Battlefield 2042 recently launched its third season of content, and with that, it also joined the core EA Play lineup. Anyone who subscribes to the service can now play it, which also means it’s available to Xbox Game Pass Ultimate and PC Game Pass members.
But is that enough to attract new players to Battlefield 2042? Is this even the right time?
We’ve seen many games get big benefits from joining Game Pass later in their lifecycle. Even when they don’t become the most talked about or most played games on the service, Game Pass has proven to be a lifeline for what might otherwise be dead games.
Marvel’s Avengers is a recent example that comes to mind. After joining the service, he reached the top 10 most played games on Xbox. The narrative has gone from all doom and gloom, and the Steam Charts number to one that’s more optimistic about the future of gaming.
If you don’t follow Marvel’s Avengers news, you might be surprised to learn that it continues to receive updates and new content to this day. The Winter Soldier, the game’s next hero, arrives tomorrow. Part of this renewed support must be tied to the increase in player numbers (and interest) brought about by the addition of Game Pass.
It’s about the closest thing to getting free-to-play type boosts without Actually make the game free. Gamers have long suggested the free route as an option, but Square Enix never listened. Game Pass effectively acts as a revolving door, letting new players and old players in while veterans leave for other games; to come back later to read new content.
The Avengers’ money-making opportunities don’t lie in continued sales, and you could argue they never were. Real money is earned on microtransactions, of which the game has a lot. That’s what most publishers hope will happen when they put their current multiplayer games on Game Pass or make them totally free.
Much like Avengers, many wondered if making Battlefield 2042 free would have a similar effect. The game’s Steam numbers recover each time a new season arrives, but they never hit launch highs. Meanwhile, every other Battlefield on Steam continues to top 2042 every time it goes on sale.
Surely Battlefield 2042 could do the same if it dropped to a similar price or was available to players without the upfront cost one way or another. Enter Game Pass/EA Play. The basic tier of EA’s subscription service is usually reserved for titles from the legacy catalog.
EA basically uses it to give value to games that are no longer selling in significant numbers. This is where last year’s sports games, EA Originals, and more live.
Whether EA wants to admit it or not, Battlefield 2042 has reached this point in its life. It’s a game that has probably exhausted its sales potential, so it’s time to bring it to a new audience.
But the key question remains, are there enough of these people on the fence who were just waiting for a similar moment to step in? I don’t think so, for several reasons.
First, as the continued success of classic Battlefield games proves, core fans and newcomers alike don’t just love bargains – they love classic Battlefield. Whether by choice or technical limitations, Battlefield 2042 lacks much of what made the last games special.
I could go on very specific things that each of the later games did wrong, some of them so bad they pushed me away. But I’m guaranteed a Battlefield experience in all of them, the same way a Call of Duty player knows the next one will have killstreaks.
Battlefield 2042 may have combined arms combat, but its maps are lackluster, lifeless, unnecessarily large, and the lack of destruction further exposes all of these issues. You cannot play it as a class shooter, as it has no classes. Still, it’s not entirely an arcade shooter either. These are the worst parts of Battlefield’s co-addiction and the worst parts of Apex Legends’ hero-driven gameplay combined.
Then there is the issue of timing. Battlefield 2042 is supposed to reintroduce the class system to the game early next year, turning it into a Battlefield game.
Whenever this update came, it would have been a better time for the EA Play/Game Pass movement. ‘Battlefield 2042 brought back one more thing it didn’t launch with. Come on, everyone’ is a compelling argument. Not so much right now.
Don’t get me wrong, 2042 is absolutely better today than it was just two or three months ago, but there’s not much that can be done to fix the fundamental design issues.
The arrival of classes would be the first major overhaul to attempt this impossible task. Even if it failed, it would have been a good talking point and a reason for new/old players to jump in.
Sure, that could still happen, given that the game will then also be on Game Pass, but how many will really when 2023 seems incredibly packed with highly anticipated games?
The news also came in the middle of Call of Duty season. If you’re not addicted to traditional multiplayer, there’s the free Warzone 2.0 and DMZ for those who prefer to avoid the $70 buy-in.
Modern Warfare 2 also happens to be an Infinity Ward game, a studio whose games have traditionally attracted the most Battlefield refugees. I should know, I’m one of them.
I really wonder how many people would drop the hot new thing that everyone is playing and take a few hours to decide if Battlefield 2042 is worth launching today, but maybe someday.