EA looking to bring Battlefield Premium type service to more properties

Frank Gibeau also tells us that Battlefield Premium "exceeds what Elite does"

Call of Duty Elite has been a big hit for Activision Blizzard, and many suspected for quite some time that rival Electronic Arts would follow suit with a subscription service of its own. Indeed, at E3 this year EA confirmed the Battlefield Premium service ($50 one-time fee), but EA Labels boss Frank Gibeau tells GamesIndustry International that Premium is just the beginning and EA wants to bring a Premium service to its other IP.

Gibeau stressed to us that Battlefield Premium is not a reaction to Elite, but at the same time, he noted that companies attempt to improve upon others' innovations in this business all the time.

"We've launched subscription businesses in our other categories. We had EA Sports subscription before Elite came out, so adding that component to the design is not a reaction. It's something we'd always been considering and we had been looking at. We didn't have it ready for launch and it took us some time to get it prepped. Having said that, they [Activision] did something really innovative and if your competitor does something innovative and you think it applies to what you can do, then there's no harm in doing that," he said. "This is an industry where people have a lot of oneupsmanship and if somebody innovates, you match it or you exceed it."

"We actually think our Premium service exceeds what Elite does - from a value standpoint, from a content standpoint, and longer term we think that we can bring more properties into that offering"

Frank Gibeau

Gibeau, unsurprisingly, thinks Premium is a superior offering to Elite. Not only that, but Gibeau indicated that EA is looking to bring Premium-like offerings to other properties. "We actually think our Premium service exceeds what Elite does - from a value standpoint, from a content standpoint, and longer term we think that we can bring more properties into that offering and that'll be great for the business," he said.

As for Battlefield 3 itself and EA's continual quest to outgun Activision's shooter, Gibeau told us that EA took another big step in that direction.

"We're quite proud of what we did with Battlefield 3. We sold about 15 million [units] on that game, which was the number two game in the marketplace last year by a country mile. We grew share and we've been eating into their position. We've always said that if you're going to take on the 800-pound gorilla, it's going to take you multiple years and it's going to take you multiple attempts and that's what we're doing," he commented.

He continued, "So, much like what we've done with FIFA versus Pro Evolution Soccer, where they were the leader in quality, they were the leader in market share, we took a very deliberate, methodical, patient, yet aggressive position to chip away at it every year. This is just the next year in that process. Medal of Honor is a key product for us this year. It's on Frostbite 2 technology. It's clearly the most authentic shooter out there. It's based on the reality of what's happening now. It's designed with Seals. And they're giving us lots of input on what it's like to be in these actual situations."

"It's important that we don't get into a position where we're just milking the franchise and just mailing it in and shipping bad games"

Frank Gibeau

Gibeau also seemed to suggest that Microsoft's big Halo 4 launch could have a greater impact on Call of Duty than EA's own Medal of Honor. "COD has done a little sci-fi with their approach, but I think Halo shipping on the same day is going to be a really interesting dynamic in the marketplace where the Halo franchise is beloved in the shooter category, especially for Xbox fans. And Medal of Honor is very differentiated from what they're doing, so it should be a fairly interesting dynamic," he noted.

Ultimately, what matters most for EA is the bottom line, and Battlefield has bolstered that quite a bit. "We grew a significant share and blew away expectations, so it was extraordinarily profitable for us. So we're going to keep at it," he said.

And in what could be considered a jab at the competition, Gibeau added that EA doesn't want to be seen as "milking" the shooter category.

"It's a proven, exciting category that I think has got a lot of life in it, especially as new gen hardware comes online. You're going to get a chance to completely reimagine what that experience can be like. I think it's ripe for innovation. We've put a lot of effort into trying to innovate in the category, not just in the content, but also in concept and in technology and gameplay. The Frostbite 2 technology was pretty big news last year and really changed what expectations would be for the category. So it's important that we don't get into a position where we're just milking the franchise and just mailing it in and shipping bad games... We''ve got to stay constantly paranoid about meeting and constantly exceeding expectations on the game design and fun factor," he concluded.

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Latest comments (8)

Hugo Dubs Interactive Designer 9 years ago
Sorry if my questions sounds stupid but could someone explain what is the premium about?
Is that just getting stats and DLC? Cause DLC are sold 25 dollars and there is less than two DLC per year / per franchise (more DLC would be just shipping unfinished content...)

So as the premium is 50 dollars, you just pay for your DLC as it would be by purchasing it within the live store.
Finally, does premium means that we pay to know how much people we killed, and how much time we played?
Cause we could do that for free a month ago... Btw we could have new maps for free back in the time.

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Shawn Zipay Community Manager, Total Gaming Network9 years ago
The first paragraph of this story is wrong.
Indeed, at E3 this year EA confirmed the Battlefield Premium service ($50 per year)...
Battlefield 3 Premium is a one time fee of $49.99. It is not a recurring cost like Elite is.

Hugo: Premium is a way to save some money on all of the DLC packs for Battlefield 3. Premium users typically get the DLC packs before those who are not Premium members and who buy the DLC separately. Beyond that, there are many additional benefits scheduled for the coming months for Premium users, including exclusive Double XP weekends, exclusive in-game items, and more.

Seeing as how BF3 has two DLC packs released already and three more planned through to March, you do end up saving money. If all expansion packs go for $15 a piece, it'd be kind of silly not to get Premium if you had planned on getting the DLC packs already anyway.

Check it out to see what all you end up getting with Premium -

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Shawn Zipay on 29th June 2012 8:00pm

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Morville O'Driscoll Blogger & Critic 9 years ago

I wonder how much EA have earned through this. Everyone bandies about the $50 price-tag, but there were several exploits upon Premium's release that allowed buyers to get it for half that, almost all of them involving proxy-ing to a different country's IP. Obviously, the vast majority of people won't have bothered with that, but it is something to bear in mind when speculating how much better off EA are with Premium vs separately bought DLC packs.

Over-and-above that, I can't see how a Premium service for other EA IP could really benefit players. Perhaps I'm short-sighted here? I suppose Mass Effect 3 and Dragon Age Premium would've made player's lives a bit better? Or at least made downloading all that BioWare DLC easier.
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Show all comments (8)
Hugo Dubs Interactive Designer 9 years ago
Ok, then it is a cool feature for new battlefield players. Personnally, Im not in need for double xp weekend as I already unlock a lot of things. However it is cool for incoming players that will face players who already played 100 of hours and gets every unlocks.

However, Im not convinced by the DLC thing. Back to Karkand was offered for free with the collector edition (+7 dollars in front of the normal one) and three DLC at a 15 dollars rate = 45 dollars. Regarding the fact that premium users could have the package before the public release is not so intersting as people have always to wait for years before they can touch a game. One more week to wait is nothing don't you think. ?
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Wayne Gibson UK Marketing Manager for 9 years ago
Good luck with that EA. I can however see this being implemented with EA Sports which seems like the only viable option as they get annual updates in the form of new releases. I wonder though how much they can push consumer wallets before consumers start to push back with things like free to play etc.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Wayne Gibson on 29th June 2012 10:34pm

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Jamie Knight International Editor in Chief, Playnation9 years ago
"It's important that we don't get into a position where we're just milking the franchise and just mailing it in and shipping bad games"
Frank Gibeau

Just LMFAO :D " Live from Electronic Arts....its Saturday Night Double XP " clowns

oh, and don't you think its time for the green eyed monster at EA to grow up a bit over comparing every little thing to Call of Duty? Grow the **** up already, its about as exciting as your single player campaigns

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Jamie Knight on 1st July 2012 2:29am

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Terence Gage Freelance writer 9 years ago
So, is Battlefield Premium basically just one of those Season Passes with a bit of stat-tracking and a few freebies on top? I thought it was a bit more than that. I don't really like the idea of paying for DLC up front like this when you don't even know what the quality of said DLC will be, although for folk who intend to buy it anyway I do agree that Premium is probably worthwhile.
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Chuan L Game Designer / Indie Developer 9 years ago
As a long -time BF player I'd just like to see more maps to go along with the retail releases. More maps oriented to the complete or holistic BF experience as well: mixed range tactics combined & trigger -happy hijinx rather than isolating each element of the gameplay as seems to be happening with the new DLC packs.

Though I've bought all the DLC so far I'm adverse to the idea of paying for a subscription on top of a retail release. Some of that is to do with feeling underwhelmed by the upcoming maps perhaps / with BF3 seeming to have lost focus trying to straddle both 24 -64 players on essentially two different platforms.

Its evident that DICE know what they're doing and can knock it out of the park, as with the superb "rush" -style maps in BFBC1 on console. However I think the vision is getting a bit cloudy these days, and perhaps they're pushing weaknesses of their engine in trying to compete with MW3 and so on.

There simply is no comparison in terms of game feel even post -patch [ re: its better but not as good ] and given the limitations of how Frostbite 2 performs on current consoles I think they're barking up the wrong tree. Rather it's all the different vectors one can take with approaching a map that makes the moment to moment gameplay so rich in improvisation and I'd like to see DICE take that approach of more co -ordinated tactics. Commander mode, wherefore art thou?

-- Chuan

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Chuan L on 3rd July 2012 4:47pm

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