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Paying To Win

In November 2009, EA hit the headlines when the BATTLEFIELD HEROES team made sweeping changes to their in-game economy and virtual item catalogue that many felt would completely destroy the game Kotaku's headline summed up the feelings of the press - 'BATTLEFIELD HEROES Is Practically Ruined'. A game that had previously been perceived as welcoming to free players suddenly demanded much more grinding to maintain a player's free items, a team that had previously promised they had no plans to sell items that gave an advantage were selling 'super' and 'uber' weapons that many players felt were more powerful than standard equipment, and the Battlefield Heroes forum posters were in uproar with an 'EA Failed' campaign against the changes. Despite the predictions of destruction, over a year on, BATTLEFIELD HEROES continues to be a powerhouse in the free-to-play space, with nearly 7 million registered users, no declining trend in active users, and it long-term future assured. So, what happened? In this talk, Ben Cousins, General Manager of Easy (the EA studio behind BATTLEFIELD HEROES) takes us through the story of this controversy. Through the development of BATTLEFIELD HEROES and the early performance of the title, into the high-pressure environment in EA that forced the sweeping changes and out the other side with detailed look at the games store catalogue and business performance.

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