Surprising just about everyone, DICE has confirmed that users of Microsoft’s Xbox One entertainment console will get a Battlefield: Hardline beta of their own sometime in the future.
Karl-Magnus Troedsson, DICE’s general manager revealed that a Battlefield: Hardline beta is coming to the Xbox One to the Official Xbox One Magazine during last week’s Electronic Entertainment Expo in Los Angeles.
Troedsson didn’t reveal much else about the coming beta other than that. According to Troedsson, the Battlefield: Hardline beta that Xbox One owners will get won’t be the same as what’s available on other platforms saying, “… this beta on Xbox. It’s not going to be the same version, just to be clear.”
That’s good news for Microsoft, the game’s publisher Electronic Arts and owners of the Xbox One. Today, many of Battlefield: Hardline’s online systems are in the hands of PS4 and PC owners for testing. Like the overwhelming majority of game betas, the idea is to get real-time feedback and statistical data from real world users so that DICE and Electronic Arts can see which parts of it are in working order and which parts will need improvements before the game’s final launch. Doing this ensures that Battlefield: Hardline doesn’t leave users in the lurch like its direct predecessor, Battlefield 4, did.
It’s doubtful that there are users out there who refused to purchase Microsoft’s Xbox One console on the basis that it didn’t offer users access to the Battlefield: Hardline beta, but having it certainly doesn’t hurt. Last year Microsoft took no end of criticism for not focusing on hardcore gamers. It’s been trying to repair its reputation since then, dropping the pay wall that kept users from watching entertainment apps and only talking about gaming during its press briefing at E3 2014. It’s possible that someone could have interpreted the absence of a Battlefield: Hardline beta as another sign that Microsoft that isn’t focused on gamers enough. It’s unlikely, but possible.
To be clear, really it’s the consumer that wins out. Electronic Arts has a pretty bad record of launching multiplayer experiences. Last year Battlefield 4 players were plagued by frequent outages and instability. In fact, the issues were so bad that many buyers still haven’t bothered with the game despite purchasing it at release. Electronic Arts’ problems with online gaming aren’t even exclusive to first-person shooters. Last year it launched Sim City to much fanfare. Despite good reviews, sentiment quickly turned sour when users reported issues actually playing the game. Those problems were so bad that Electronic Arts actually had to turn off crucial features just to get the game stable enough for users to login.
It is crucial that Electronic Arts keeps this from happening again this year or it could tarnish the Battlefield name with gamers for good. Failing with Battlefield isn’t an option. Electronic Arts is hoping to build the franchise into a true rival for Activision’s Call of Duty franchise. Not having a serious war-time first-person shooter to take on that game means Electronic Arts is leaving millions of dollars on the table each year. Having that money could be the difference between funding new games that users haven’t seen and sticking to rehashing established game franchises like Electronic Arts does today.
Presumably, Electronic Arts will have that Battlefield: Hardline beta for the Xbox One available as a download from the Xbox Store before the final version of the game launches on October 21st. Battlefield: Hardline will be available on the Xbox 360 and PS3 as well, but it doesn’t look like those users can expect a beta version before the game launches. When it does arrive on store shelves it’ll cost $60.00.
As is usually the case with third-party games of this nature, Battlefield: Hardline won’t be coming to Nintendo’s Wii U gaming console.