Battlefield 3 continues to make its shining contrasts to Call of Duty, this time for the use of Battlefield 3‘s in-game social hub, Battlelog. Of course, this may be to their advantage in the future, as acclaimed video game anaylyst for Wedbush Securities, Michael Pachter also talks about the potential for Battlelog to make money similar to the Call of Duty Elite pay program.
Obviously, the gamer tendency is to like things that are free over things that they have to pay for – and as a substantial, as well as complimentary, social network within a first person shooter that tracks stats, friends, and other information, that is really good.
Before you get up in arms about the comparison between the two networks, it’s important to remember that Call of Duty Elite will have a free version as well as the really fancy one you pay for. Battlefield 3‘s Battlelog system, which had been detailed in screenshots and even more details will be entirely free. Obviously, there’s going to be things like map packs and such that people may want to pay for, but those will be an entirely different transaction, separate from the Battlelog service.
A subscription-based service for a first person shooter does have its pros and cons. One of the bigger pros is having access to all available DLC to be released for the title throughout the year. If that number exceeds 5, then you will have made your money back in DLC. However, if it doesn’t, then you might just have paid $50 for $30 of content and some fancier stat-tracking, which is, of course, a con. Let’s not forget that the video game business is still a business and there’s always money to be made, industry analyst Michael Pachter seems to think EA might be charging for the Battlelog service eventually.
“Battlelog is a free service for Battlefield 3 players that will provide statistics, social networking tools, friend list management, squad setup, and platoons, all with built-in voice chat. Although Battlelog and non-premium Elite memberships are free and offer many similar features, we think that many hard core Call of Duty gamers will opt for premium Elite, particularly if the total DLC spend for Battlefield 3 is expected to exceed $50. Ultimately, we expect Electronic Arts to emulate Activision and charge for Battlelog by including map packs with the service for a $50 fee.”
In a business sense, the move to make Battlelog cost money would definitely be a good one on EA’s part to garner some extra revenue. If EA were to do pull that move off, though, they would have to be careful about it. A positive way to transition into a pay program is to get early registrants into some kind of “grandfather” program where they are given free DLC or other benefits. This is all under the guise that EA would eventually be making Battlelog a service that must be paid for. The official word from EA says quite the opposite.
“We are providing Battlelog to Battlefield 3 players to deliver the best social, multiplayer FPS experience in the market. We have no plans to charge for this service with Battlefield 3. The Battlefield series has always been about playing with friends, and Battlelog takes that experience to the next level by serving as a unique social network.”
If EA wants to keep up their whole competing-with-Activision thing, it would only make sense that they would keep Battlelog free. Why bother charging for a service in a game that will already see a lot of unit movement. Who knows what the future will bring though, Battlelog might just be free forever.
Battlefield 3 releases October 25, 2011 for Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and PC.
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Source: Industry Gamers