Do you remember when games were given a release date and they actually came out on that day? I do. I remember buying Half-Life 2 exactly two weeks after my birthday. It was released on the 16th of November, 2004. I remember doing this with many games, some even still do it now. Sadly, only some, it's a cold day in hell that you find a AAA game from one of the big publishers not doing something with the launch date. EA, with Battlefield V, have taken this to a whole other level.
When do you want to play Battlefield V? That's the question that EA has asked. The answer to that question isn't a simple one. You may also need pay more than you expected to, if you want in early.
Battlefield V and Paying for Early Access
I'm not I am a cynical man but I wonder the necessity in delaying Battlefield V from the 19th of October to the 20th of November. It may not be the case, but the timing of the news that you can get up to eleven days early access looks terrible on Electronic Arts. Even when you consider the fact that EA Origin Access Premium subscribers were originally going to get the game eight days early.
Let's break down the differences. If you buy the plain old standard edition of Battlefield V, you get it on the 20th of November. The date it was set back to. Just remember that this is already costing £54.99. The deluxe edition, which will set you back a princely £69.99, gives you access to the game five days earlier than those who have the standard edition.
The real issue, for me, is with what is offered with the EA Origin Access. If you subscribe you will be able to play Battlefield V a whole eleven days early. However, if you're just a basic subscriber (£3.99 per month) then you only get to play the game for ten hours. If you are a subscriber, you do at least get 10% knocked off the price of the game. For Origin Access Premier (£14.99 per month) though, well, you get to play the game as much as you want from the 9th of November, six days before those who have paid extra for the deluxe edition and eleven days before those who have paid for the standard version of the game.
Naturally, the game also comes with extra content depending on the version you purchase. There is a spreadsheet to show this, though I have to say this is fairly regular and not even in the same league as some titles where you effectively need a guide. For example, Ubisoft with their 10+ editions of titles like Assassin's Creed Odyssey.
Why This is Quite Obviously a Problem
With a single player game, it doesn't really matter a great deal how much of an early access you get. There's no benefit to be gained, other than having played the game itself. Even with a multiplayer title, a few days is normally neither here nor there. Generally, you will find special editions give you two or three days extra.
However, in the case of games like Battlefield V and the sheer number of days offered here, there's a significant problem. This is a multiplayer game where, logically, the more you spend with it, the better you become. In addition to this, you also unlock a variety of items, classes, perks - whatever else you find within that specific game. Having a six, possibly even an eleven-day head start is actively penalising players who have simply opted for the cheaper, standard edition.
You can feel free to argue that the extra spending goes on the extra content and to an extent, I can agree with that. But there's still significant value in getting such a head start on other players that you will be actively competing with. I, for one, think this is horrible towards people who have simply preordered the game or will be buying it on release.