Electronic Arts is a name that holds a special place in the hearts of gamers... And that place is normally a cold one, replete with spikes, poison dart traps and a plethora of 1d4 creatures eagerly awaiting the chance to express their opinions concerning the monolithic giant. EA's ability to mismanage patching is irritating. The companies skill at pissing off their own fanbases epic, and their inane copy protection scheme legendary.
On thing you cannot accuse them of is an inability to market and it shows in their their first free-to-play release, Battlefield Heroes. Since this isn't an MMORPG, I'm not going to bore you with the more mundane details, save a basic description-- It's a free to play cartoony FPS based on a free to play model, and don't forget the cash shop, kiddies. It's pretty standard fare for anybody who follows f2p gaming, save one crucial difference...
No, literally. Standard f2p theory follows as such: You download a game, you create an account on their website and unless you really want to buy something, will never see that website again. In fact, most f2p websites are little more than banner ads hyping their special of the day. From a marketing standpoint, there is nothing to drive business back there unless you're a dedicated consumer of the product, which most free to play gamers aren't. From a personal standpoint, I try to avoid their homepages like the plague, hoping to avoid the eyeball spam and crude site designs. Some companies try to post their adverts in the pre launch splash screens, but even those can be circumvented.
EA is changing all of that simply by changing the way you launch the game. It's an easy process to follow, really. Allow the plug in to install on your browser, download the game and- here's the kicker -press the giant orange "Play Now!" button on their page. So what, you say? You cannot execute this game from your hard drive. Finding the executable and running it directly simply routes you out to their website, their adverts and the giant orange button. In a lot of ways, this is huge since it turns the average f2p website into something more than a one shot parcel of eyeball spam that can be avoided at will. EA has a special? Chances are you're going to see it. Hell, chances are you're going to bookmark their page if you even remotely like their game because that's the only place you can launch it from.
Say it with me-- Repeat traffic that has no choice but to at least glimps the items they are selling each and every time the game is launched. Ever walk into a Toy's R Us store and have to walk through the "buy me!" maze before actually getting into the store? Yeah, it's like that and it's only a matter of time before the amatures on the f2p train get a clue.
If you liked this article or found it useful, bump it!