Supscriptions only if it means we pay less for disappointing games. There has to be a give and take. Due to the studios not wanting to do this, only wanting excess, it won't work. A clear example of where developers like DICe just want to rip off customers. I'm in Australia. The cost of battlefiled:bad comapny 2: Vietnam is still $19.95 on PC. There are basically no populated servers any more. in the last 6 months the fullest I've seen is 5 players. yet the charge regardless of if the product is worth it. I will only think subscription is good with out the 80-100 buck upfront cost. Then also if the subscription is flexible. I don't want to have to pay for a year when I Au get sick of a game after a few weeks or months.
  • gazzc - March 14, 2012 11:21 a.m.

    First of all, I am not really sure an FPS game is best suited to a subscription model, it works in MMO's because people realise that there are certain overheads involved such as keeping huge servers online 100% of the time, direct in game assistance to players, regular new content etc. You can not really call BF3 a 24/7 service just because people play it a lot, as the devs/publisher are not constantly working behind the scenes to keep the game running - they can just release it and forget about it so there is no actual justification to charge people a recurring fee to play other than greed. Secondly, I would in some ways be prepared to subscribe to play but EA would have to seriously improve what they are offering, I would expect new content on an extremely regular basis. They would also have to pull their finger out when it comes to supporting the game as there is no way I would pay a subscription to a half finished game that gets patched twice a year. There is just no way at all I would pay a subscription if their patching/customer service remained at its current standard.

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