By Matt Burns
Battlefield 3 is here and in a major way. The latest shooter in the long-running franchise hit the interweb and retailers last week and EA (ERTS) just announced that they moved 5 million units within the first week. For anyone that cares, that makes Battlefield 3 the fastest selling title in EA’s 29 year history. And for good reason. EA and DICE conducted a flawless marketing campaign for Battlefield 3.
The marketing first targeted those that really care — dedicated gamers — as the game was first revealed this year (read: the game came out in the same year it was announced) in GameInformer magazine. Then the videos hit. EA systematically released gameplay footage of the stunning first level Fault Line. These videos, originally just a couple quick minutes, pieced together the entire first level for the view and perfectly showcased not only the game, but the brand new Frostbite 2 game engine.
By the time E3 hit in June, gamers and the press were very familiar with Battlefield 3 where it stole the show partly thanks to playable demos. The marketing ramped up over the summer in preparation for the much-anticipated open beta. Invites first went out to players who bought Medal of Honor: Tier 1 edition and those that pre-ordered Battlefield 3: Limited Edition. But soon, EA opened up two maps for anyone that wanted to try Battlefield 3. And try they did.
More than 8 million players participated in the beta during its 12 days. That resulted in 47 billion shots fired and 1.5 billion kills. But despite the extensive testing, EA’s new servers couldn’t hand the opening rush and faltered the first few days. Still, Battlefield 3 is a hit but will its popularity diminish after Modern Warfare 3 launches in the coming days?