Call of Duty’s biggest success with Warzone perhaps isn’t Warzone itself, but that the free-to-play game leads to a much higher adoption rate of the attached premium Call of Duty games. While not yet officially confirmed, Battlefield 2042 may take a similar approach, offering a free-to-play onboarding element that will ease players into buying the full premium experience.
During a hands-off preview event Q&A session for Battlefield 2042, multiple people asked about a free-to-play element for the upcoming Battlefield title. Unlike the outright denial of any battle royale modes being planned for the game, the development team danced around the question of free-to-play, hinting that there would be more to talk about later. The conversation surrounding $70 for a multiplayer-only game has been a hot topic today, and DICE and EA understand that you need a smooth onboarding ramp into the live-game ecosystem that Battlefield 2042 will have.
Notably, EA also recently hired former Call of Duty general manager Byron Beede to grow the Battlefield franchise. Beede was a key part of Call of Duty’s shift to its current very successful model, featuring the free-to-play Warzone, and premium titles with free seasonal updates and live-game components. Warzone, as a free-to-play experience, has been an instrumental onramp to adoption of the premium experiences, and it’s expected that Battlefield 2042 will employ some kind of similar tactic in order to ease players into that $70 premium.
Right now, it’s unclear just what that free-to-play experience may entail. It definitely won’t be a battle royale, but it’s unknown if it will just be a free trial, or an entire free-to-play mode of its own, more akin to Call of Duty’s Warzone.
EA has been courting this idea a lot more recently, allowing players to get hands on time with a game before making the decision to purchase. The EA Originals title Knockout City had a free-to-play launch period of 10 days, after which new players could level up to 25 entirely free before needing to purchase the game. For an experience as massive as Battlefield, having players in the game is paramount to its ongoing success, as is courting people who may otherwise balk at the $70 price point.
Battlefield 2042 launches on October 22, 2021 for PS4, PS5, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, and PC. The PS4, Xbox One, and PC versions will retail for $59.99 while the new-gen console versions come in at the new AAA premium of $69.99. EA Play subscribers get to try it a week early with a 10-hour trial starting Oct 15, 2021. There will be an open beta later this year, with early access for those who preorder and EA Play subscribers.
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