In an effort to break out of the current video game paradigm of $60 games with no further revenue, EA is set to launch Battlefield Heroes this summer; a game which will be a free download to your PC as part of a new "Play 4 Free" initiative.
So how does EA make money on these games? With in-game advertising and micro-transactions, that video game buzzword which essentially means players buy stuff, like clothes, better weapons, or better stats, for example.
EA also plans to dumb-down games such as Battlefield Heroes so that an inexperienced player can play the game without much of a learning curve.
You can see the influence of the Nintendo strategy in EA's designs. That is, make games approachable, easy to play, and playable in quick chunks of time, like 10 or 15 minutes at a time. The "let's make games fun again" mantra.
You can also sense that EA has confidence in the new plan, particularly since Rock Band has now garnered 2.5 million downloads of additional songs.
Personally, I'm all for this. I think EA is right in putting some of their eggs into this new model of a basket. I also think it's a smart play with a dwindling economy. Seriously, free game or $60 for a game?...you decide when the rent payment is due next week.
What's more, you know they're wicked pissed that Activision is the #1 publisher.