Battlefield has free-to-play in its future, says EA

As EA positions Battlefield to be more of an ongoing live service, the publisher is investing in other entry points.

In a post-earnings call with investors, covering EA’s results for Q1 of FY22, the company talked a great deal about Battlefield 2042, and the series in general as it enters into a new era.

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Asked whether EA will go back to releasing a Battlefield game every other year, CEO Andrew Wilson said that is the company’s “orientation.” Battlefield releases have not typically followed a set cadence. Some were separated by two years, others three. EA also had the Star Wars: Battlefront series, where those games supplemented Battlefield’s off years.

But Wilson said that Battlefield 2042 will be different from previous games, in that EA views it as a live service, and has invested in ways to keep players engaged well after launch.

“I think you should think about Battlefield as a service – what we’re doing for the launch of this game is really revolutionizing and reinventing what all our epic scale warfare is in the context of gameplay. In addition to that, you’ve heard us announce Battlefield Portal, which really starts to lean into user-generated content and will drive deep long-term engagement in the game,” Wilson said.

Wilson added that All-Out Warfare, together with Portal and the yet-to-be-revealed Hazard Zone, EA hopes players will stick with the game beyond launch. He also said that this view extends to other areas Battlefield has traditionally shunned, such as mobile, and free-to-play.

This isn’t the first time EA hinted at the next Battlefield offering some sort of free-to-play mode. Ahead of Battlefield 2042’s reveal, EA sent out surveys gauging player interest in free-to-play, battle passes and other elements.

“You should understand that this really forms the foundation for what we believe the future of a live service around Battlefield is, which over time will include a mobile launch, will include some free to enter components and really change the nature of what happens from launch to launch.

“So that while an every other year launch probably makes sense as we think about it today, we’re really focused on 365-day engagement in the franchise at a platform level across any device that consumers may want to play on.”

Battlefield 2042 is out October 22 on PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X/S.