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Cousins leaves EA's free-to-play studio

GM and vocal advocate of free gaming leaves on Battlefield Play4Free launch

Free-to-play advocate Ben Cousins has announced that he is leaving Electronic Arts after more than four years.

As general manager of EA's Easy Studio he has been central to the publisher's plans to push into free markets using some of the companies strongest games franchises including forthcoming PC shooter Battlefield Play4Free and browser RTS Lord of Ultima.

"[Battlefield Play4Free] launches this week and it's time for me to leave EA. Very proud of what I've achieved in the last 4 years," he announced on Twitter.

Free-to-play titles have become increasingly important for Electronic Arts in a revived PC market. Cousins has been responsible for the 7 million strong Battlefield Heroes and most recently criticised old retail models for games as "exploitative".

"I've been doing this for four years now, so it feels kind of normal to me – but I can't think of anything more exploitative than gating all of your content behind having to pay someone $60. That's a really harsh business model if you think about it objectively," he said.

As well as offering players games for free, the model is more attractive to EA as it allows the publisher to keep costs low - Battlefield Play4Free's budget is between 5-10 per cent of the full-priced Battlefield 3.

Before joining EA Cousins worked at Sony on Home and Eyetoy projects. He has not yet announced his new move in the games business.

A recent interview with Cousins from last month's GDC can be read here.

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Matt Martin

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Matt Martin joined GamesIndustry in 2006 and was made editor of the site in 2008. With over ten years experience in journalism, he has written for multiple trade, consumer, contract and business-to-business publications in the games, retail and technology sectors.

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