Until its official announcement, Battlefield Premium was a hotly discussed and debated feature. Rumors were flying around like wild, but now that the dust has settled, what are we left with?
Battlefield Premium is purchasable through the Xbox Marketplace or PS Store for $50, providing a variety of bonuses. Out of all the extra revenue options I've seen, this is one of the better ones, but it has one major flaw in it's business strategy.
Basically, if you buy Premium, you get access to all of the map packs when they launch (worth $15 each, or a total of $75 for the set). So if you plan on buying all the BF3 DLC, go ahead and buy Premium now - the bonuses are gravy.
For those not won over by discounts on bulk map purchases, Premium includes a bevy of small features. Server queue priority! A new look for your knife! Reset your stats! Strategy videos! Early access to the DLC! Unique camo!
Honestly, none of that matters. But the discount on buying the remaining map packs? Deal.
This is one of my favourite types of bonus revenue strategies. I prepurchased the Saints Row 3 DLC and the LA Noire DLC, and was happy to do it both times.
So, on to the big business flaw. Frankly, considering the nature of the content, the price is a problem. "But Jad, didn't you say the price was good?". Yes it is - right now.
Imagine a customer who bought Back to Karkand and Close Quarters (two map packs), not wanting to drop the money on Premium. If the quality of Close Quarters draws this customer in, the customer might want to buy Premium, but it's now $50 for three map packs. Ouch! This effect will be multiplied as more and more map packs release.
Hell, this already happened - all those folks who bought Back to Karkand are already punished for doing so, as their $50 only unlocks four map packs, not five.
Ironically, Battlefield's biggest fans (who are the most likely to preorder, and get B2K for free) had Premium devalued simply because they preordered. Essentially, EA should want Premium to be desirable for all Battlefield 3 players, even ones who already bought the DLC. They could have it reactively lower it's price based on map packs purchased. But aside from new players who want to really dive in ("Oh, I just bought this $60 game, and I want to spend another $50!"), Premium's desirability will drop like a rock over time.
So, overall I really like Premium. It's a solid deal to buy map packs I'm definitely going to buy. I like saving money. I haven't used a single Premium perk except the unique camo (and I doubt I'll ever reset my stats), so Premium is a little on the boring side. But if you plan to buy all five map packs (or even if you already have Back to Karkand), Premium is a solid prepayment deal.