Publishing giant Electronics Arts has announced the impending closure of four of its free-to-play titles, including two from the Battlefield franchise.
EA, in keeping with many of its competitors in the gaming market, has recently been trying its hand at the free-to-play (F2P) side of the coin. In F2P titles, getting started in the game is completely free of charge; a revenue stream is then generated either through a level cap which requires payment to proceed past a certain level - like in the old days of shareware - or, more commonly, 'microtransactions' which swap a single large game purchase for a constant stream of small purchases in order to unlock anything from decorative items to in-game weapons. F2P games which rely heavily on the latter are known by the many detractors as pay-to-win (P2W), giving as they do an unfair advantage to the player with considerable disposable income.
F2P is a competitive market, however, and EA appears to be feeling the pinch. In an announcement
made late last night, the company confirmed plans to close four of its current F2P offerings: Battlefield Heroes, Battlefield Play4Free, Need for Speed World and FIFA World. Describing the games as 'not as popular as they once were
,' the company is giving each a 90-day shutdown schedule after which they will go offline permanently.
In the same announcement, EA denied that it had any similar plans to retire its licensed Star Wars: The Old Republic F2P massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG). ' Star Wars: The Old Republic is a game that continues to have a very enthusiastic and growing player community, and we have plans to introduce more new story-driven game updates to our Star Wars: The Old Republic players this year,
' the company claimed.