EA Says No to Subscription Model; Another Feather in Battlefield 3’s Cap

September 26, 2011Written by Jonathan Leack

Call of Duty Elite, the series’ first subscription model, has been under scrutiny since it was revealed by Activision earlier in the year. More than anything, consumers fear that the costly trend may grow, affecting all high-budget online games over time. However, EA sees more harm than good coming from it, and have put their foot down, at least for now.

DICE Executive Producer Patrick Bach has some good news for Battlefield fans, or at least those who don’t want to spend money on subscription fees after purchasing Battlefield 3. He stated during an interview with OXM:

Of course we talked about it, but to me it doesn’t make sense in a product like this.

He may be stating the obvious, but with Activision making such a bold move, it’s very likely that not only EA but most publishers have discussed implementing a subscription model of sorts, especially considering that Battlefield 3 has a similar social service to Elite called Battlelog. Thankfully, it doesn’t make sense to EA for the time being, and it probably doesn’t make sense to the others either. But why?

We’re selling a boxed product – start paying an annual fee for it, and who knows? In six months there might be a better game, and we want to be keeping up with the competition.

He continued:

If we tried to charge someone for a subscription, we could go bankrupt in six months because five better games come out and you’re still trying to charge for your old game.

Nearly all of the most successful online games over the past decade, barring World of Warcraft, have only required the purchase of a game box, or at the very least a CD key to play. Gambling a shot at massive popularity in order to make a few extra bucks off of the hardcore players, which are a minority, is a high risk proposition, and one that Activision doesn’t mind taking. Can you imagine Counter-Strike 1.6 having a $50/year fee tied to it? Chances are it wouldn’t have remained one of the most popular online games for over 10 years if that were the case.

For now, those who love Battlefield but dislike the prospect of paying yearly for small content packages are safe, but until the Call of Duty Elite numbers speak, we can never be too certain.