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On August 2nd, 2011 in News

EA logoThere have been some rumors circulating that Battlefield 3 might require an online pass of sorts for console players to play online. And online pass is usually a code included in the game, and means that players who buy games used will not be able to play online. Instead, they’ll have to fork over some cash (usually $5 to $10), in order to play online. This system has been used quite often lately by publishers, in an effort to curb their losses from used game sales.

According to DICE Patrick Bach, Battlefield 3 will support some sort of online pass system, as he told GamerZines, where second hand players would have to pay an additional fee for online multiplayer. Bach said,

“We would rather have you buy a new game than a used game because buying a used game is only a cost to us; we don’t get a single dime from a used game, but we still need to create server space and everything for you.”

The previous Battlefield game, Bad Company 2, featured an online pass of sorts, called VIP, which gave access to multiplayer and some extra content. However, it did not limit online gameplay. EA has touted its “Project Ten Dollar” method of getting more revenue from used game sales, by blocking online play to those who buy a used console game.

While this is new for consoles, it has always been the case with PC games, where a cd/dvd key was given out and could only be used once — those who bought the game used could rarely play online. Digital downloads are even more restrictive, as you can’t sell your digitaly downloaded games.

On July 31st, 2011 in News


By all accounts, we won’t be seeing Battlefield 3 on Steam, to many gamers’ dismay (including ours). Game analyst Michael Pachter, whom we’ve heard from several times here on BF3Blog, answered a question during his latest Pach-Attack! show, concerning Battlefield 3 and how much in sales it would cost EA not to offer it on Steam.

Pachter predicts total sales of 8 million for Battlefield 3, with 10% of the sales happening on the PC platform. That’s 800,000 units, and he believes that Steam would have accounted for half of that — 400,000. Since it’s not on Steam, EA’s Origin will be offering BF3, but Pachter still believes that EA will take a hit if about 100,000 copies — 100,000 copies less sold if Battlefield 3 is not on Steam.

This isn’t a big deal, financially speaking. Many expect BF3 sales to top 10 million, and a loss of 100,000 represents only 1% of the total sales. We can imagine the vast majority of PC gamers who are disappointed about lack of Steam support will eventually buy the game, either via Origin, or another download service, or get in retail.

One things that surprised us about Pachter’s prediction is that PC would only account for 10% of the sales — this seems quite low, as Bad Company 2 has seen somewhere around 2.5 million units sold on PC, out of 9 million in total. In other words, PC sales represented a 27% take. With the anticipation and marketing money behind Battlefield 3, it’s easy to see it sell far more then the 800,000 units on PC that Pachter estimates.

On July 29th, 2011 in News

BF3 vs MW3
Later this year, two of the biggest first person shooters ever will go head to head in what appears to be the ultimate heavy weight battle. We’re in the Battlefield 3 corner, of course, and there are plenty of fan boys in the other corner as well. However, according to EA’s Kevin O’Leary and Infinity Ward’s Robert Bowling, who both spoke to Kotaku, it’s just a friendly rivalry.

When asked about Modern Warfare 3 and the competition it will bring, EA’s O’Leary was quick to dismiss the notion of competition altogether. He said in an interview with Kotaku,

“Our game focuses on this battlefield experience. We give you so many tools; you can choose your vehicles, your weapons, your class. We want to win over the hardcore guys who may be on the fence. We want to do that with Frostbite 2. It’s 30 frames per a second on console, but we have destruction, vehicles, a new animation system. It’s not about a number. It’s about the full experience.”

Speaking to Kotaku on a different occasion, Infinity Ward’s Robert Bowling, who recently said he’ll buy BF3, took the same non-conformist stance with O’Leary, commenting on the intense fan base rivalry that’s going on between the BF3 and MW3 fans. Bowling specifically addressed the criticism that Modern Warfare 3 has gotten from Battlefield fans:

“Any game that has two very different audiences, you’re going to see [negative fan reaction]. Every game has its passionate user base. We see it from everybody.”

When asked what he thought of the intense Battlefield fans who have been criticizing and mocking Modern Warfare over the past few months, Bowling had this to say: “They are passionate”.

So far developers at DICE and Infinity Ward have taken a diplomatic approach, while their bosses at EA and Activison, respectively, have engaged in a heated argument, with Activision criticizing BF3 console performance, while EA has always stated that BF3 is “designed to take down Modern Warfare“.

On July 28th, 2011 in News

Battlefield 3 pre order
A few months ago, EA released their quarterly earnings where they reported that the highly anticipated Battlefield 3 was pre-ordered 7 times more than Bad Company 2, the previous best seller. This time, during the most recent financial reports, EA disclosed that Battlefield 3 pre-orders had jumped to 10 times that of Bad Company 2. To make matters even more interesting, they revealed that Bad Company 2 has surpassed sales of 9 million units to date.

EA is currently offering a lot of incentives to pre-order Battlefield 3, from the Back To Karkand DLC, to the Physical Warfare pack, to new multiplayer skins to even a bunch of dog tags — there are plenty of pre-order offers to gamers, whether you buy the game in store, or online. However, sadly, Battlefield 3 is still not available on Steam, and judging from how things are looking today, it’s uncertain if we’ll ever see it on Steam.

Last week we reported that Battlefield 3 pre-orders matched those of Call of Duty: Black Ops, which was one of the most pre-ordered games ever. It’s unknown how BF3 stacks up against its main rival, Modern Warfare 3, when it comes to pre-orders.

On July 19th, 2011 in News

Robert Bowling BF3The war between Battlefield 3 and Modern Warfare 3 is heating up, with both sides throwing rocks at each other at almost any chance. But that’s not the case for Infinity Ward’s Robert Bowling, who’s the company’s Director of Communications and Community Manager. Bowling has been the face of Modern Warfare over the past few years, and he had a few interesting things to say about the heating battle between Modern Warfare 3 and Battlefield 3. In an interview with Eurogamer, Bowling said,

“I’m very aware that we have two very different audiences and we’re delivering two very good and very different experiences, so I think the baiting is built up more of these two really passionate communities – and they should be really passionate about their individual games – getting at each other, and that’s been happening forever”

When asked whether he was going to buy Battlefield 3, he replied “I am”, and added, “If you are a shooter fan, you should be getting both, because they’re both going to be excellent experiences.”

While developers DICE and Infinity Ward have been somewhat diplomatic about their upcoming showdown, their publishers, EA and Activision, have had virtually none of that. EA CEO famously said that Battlefield 3 is designed to take down Modern Warfare 3, while Activision’s Bobby Kotick has criticized Battlefield 3 for for only showing the PC version so far.

On July 15th, 2011 in News

BF3 soldierAccording 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.

On July 11th, 2011 in News

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.

On July 9th, 2011 in News

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.

On June 13th, 2011 in News

BF3 physical warfare pack
Over the past day or so, a storm of users on popular news site Reddit have called out for a boycott of Battlefield 3 and a cancellation of pre-orders because of EA’s BF3 DLC and Physical Warfare pack DLC. The Physical Warfare pack, which includes a few exclusive items, is available only to those who pre-order the game at select retailers. So far it is only available in the UK, but US retailers like GameStop are expected to get their own pre-order bonus.

There are discussions on Reddit which number in the thousands of comments, where fans voice their disappointment of EA’s DLC policy. A few years ago, EA attempted something similar with Bad Company, but a successful community boycott made EA change their minds.

We’ve gone through hundreds of comments on Reddit, and there seems to be a few misunderstandings regarding the DLC and the pre-order bonuses.

Misunderstandings

The main discussions on Reddit seems to have misunderstood EA’s whole Back to Karkand DLC policy — which is no surprise, since it’s quite confusing. Since we’ve been covering this for a while here on BF3blog, we’ll try to explain:

Back to Karkand is offered for free to those who pre-order the game. You can only pre-order the Limited Edition now, which retails at the same price as the regular edition — $60. Regardless of what retailer you pre-order the game at, you’ll get a free copy of Back to Karkand. It’s as simple as that: pre-order and you get Back to Karkand free. There have been countless pre-order bonuses on video games before, and Back to Karkand is just that: a pre-order bonus.

The Physical Warfare pack is where it gets a bit tricky, and which we believe the boycott is targeting. The Physical Warfare pack is only available to those who pre-order the game at select physical retailers, and is not available to those who pre-order or buy a digital copy of Battlefield 3. Unlike the Back To Karkand DLC, you cannot buy the Physical Warfare pack later on.

While the Physical Warfare pack in an of itself isn’t a huge deal — the items included don’t seem to be items that can unbalance the gameplay — it is disappointing that the only way one might get them is to buy the game at a brick and mortar retail store. PC gamers who will buy the game as a digital copy (us included), won’t get a chance to get the new items and weapons.

Back To Karkand wasn’t part of BF3

There have been accusations of DICE and EA taking the Back to Karkand content out of Battlefield 3 and selling it as DLC. Many publishers have been accused of this before, but in this case, it actually doesn’t hold up for one reason: Back to Karkand is a remake of Battlefield 2 maps, weapons and vehicles. It’s not supposed to be a part of Battlefield 3 to begin with, which makes it a real DLC, as opposed to something that was removed from the game. Many games have remade maps and sold them as DLC, including Activision’s popular Call of Duty franchise. However, we can certainly understand why gamers think it’s been removed from the game, since the DLC is offered on day one.

Still, the community boycott is understandable for several reasons:

  1. EA’s has made the whole DLC/Back to Karkand/Limited Edition/Physical Warfare thing very confusing where even EA isn’t sure what’s what.
  2. EA announced the first DLC, Back To Karkand, way too early. There hasn’t been enough time for BF3 to establish itself before announcing map remakes.
  3. The “Physical Warfare” offering at select retailers feels unfair, especially since it’s not available to buy elsewhere.
  4. By offering DLC from day one, gamers get the impression that the content has been taken out of the game (which we don’t believe is true), and that EA is nickle and diming people.

So far EA’s only response has been issuing a FAQ on the official Battlefield 3 page, which oddly enough, doesn’t address much of the criticism.

Active discussions on Reddit:
Battlefield 3 pre-order DLC boycott coordination
Funny note on EA’s reply to a pre-order cancellation due to the DLC
Whom to contact at EA to complain regarding the DLC

On June 12th, 2011 in News

BF3 beta scamWe previously reported on a site which was trying to sell fake Battlefield 3 beta keys, whose owner had run other BF3 beta key sites. EA tried to take the site down with a DMCA claim that it was using BF3 artwork without authorization, but that didn’t hold up, mainly because the artwork is freely available (and is used by BF3blog, among other sites).

Our friends over at Battlefieldo.com did some digging and found several new sites that have been popping up around the web, all offering Battlefield 3 “beta keys”, including:

  • battlefield3cracked.com
  • battlefield3betafree.info
  • bf3-beta.com
  • bf3beta.com
  • bf3beta.co.cc
  • battlefield3betakeygenerator.blogspot.com
  • EA-Battlefield3.com
  • dice.bf3beta.net.tc
  • battlefield3-beta.net

All the sites feature one scam or another, trying to trick you into giving up your email address, or worse. A select few are selling direct access to BF3 beta keys, while others are offering users to download a BF3 beta key generator. And we imagine, a ton of spyware bundled with it.

The problem has reached such proportions now that we at BF3blog are getting emails from users asking us where they can buy a BF3 beta key, and if BF3blog is considering selling keys (!). Here’s a recent email we received from one reader regarding the issue:

Hey,
I have seen web sites where I can purchase beta keys and generators, are those official by dice and ea? Will you be selling beta keys in the future, as i would prefer buying them from you :) or can i buy them directly from ea?

We wish EA would take a look into this matter, as the sites are pretending to be associated EA and the Battlefield brand, and are ultimately hurting the game, its loyal fans, fan sites, and especially, the newcomers to the franchise.

UPDATE: there are now even videos giving “tutorials” on how to get a beta key scammed. Like this one on YouTube.

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