Battlefield 3 Premium Has 1.3 Million Subscribers
Optional paid service Battlefield 3 Premium has turned out to be a hit with BF3 players. While announcing their Q1 results, Electronic Arts mentioned that 1.3 million gamers have signed up for Premium since it launched in June.
BF3 Premium's one-time fee of $49.99 entitles the subscriber to all five of the game's expansion packs. Each DLC pack would ordinarily cost $15 so you're saving a lot of money by coughing up this money. It's an easy sell just based on that math alone.
The bulk discount isn't the only perk of Premium, though. Premium users will get access to the three remaining DLC packs two weeks before each is released to the public. They also receive server queue priority, access to special events, and exclusive content.
Premium seems inspired by Call of Duty Elite, a paid service that gives Modern Warfare 3 players early DLC, exclusive entertainment content and other bonuses. Elite had 2 million subscribers as of May. Premium might not catch Elite's total but nonetheless, 1.3 million subscribers is impressive for a Season Pass launched about eight months after the game's release. I imagine a lot of potential subscribers for Premium traded the game back before the service was released. Furthermore, the DLC schedule for BF3 runs through early 2013 so there's plenty of time to attract new subs. I would expect new sign-ups to spike two weeks before every new expansion's release, as EA dangles early access in front of players.
BF3 Premium's success helps EA off-set the loss in subscriptions from another game: Star Wars: The Old Republic. According to the EA briefing today, SW:TOR's player base has fallen below a million. Like BF3, the MMORPG will soon have optional subscriptions.
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