Last week, Star Wars Battlefront 2 became the latest game to be offered to all users on the Epic Game Store for free. The storefront has a huge number of users at this point, and all of them, myself included, download every single free game just in case they want to play it in the future. With Star Wars Battlefront 2 though, most of those players jumped into the game. That created a big old issue for EA. The game’s servers are old now, and have probably been given set limitations on the number of players they can handle. Since thousands of new players joined the game in such a short space of time, it’s no surprise that those servers fell over and almost died.
This is where it can be a curse when a game is offered for free on the Epic Game Store. Multiplayer games can suffer worse because they’re built to support the community online. That means that publishers like EA have to cope with the sheer volume of new players who jump into the game over the free weekend, or just as new players roll in over the weeks. It can be a big issue for them if they’re not prepared. EA was definitely not prepared, and Battlefront 2 has been seeing issues ever since as a result.
The problem now is that EA will be freeing up server space for Battlefront 2, and should have better support online soon. The damage is done though. Some players will have tried the game, seen the issues, and will now never try it again. It’s what comes from a game being offered for free, there’s no intrinsic value associated with it.
Moving forward, companies need to be so much better prepared than EA was for when their games are offered for free with Epic Games. Even if that’s a single player game, they need to make sure that servers can cope with the massive new level of downloads that will occur.
There is a silver lining for Battlefront 2. Thankfully, EA included a single player mode, so many players will have stuck around to enjoy the game while the servers are sorted out. Hopefully, the connectivity issues haven’t prevented players from enjoying the game in what should be an offline mode.