Today, EA announced that its upcoming real-time strategy game, Command & Conquer Generals 2, will be free-to-play. The game will be a part of EA's new online platform it is simply calling Command & Conquer. The platform and the game will launch sometime next year for the PC. C & C Generals 2 is the first of what EA said will be many free Command & Conquer games.
Players interested can register for beta access to the game on the Command & Conquer website.
“We are thrilled about this opportunity to transform Command & Conquer into a premier online experience,” said Jon Van Caneghem, general manager at EA. “For nearly two decades, this franchise has existed as something you buy; now we are creating a destination where our fans will be able to access the entire Command and Conquer universe, starting with Generals and continuing with Red Alert, Tiberium, and beyond. With Frostbite 2, we are able to keep an emphasis on the AAA quality our consumers expect while staying true to the RTS gameplay they know and love - all available online for free.”
It's clear that EA is hoping to bring as many people into the game as possible, probably in the hopes that C&C Generals 2 will make inroads into the eSports world. Right now, Starcraft 2, a real-time strategy game from Blizzard, is one of the most popular eSports around.
It's not yet clear how EA hopes to monetize C&C Generals 2, but it has probably learned from its Star Wars: The Old Republic MMO that free-to-play game models are the future of multiplayer gaming. For a competitive multiplayer game such as C&C, EA might look to Valve as an example of how to implement a successful free-to-play strategy. That company converted the competitive first-person shooter Team Fortress 2 to a free-to-play model just over one year ago. Since then, it has been able to foster a community around the game by releasing frequent content updates. Valve is able to sell Team Fortress 2 players various low-cost in-game items, such as hats.
Take a look below at the C & C Generals 2 trailer EA has released for Gamescom: