When it comes to military shooters, there can be ONLY ONE premium service

Here's an interesting turn of events, just as Call of Duty's (formerly premium, now free) clan-supporting, stat-tracking service CoD Elite is completely shutting down, Battlefield 4's brand-spankin'-new Platoons service is making its debut. After Elite got started, Activision wasn't able to keep the public interest. With Platoons being such a similar service, does it stand a chance of making it for the long haul? Or are premium clan services--even those in the most popular military shooters on the market--simply doomed to fail?

In case you don't know what the CoD Elite and Platoons services are, let me break it down. Elite started out in 2011 as a convenient package deal, making it easier to keep up with the plethora of Call of Duty updates and DLC add-ons by allowing players to subscribe to the service. Once you shelled out the $50-a-year subscription, you got all the additional content, stat tracking, and clan progression features a hardcore CoD gamer could ever want. But eventually, no doubt after interest had long since waned, the service became free, Activision started selling DLC separately again, and the whole thing fizzled out within the span of about 2 years. Nowadays, the stat tracking and clan features can only be found in the CoD: Ghost's mobile app.

While CoD Elite was imploding like a dying star, EA was hatching plans for a similar service in their flagship FPS franchise. Battlefield 4's Platoons service requires that players buy in as Premium members--meaning you'll have to throw down one time fee of $50 to get access. Once you're officially Premium, you can create your own platoon of soldiers that can include up to 100 players, use clan recruiting and management tools, and level up your clan for special items and clan-specific identifiers like emblems. Sounds a bit familiar, don't it?

So here's what's up. CoD Elite tried to get players to pre-pay for DLC, provided clan support, then tanked, leading to the announcement that Elite will be discontinued on February 28, 2014. On the other hand, BF4's Platoons requires gamers to pre-pay for premium content, provides clan support, and has been announced to be launching on February 27, 2014. It's simply bizarre to see one shooter lay down the premium clan support just to watch another charging ahead with almost the exact same strategy and features. EA and DICE don't seem to be paying attention to their competitor's performance and may end up making the same mistakes. To make matters worse, it seems the BF4 developers aren't listening to any outcries from their diehard community.

Battlefield 4 still doesn't have a party system that would allow players to easily play clan matches on consoles. As of right now, players are unable to join friends in a pre-game lobby, and would only be able to join clan members by jumping into in-progress games. It might just be me, but prohibiting clans from organizing their squads in a pre-game lobby isn't exactly the best way to start a clear-cut, competitive, clan vs. clan match. And the BF4 fanbase has been very vocal about their displeasure with the current systems. If this is the system DICE is going to stick with while simultaneously promoting Platoons, it's easy to see how backlash that would ensue.

It is fantastic that DICE will be providing clan support for a game that greatly encourages teamwork and cooperative play among friends. But as the new service gets ready for launch, Platoons doesn't seem like it will have a smooth takeoff, mere hours after CoD Elite crashed and burned on the exact same runway. It seems like the history of premium clan support is going to repeat itself.


  • DaveGoose - February 27, 2014 7:41 a.m.

    Nothing makes me more angry then buying a game for $60 and then having them ask me for an extra $50 dollars. I am glad Elite died and I hope this dies. We need to vote with our wallets that games shouldn't cost over $100. For the record a lot of game include these features.....with the price of the game!
  • brickman409 - February 26, 2014 11:33 p.m.

    wow, what a joke. Elite sounded stupid from the beginning. I can't believe EA thinks it will work for BF4, but then again they have done stupider things in the past. And what's the deal with not being able to join a friends lobby??? It's just stupid, how could a game based mainly around multiplayer be lacking such a simple yet important feature? Well I was planning on buying BF4, but I think I'm going to stick to BF3 for awhile longer, or at least until all that gets fixed.
  • Jackonomics2.0 - February 26, 2014 9:15 p.m.

    Meanwhile people are having fun with a bunch of plants and zombies.
  • SnakeinmyBoot - February 26, 2014 9:14 p.m.

    Aren't the guys that look at stats often enough to make setting up a stat system worthwhile pretty much the FPS analog to those flight sim guys that have ten monitors and all the yokes from a 737 in their living room? As in, there isn't a big enough market to really be profitable in the long run since the everyone but the very few fanatics are gonna buy into this. This is especially stupid since CoD always been a little bigger than BF and they still pulled the plug on it.
  • homestar99 - February 26, 2014 9:07 p.m.

    Doomed to fail. The concept sounds absurd. $50 bucks to start a clan, no way. GTA Online may not be one of the best multiplayer modes in recent memory but at least its not pulling this bullshit. Also, whats the difference between the Elite app and a Season Pass. They're both pre-paying for DLC at what I assume is a discount. Platoons will fail like Elite unless it becomes free. What's that? Battlefield is made by EA! Well never mind, those money grubbing bastards rushed the game out the door and will continue to be cunts with a paid app. Have fun heading to oblivion EA, I'll see you in hell!
  • SirManguydude - February 27, 2014 5:52 p.m.

    To be fair, you only need to have Premium to make the clan, anyone can join. Along with being able to make clans, you get all the DLC, and numerous other fun additions.
  • homestar99 - February 27, 2014 6:06 p.m.

    Fun additions that other than DLC should be free.
  • LordZarlon - February 26, 2014 7:34 p.m.

    EA's got big balls trying to push a paid service for such a buggy game. I realize the game works fine for some people but there are still many who suffer from numerous bugs and crashes. This is stupid!
  • GenderBender_9000 - February 26, 2014 5:44 p.m.

    I forgot that COD Elite even still existed.

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