‘Games as a service’ might be a catchy new buzzword, but the concept isn’t new. Rocket League and Rainbow Six: Siege aren’t breaking new ground. But they are taking a concept seen in games like World of Warcraft, Counter-Strike, League of Legends and DOTA, and making it more mainstream.
When I picture ‘games as a service,’ I imagine games with support lasting longer than a year. MMOs and MOBAs already do it. But this concept is a relatively new one for many publishers. And it’s one that offers benefits for everyone. Developers can continue tweaking their games post-launch. Publishers can profit more on less work (compared to creating an AAA game from the ground up). And gamers who enjoy their favorite games can keep enjoying them without always buying the next yearly edition.
EA’s CFO Blake Jorgensen spoke at an investor briefing in Europe yesterday and talked about Battlefield.
On the next Battlefield: “We won’t have another Battlefield for a couple of years.”
On increasing engagement with Battlefield 1 (i.e. games as a service): We’re looking at all of our games and asking, ‘How might we provide additional opportunities for the player to engage?’ The players want to engage deeply in the game.”
EA wants to keep us playing without altering the core gameplay. That can range from new maps and weapons to new cosmetic items and modes.
Even Battlefield isn’t new to the whole ‘games as a service’ model. Just look at Battlefield 4. A rough launch turned some gamers away, but those who stuck around saw incredible support from DICE and DICE LA.
The regular maps came as part of the Premium Pass. But the devs went even further with Community Operations. A free expansion and content update released in October 2015, two years after Battlefield 4’s release and seven months after the release of Battlefield Hardline.
With the next Battlefield at least “a couple of years” away, I expect to see support at least on Battlefield 4’s level.
How can DICE increase player engagement past the norm?
That’s the big question. Battlefield 1 continues the Premium Pass tradition. 16 new maps, 20 new weapons and assorted cosmetic items are packed in with the first maps dropping in March 2017.
But what’s the next step? Another year’s worth of content ala Rainbow Six Siege Year 2 or Hitman Season 2 makes the most sense. I wouldn’t mind seeing DICE change the formula a bit, though and tackle other wars. A WWII-themed year of Premium in 2018 would be incredible. But after Battlefield 1’s massive sales, I’m sure EA would rather go that route as part of a standalone project. Still, we can dream.
The more I hear about ‘games as a service,’ the more I wish Battlefield and Call of Duty would release a ‘legacy’ game. An updated version featuring all of their games’ settings that gets continuously updated. Like I said, probably a dream.
A map editor similar to Forge from Halo would be another nice addition. The main thing I want to see is DICE push Battlefield 1 further than they’ve pushed any previous Battlefield game. Extra maps are nice, but also expected. Give us something unexpected, DICE.
What’s your dream wishlist for Battlefield 1 moving into 2017 and beyond?