Earlier this month, Electronic Arts’ free-to-play online shooter, Battlefield Heroes, found itself under consumer siege due to some less than popular changes to the game’s virtual goods system. However, despite the deluge of complaints and the upsurge of angry veteran players, the issue was apparently mitigated by influxes of new users. The freemium game is now boasting more than three million registered players.
In a nutshell, the virtual goods changes had dramatically increased the cost of critical game items (i.e. weapons) as it applied to the currency, Valor Points – the free currency earned through play. At the same time, the purchasable Battlefunds’ costs was decreased, which more or less forced players to either play for exorbitant amounts of time or purchase the virtual currency in order to remain competitive.
Apparently, these changes have had little effect on the overall attractiveness of the game from a new player perspective. According to Ben Cousins, the general manager of the Battlefield Heroes team, the shooter has been getting over 50,000 new players weekly, over “1,300 years” worth of game time logged amongst all users, and well over 150 million five minute game rounds played. Furthermore, he states that the majority of their users are still playing for free.
By the looks of things, they are trying to improve that ratio as Battlefield Heroes, through the mobile payments network, Paymo, has recently allowed users to make SMS payments for Battlefunds in parts of Europe. The virtual currency can now be purchased in Germany, France, the United Kingdom, Belgium, the Netherlands, Austria, Ireland, Finland, Greece, Portugal, and Spain. Players only need to visit the “Get Battlefunds” page and select Paymo as their payment option.
Suffice to say, it looks like Battlefield Heroes is going to do just fine. In fact, EA is celebrating its milestone, with the release of a new, single control point map for its players called Sunset Showdown. For those unfamiliar with these types of online shooters, a single control point means that there is one point of interest for all players which equates to a hefty amount of carnage at that locale. Cousins also reported the game’s players have tallied a total of 300 million kills over the previously stated 150 million games, so this new map should up that count even more.
While we can’t be sure without more specific numbers from EA, the outlook for Battlefield Heroes is much brighter than it was a few weeks ago. Perhaps they will get their revenue expectations for Christmas after all.