Word broke early today that EA/DICE’s upcoming Battlefield 3, would make use of EA’s online pass (article here) . While, I have not been one of the biggest supporters of the whole Project $10 movement in the industry, this article has very little to do with the qualities of the pass itself.
While EA/DICE are pretty vague on the details at the moment, does the use of an online pass in any capacity put them at a greater disadvantage when they are going up against Modern Warfare 3? While Activision has announced its own plans for extra revenue in Call of Duty Elite, the program isn’t a necessity for anyone who picks up the game, new or used.
On the other hand, EA/DICE seem to be purposely handicapping their potential audience with Battlefield 3. One can argue the merits of single-player versus multi-player until the cows come home, but the fact of the matter is, these two mammoth titles will be battling for the online space, not the single player campaign. And one of the biggest marketing tools you can have for online gaming is word of mouth.
But the idea of an online pass, pretty much curbs the appeal of word of mouth. Having a great time with Battlefield 3, wanna loan it to a friend to see if he/she likes it, and could potentially buy it. That’s gonna cost you $10 bucks to try online. Want to rent the game from GameFly or Blockbuster (if you can still find one in business), that’s gonna cost you $10. Buying the game used, want to hop online, you got it, gonna cost you $10.
Again, this isn’t a post to bury project $10, but its to show how EA/DICE are severely limiting the potential for growth on the game. Sure, you will get some consumers who find the $10 investment worth it, but you’re also gonna have a decent size of your audience who never experiences the online section of your game because they didn’t want to risk the cost. On the flip side, everyone who buys Modern Warfare 3 will be able to enjoy the online multiplayer with no extra hurdles or barriers to overcome.
Simply put, EA/DICE have shot themselves in the foot by limiting the appeal of the online portion of the game. Let’s see if they remedy this before the game’s October release date.