Rumor has it that EA and BioWare will be releasing Anthem as a free-to-play game on EA Access.
There are so many things I can say about Anthem, about it’s incredible hype cycle, it’s rushed development, it’s sloppy execution on lofty goals, it’s failure to deliver on any aspects of gaming that BioWare has traditionally done well…
The one thing I can’t say is that it would be better as a free-to-play title. Because, honestly, nothing is better as a free to play game. There isn’t a single game that has ever been improved by the addition of micro-transactions, which is the only way for the f2p genre to function. Many games in the “free-to-play” window work despite their micro-transactions (though there might be a few exceptions that actually work because of them), and Anthem isn’t a great game. It could be, but it isn’t.
And that means it can’t survive despite a f2p model, but has to live because of one. And that’s far harder to do.
Granted, the EA Access free-to-play system isn’t the traditional f2p model, as Anthem would only be free to EA Access subscribers. So this could be BioWare and EA’s way to fix Anthem‘s empty server problem, though it will anger any EA Access subscribers who also bought the game. Which is likely a decent number of people.
So really, the decision to make Anthem free-to-play would be a costly endeavor for EA. They’ll either need to shell out some compensation for Access subscribers who bought the game, suffer the inevitable social media fallout, or find a way to throw a ton of goodies at their subscriber base to make them overlook the slight.
None of the options are great, really.
So it’s probably a good thing those free-to-play rumors are hella sketchy.