Posted by John on October 26, 2011

Messy Battlefield 3 Launch Punctuated with PS3’s Free BF1943 Bonus Dropped

Back at E3 in June, Sony was happy to tout the exclusives that the PlayStation 3 versions of several multiplatform EA games would feature this fall. Among them was one for Battlefield 3; with Call of Duty being associated with Xbox 360 thanks to a timed exclusivity deal on DLC, those who opted to buy BF3 on PS3 would receive a free copy of Battlefield 1943. With the much-anticipated game finally released yesterday, those who purchased the game on PS3 are finding themselves confused as the promised 1943 bonus has been quietly replaced with something else.

Last month DICE revealed a deal had been signed with Sony similar to Microsoft’s Call of Duty deal, albeit on a lesser scale: all BF3 expansion packs will launch on PS3 a week early. It simply seemed like another nice perk, along with the free copy of 1943, for buying the game on PS3. Little did we know at the time that this expansion pack early access was actually meant to replace 1943 as the PS3’s exclusive bonus.

Fielding questions about this a number of times over the past day, the official Battlefield Twitter account has delivered a standard answer explaining why gamers can’t find their free 1943: “In lieu of 1943 being available on disk for PS3 customers, EA has made all BF3 expansions available early to PS3 customers.”

While there may not have been a great deal of people who explicitly bought BF3 for a 2-plus-year-old downloadable game, it’s not hard to believe some people out there went with the PS3 version over another platform thinking they would get a second game out of it. EA had given no indication that 1943 would be left out before now, and that’s simply not right.

Things are only made worse when you consider what a mess the game’s launch has been. There were server issues on Xbox 360 yesterday that prevented people from playing online — and, really, that’s what Battlefield is all about.

Origin has not held up especially well on PC; trying to do something as simple as add someone to your friends list would have you met with an error, while others are encountering a problem where Origin continues to download the game after 100%. (Go here if you fall into the latter category.) There are a variety of other problems EA and DICE are aware of, and not all of them have workarounds or fixes yet.

DICE and EA releases are often faced with messy launches, and keeping in mind how problematic Steam was when Half-Life 2 launched (compared to how it’s essentially worshipped these days), it’s not a complete shock to see the first big game launch on Origin run into issues. Even so, it just feels like the platform wasn’t ready. Combine that with the 1943 rug being pulled out from underneath PS3 players with no warning, and players’ frustration is understandable.

Thanks for the tips, UltramanJ and SamRock.

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