According to analyst Michael Pachter, whom we last heard of just a few days ago, Battlefield 3′s marketing budget might top $50 million. In a new note sent out to investors, which BF3blog got a copy of, Pachter said that EA could spend $45 to $50 million on marketing and promoting Battlefield 3. Pacther also noted that Activion would spend just as much on marketing Modern Warfare 3, if not more.
Back in April, EA CEO John Riccitiello said that EA and Activision will spend $100 million between them on marketing their respective games: Battlefield 3 and Modern Warfare 3. Battlefield 3 has a head start of about two weeks, as it launches on October 25, while Modern Warfare will launch in the first or second week of November.
A few days ago, Pachter said in a similar note to investors that some hardcore Call of Duty players might “defect” to Battlefield 3 over Activision’s new “Elite” premium subscription service.
While EA generally doesn’t disclose how much they spend on marketing their games, it is expected that they’ll spend quite a lot on Battlefield 3, which is their biggest title in years. Battlefield 3′s budget is rumored to be around $25 million.
After much talk about the new web-based Battlefield 3 service, Battlelog, DICE has finally revealed the first images of the new service, and it looks quite promising. Battlelog resembles a complete social network for Battlefield 3 players, with chat, profiles, news feed, forums etc. So far the service looks to be in alpha, and uses some Bad Company 2 icons and graphics as replacements. Here are a few more images of Battlelog:
Despite many players complaining over PunkBuster over the years, it appears that the anti-cheat service will return in Battlefield 3. This is according to Russian Battlefield Community Manager Eugene Olenev, who revealed a few new details in a recent podcast.
According to a translation of the podcast, provided by Battlefieldbc.ru and bf3.com.ua, Olenev also said that hit boxes were “much improved over Bad Company 2″, and that character customizations will be greater than in Bad Company 2. Other than that, not much else was revealed.
We previously mentioned PunkBuster as one of the features we could do without in Battlefield 3 in our “BF3 wish: no PunkBuster” article. Now that it’s more or less confirmed, hopefully the anti-cheat software will be better implemented in Battlefield 3 than it was in previous BF games.
Thanks for the tip, Boris!
[UPDATE] According to one of the sites that was involved in the podcast, PunkBuster wasn’t confirmed, but rather, was suggested as an anti-cheat system.
Game industry analyst Michael Pachter from Webbush says that Activision’s new premium subscription service, Call of Duty Elite, will cause some Call of Duty players to “defect” to Battlefield 3. Pachter said:
“We expect EA’s game to perform exceedingly well, eclipsing the 6.5 million units sold by the last iteration, and think that Activision’s introduction of Call of Duty Elite (its premium subscription service) could cause a small number of loyal Call of Duty players to defect to EA’s game”
Pachter continued, saying that Modern Warfare 3 has the potential to beat last year’s Call of Duty game, Black Ops, which sold 20 million units worldwide. Pachter has previously said that Battlefield 3 had no chance of beating Modern Warfare 3, but this time, he added that Activision’s share “may come under pressure” when Battlefield 3 is launched, especially if it receives a MetaCritic score of 90+.
Battlefield 3 is scheduled to launch on October 25, approximately 2 weeks ahead of Modern Warfare 3.
In the recent interview with Edge Magazine, Battlefield 3 multiplayer designer Lars Gustavsson revealed that the player animations are not the same in multiplayer as they are in singleplayer. Here’s what Gustavsson had to say regarding player/character animations in Battlefield 3:
“In multiplayer, we do an additional pass for animation. In singleplayer, you don’t mind if a guard up on a balcony does a Hollywood death – stumbling around a bit before falling over. In multiplayer it needs to be a one-to-one correlation between action and result”.
Which means that animations will be more realistic in multiplayer, as we’ve come to know with Battlefield games. Gustavsson said that DICE was “more than willing to make differences to deliver the best experience” in multiplayer and singleplayer.
Battlefield 3 uses EA’s ANT animation technology, which renders ultra realistic player animations. The ANT engine has been previously used in several EA Sports titles, and the recent Crysis 2 as well. The ANT engine was also used in 2010′s Medal Of Honor, which DICE has some experience with, as they did the multiplayer part of that game.
There has been a lot of doubt whether EA would release Battlefield 3 on Steam. Today EA revealed a list of digital retailers around the world where gamers will be able to purchase Battlefield 3, and the big omission was Steam. This adds to the uncertainty of whether we’ll ever see Battlefield 3 on Steam, which is by far the biggest and most popular digital games distributor in the world.
It all started a few weeks ago when EA removed Crysis 2 from Steam and instead added it to its own service, EA Origin. From a business perspective, it makes sense for EA to offer Battlefield 3 on its own distribution, since Steam usually takes around 25% of the cut. However, many of Steam’s competing services, like Direct2Drive and Gamersgate, are listed, so this could be something just between EA and Steam.
According to GamaSutra, who interviewed EA Origin’s David DeMatrini, there is some conflict between EA and Steam, although DeMartini didn’t clarify on that. He said it was “interesting that some of the ways they’ve [Steam] built their business are specifically some of the areas of conflict between us on a going forward basis”.
Steam is bigger than Direct2Drive, GamersGate, GameStop’s Impulse combined — without a doubt a huge chunk of Battlefield 3 digital sales would come from Steam. If EA is saying no to the kind of sales Steam can provide, it’s pretty obvious that the conflict and disagreements between EA and Valve run deep.
While it’s not certain that we’ll never see Battlefield 3 on Steam, it doesn’t look good the way things are now. Hopefully this will get sorted out soon, as in the end, both EA, Steam, and gamers stand to lose something.
DICE has published the second Battleblog entry on their site, where they discuss the classes and class system in Battlefield 3. Senior Multiplayer Designer Alan Kertz at DICE says that their big objective with classes in Battlefield 3 is to make sure that each class can “holding their own in combat”, and that each class is a “force to be reckoned with on the battlefield”. Kertz gave a description of the 4 classes in Battlefield 3, including a few new ideas on the Recon class:
“Recon traditionally has been seen as just a sniper. We wanted to change that perception, so we’ve built several completely new teamplay oriented gadgets specifically for the Recon class so he can be a team player, even if he’s sitting on the top of Wookie Mountain.”
It was also confirmed yesterday that the Recon class will be a bit different visually, as there will be no ghillie suits like in Bad Company 2.
Overall, it looks like the classes in Battlefield 3, as we mentioned earlier, are more refined, and all classes seem to be, as Kertz points out, very capable and able to hold their own in combat.
DICE has been avoiding the question of Battlefield 3 mod tools on the PC ever since the game was revealed, often giving vague answers like “we don’t know” or “nothing has been announced”. Now DICE executive Patrick Soderlund, speaking to German Gamestar magazine (via Battlefieldo), said that Battlefield 3 would not be getting any mod tools. Soderlund’s reasoning was:
It’s going to be very difficult for people to mod the game, because of the nature of the set up of levels, of the destruction and all those things… it’s quite tricky. So we think it’s going to be too big of a challenge for people to make a mod.
DICE previously stated a number of reasons why Bad Company 2 didn’t have any mod tools, chief of which was that it too was complex. Furthermore, the Frostbite engine features a number of licensed third party technologies, which DICE cannot give out for free with mod tools — they’ll have to get another, much more expensive license in order to offer mod tools.
While it’s easy to get disappointed at DICE for not offering mod tools, bear in mind that the Frostbite engine is very complex, with its physics, destruction, animations, lighting and so on — if it’s complex for professional developers like DICE, it’s probably complex for modders as well. In the end, DICE main objective is to deliver a great game first, and who knows, maybe we’ll see mod tools for BF3 one day.
In the latest episode of GameTrailers’ Bonus Round video game talk show, they discuss the upcoming Battlefield 3 and Modern Warfare 3 and how the two games will stack up. The debate features GameTrailers’ Shane Satterfield, ShackNews’ Garnett Lee and Kotaku’s Michael McWhertor, who discuss Battlefield 3 versus Modern Warfare 3, and what they expect from the games this Fall.
According to game industry analyst Arvind Bhatia from Stern Agee, Battlefield 3 will pose a “risk factor” for Activision’s Modern Warfare 3, as both games will go head to head this Fall as the two most anticipated shooters in years.
Bhatia said in a note to investors that Modern Warfare 3 will “probably outdo Black Ops”, but he also noted that Battlefield 3 “looks good”, adding that it “could take some market share from the Call of Duty franchise”.
While Bhatia and other analysts still expect Modern Warfare 3 to outsell Battlefield 3, it’s obvious that they’re taking notice of Battlefield 3 and the anticipation that surrounds the game. A few months ago, analyst Doug Creutz from Cowen and Company predicted that Battlefield 3 would sell 10 million copies, while noted game analyst Michael Pachter has said there was “no chance” Battlefield 3 would outsell Modern Warfare 3, and would, at best, sell 30% more copies than Bad Company 2.
Battlefield 3 launches in late October while Modern Warfare 3 launches in early November.