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Electronic Arts has responded to recent allegations that they removed several free Battlefield 3 servers for the game's PS3 version in favor of player-rented servers.
"DICE is not shutting down servers. If DICE-managed servers appear unavailable, it is because they have been rented and customized by players. DICE will continue to add servers and will reserve a percentage of servers for players who prefer to connect through DICE-hosted servers," said the publisher in a statement to Game Informer.
EA continued to state how another reason why players are experiencing disappearing servers is due to Custom Servers. "Custom Servers have always been extremely popular with Battlefield PC players. With Battlefield 3, we’ve introduced a Custom Servers program to console gamers. Response has been overwhelmingly positive. Custom Servers gives players the ability to tailor the settings and parameters of a given server, which directly affects gameplay. It also gives players more choice as they select which server and gameplay style they like best."
"As with any new innovation, there may be some confusion among players who are experiencing Custom Servers for the first time. We encourage players to use server filters and “favorite” options to find the servers that best suit their play style."
The publisher then said how they hold "enormous respect" for the community of Battlefield and promised they are always listening to feedback. It's their most important priority to see to it that all players have the best possible experience.
Though they didn't actually remove free servers from Battlefield 3, asking players to spend $30 a month to rent custom servers is a rip-off. Custom servers, like online passes and disc-locked DLC, just seem like another way for EA to suck out everything they possibly can from consumers. It would have been understandable if the game weren't as commercially successful as they would have hoped, but it instead exceeded their expectations sales wise -- during their financial earnings result, EA confirmed the shooter has shipped more than 15 million units thus far.
Battlefield 3 released during the latter stages of October 2011 and sold over five million copies in launch week alone. It then went onto ship 10 million units and later shipped 12 million units. Shipped isn't to be confused with sold; it means a publisher has sold an X amount of copies to retailers. Either way, shipping that amount is still an impressive figure. So, with the most recent milestone being 15 million copies shipped, it's fair to say that Electronic Art's goal of taking a considerable market share from Call of Duty has been met.