After months of rumours and speculation, EA has confirmed that a premium service in the same vein as Call of Duty Elite will be launching on June 4.
Hang on a second, could you repeat that please?
That's right folks, for $79.99 AUD you will gain access to Battlefield Premium, a new service that offers a boatload of new or improved features for paying customers. Before we get into the nitty gritty of why this is absolutely preposterous, I'll quickly layout the features for you in dot point form.
- 2 weeks early access to all future Battlefield 3 expansion packs, starting with Close Quarters
- Unique in-game knife
- Unique in-game dog tags
- 10+ unique soldier camos
- Unique weapon camos
- Stats reset feature
- 10+ unique Platoon emblem decals
- Increased Platoon emblem layers
- Server queue priority
- Save up to five of your favourite Battle Reports
- 5+ unique Assignments
- Exclusive events
- Exclusive Double XP weekends
- Exclusive videos
- Strategy guides
- Additional bonus content
There are currently five DLC packs planned for Battlefield 3, and with Close Quarters retailing at $23.95, it's easy to see how the premium service will actually save you money in the long run. The content or value isn't the issue here, it's the fact that during the smear campaign between EA and Activision in the lead up to Battlefield 3 and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, one of the biggest selling points was Battlelog and the fact that it was 100% free of charge.
While gamers will still have access to Battlelog in its current state, when the marketing campaign for a title goes out of it's way to berate and disparage the opposition, due to the fact that they were charging consumers for the exact same thing seems a little hypocritical at best.
If you can't beat 'em, join 'em. Isn't that how the old saying goes? It was recently reported that Call of Duty Elite had 10 million users worldwide, with 2 million of them handing over their yearly subscription fees to access the premium features. While the price of the service does vary from country to country, based upon the US pricing for the premium members, Activision has netted $99.98 million as a result of their 2 million paying customers. Not bad for a service that was met with considerable backlash from gamers.
That's a considerable chunk of revenue from Elite subscriptions alone, not to mention those who pick up the DLC as a standalone purchase, or the fact that Modern Warfare 3 sold a proverbial shitload of copies.
Now EA wants a considerable slice of that pie, and while you can't particularly blame them considering the success of their major competitor, it goes against everything that Battlelog stood for in the first place.
Don't come out and say you're offering a free service, throwing snide remarks about your opposition and their services, only to come out six months later and release the exact same thing.
Will it hurt DICE in the long run? No. Gamers will always be pulled to the massive Battlefield series, but there will be a sector of gamers who will remember this farce when the next Battlefield title comes around, and will decide to pass it up for something else.
By Stephen Heller - Bio