Have you played Spades? If you have then you understand how important it is to play your cards correctly, and more importantly, at the right time. Playing a card too early can result in “books” not being met in addition to loss of points. Electronic Arts (EA) is playing its own game of Spades with Battlefield 4 and the Battlefield series are the spades. EA needs to use them wisely or they will lose a large part of their players.
Depending on how you look at the releases, Battlefield 3 was the follow-up to Battlefield 2, released six years after Battlefield 2. If this trend were to continue, Battlefield 4 would be released in 2017–most likely within the next generation of consoles. EA, however, wants to release Battlefield 4 within the next two years as they are releasing a beta in Fall 2013 similar to what they did with Battlefield 3 and Medal of Honor in 2010.
By decreasing the amount of time to work on the next numerical iteration of Battlefield, they are trying to make more money with closer development gaps similar to what Activision has done with Call of Duty (CoD). That’s not a game EA wants to play.
Here’s the problem: Battlefield is a unique experience in the military First-Person Shooter (FPS). Whether you like EA’s nickel-and-diming practices is beside the point. Battlefield gives an experience unlike any other FPS due to its large open environments, and its use of vehicles. CoD, contrarily, is a fast-paced corridor shooter. That’s not to say it’s a bad game, I’m saying it’s different.
Nevertheless, more people enjoy CoD than Battlefield because of those differences–as proven by the sales. These differences put EA in a place that no one else is in because the only other game on the market that can compete with CoD is Battlefield. EA has to recognize that if they want to compete with CoD. Putting out yearly or even bi-yearly is not the direction they need to go.
Vivendi is considering selling Activision/Blizzard because they know the train ride is ending. They recognize that CoD is not going to bring the amount of sales it has in the past because gamers are fed up with yearly iterations of CoD. If EA can recognize that, they can hold their Ace–Battlefield 4–fine-tune the experience, and let CoD phase out while Battlefield remains fairly fresh. Let’s face it–developers are not trying to copy Battlefield as much as CoD. This helps keep Battlefield fresh.
EA has to keep its Ace in its hand longer and refrain from competing with CoD card for card. Sometimes it is better if you hold your best card instead of playing it. Battlefield would best be saved in the hand and used when Activision’s best cards have been exhausted.