EA To Launch New Battlefield Version As Ad-Supported Download

Earlier last year, John Riccitiello promised to try hard to adapt the Electronic Arts (NSDQ: ERTS) behemoth to the rapidly changing gaming market, and is now taking his first major shot at it, beyond the reorg and acquisitions: EA is developing a new version in its hit Battlefield series that will be offered as a free, ad-supported download online. The revenue sources will be ads and in-game virtual transactions, mirroring the MMO games. The new Battlefield Heroes will launch this summer, reports NYT.

EA’s experiment with free online games started two years ago, in South Korea: it introduced a free version of its FIFA soccer game there, and says it has signed up more than five million Korean users and generates more than $1 million in monthly in-game sales.

The new Battlefield game will be a simpler, more accessible entertainment experience than the relatively complex earlier versions of the game, an attempt to capture the more casual gamer. If Battlefield Heroes is a success, EA will extend this to other games in its franchise…Madden Online, anyone? High time, you might say…