Anthem going free-to-play is “very much on the table”, Bioware is “working like mad”

Anthem going free-to-play

I have lost count to the number of times that someone claimed to have heard that Anthem is going free-to-play soon. It's a recurring topic when an ambitious game under-performs, either due to launch issues or by failing to captivate players.

The latest rumor comes from a low-profile blog (to say the least) that claims to have an internal source within Electronic Arts. You should take this with a grain of salt, or a truckload of it, in fact, but it's a rumor that we have heard before.

The blog says that Anthem is coming to the subscription-based service EA Access. While this doesn't exactly qualify as “free-to-play”, it's close enough, as long as you have an active subscription.

Obviously, this possibility isn't being well received by Anthem players who paid full price for the game. Anthem released just a few months ago, in February 2019, and the outrage is understandable – any game that goes free-to-play in less than a year or two is bound to anger its paying player base.

But free-to-play per se is still on the table, as the blog says. While BioWare is “working like mad” to fix bugs, develop new content and add more quality of like improvements, this may not be enough. This business model switch is apparently tied to future content patches and EA Access success – if this fails, then Anthem going free-to-play is the most likely option.

But BioWare isn't taking all the criticism lightly. Apparently, leadership is blaming Anthem players for the lackluster sales figures, due to constantly  badmouthing the game. For such an anticipated game, it's understandable that players aren't happy with the way that Anthem feels tedious, repetitive or unfinished.

Anthem still managed to sell almost 3.7 million copies so far. A respectable number, but EA surely expected more from one of its largest launches of recent years.

I wouldn't expect Anthem to go free-to-play anytime soon. Doing so wouldn't fix what's wrong, it would only anger its current player base and introduce millions of free players who would ultimately become another source of complaints. My advice would be to fix the game first, add a decent amount of endgame content and then we'll see how things are by the end of this year.

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