EA might be attempting to take market share from Activision’s Call of Duty franchise this fall, but that doesn’t mean that they have plans to duplicate what Call of Duty is doing with its Elite premium service for the franchise. After carefully weighing the options of introducing a premium tier of services to the Battlefield 3 experience, Patrick Bach says the company decided against it because “it doesn’t make sense”.
“Of course we talked about it,” Bach said. “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… 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.”
Call of Duty: Elite has made it nearly impossible for anyone that has any inclinations of ever purchasing DLC for the game, to turn down the opportunity to subscribe to the service. Offering it at launch with the biggest game of the year may have effectively increased its price to around $100. While it all sounds good on paper, we’ll have to see how the success for the subscription based content pays off for Activision. If it’s a smashing success, you could see EA changing it’s tune, especially considering that both games are going after the same types of consumer.
The recent trend in gaming and DLC is to get the money up front. Because drip feeding content over the course of the year is nothing short of a subscription based model in and of itself. Whether developers choose to admit it or not, preconcieved DLC plans are nothing but quarterly subscriptions to a game, to keep it relevant and competing with those “better games” that Bach talks about.