EA recently revealed that Battlefield 1, the publisher's massively popular shooter, will soon be included as part of the publisher's $5 a month subscription service. We analyze why EA is now comfortable with offering Battlefield 1 to EA/Origin Access subscribers instead of pushing players to buy the full game at retail price.
Battlefield 1 isn't a year old yet, but soon it'll be available as a "free" download for EA Access and EA Origin subscribers on console and PC. The service, which costs $5 a month or $50 a year, gives users access to a growing pool of EA titles. I found Battlefield 1's arrival into the vault to be very, very interesting, and the more I thought about it, the more I realized EA's gameplan and decided to share my insights.
Why would EA make such a move? The publisher obviously has strong confidence in the subscription service and is keen on providing value. But it also has to do with how EA sees the World War I juggernaut FPS. The shooter has matured and reached the point where EA is more interested in getting people into the game's ecosystem rather than having them buy the game at full price. Full game sales are absolutely important, but as time goes by, publishers focus less on fully-priced $59.99 game sales and more on ways to bring in recurring revenue via micro- and macro-monetizations (loot boxes and expansions/season passes), of which Battlefield 1 has both.
Battlefield 1 sold about 15 million copies during its launch holiday season according to analysts at Morgan Stanley, creating a strong install base to lead into map pack sales and add-on purchases throughout 2017. Full game sales have slowed down since the initial massive salvo of purchases, and EA estimates that Battlefield 1 had 19 million players at the end of its fiscal year in March. Now that the initial sales phase is mostly completed, EA and DICE have implemented phase two: additional content in the form of extra maps, and modes made available through the season pass.