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When a game partners with a console you don't own, does that put you off the game?

EA reckons it doesn't.

When a game partners with a console you don't own, does that put you off the game?

EA reckons no, it does not.

EA, which has partnered with Microsoft for first-person shooter Battlefield 1, has run the numbers, and the numbers say everybody wins when it comes to these sorts of deals.

At an investor day, EA boss Andrew Wilson was asked whether he was concerned about Battlefield 1's association with Xbox One in the context of rival console PlayStation 4 currently enjoying a reported 2:1 install base lead.

"Our console partners want to stand right next to the biggest and best games in the industry," Wilson responded.

"Typically what we see is that just aids awareness. It aids awareness whether you're a PC gamer or an Xbox gamer or a PlayStation gamer.

"What the console partner hopes to achieve is some disproportionate awareness around the game as it relates to their particular console.

"But what we have seen - and we've seen the analytics against it - is if you're a PlayStation gamer, you do not reject it because it is brought to you by a potential console parter.

"You understand deeply it's also available on your console. And what we get is just a multiplier effect of greater awareness in the marketplace."

So, EA wins, the console that pays EA for exclusive partner rights reckons they're getting some "disproportionate awareness" boost that may or may not be the case, and gamers who you might think would be upset because they're somehow left out in the cold aren't fussed.

So why bother in the first place? Well, let's look at the case of Battlefield 1. What does the Xbox partnership mean?

1

The official Battlefield website defaults to the Xbox One version of Battlefield 1.

I was in the audience at EA's Battlefield 1 reveal event in London, which took place inside a cinema in Fulham. The venue included Xbox branding, and the videos that were shown included Xbox intro and outros.

The Battlefield 1 reveal trailer, which has been viewed almost 33m times on YouTube, includes this Xbox branding. At the end there's a message that lets the viewer know you can play Battlefield 1 first on Xbox One with EA Access.

Then, a disclaimer:

  • Frostbite game engine footage representative of Xbox One. Not actual gameplay.

There's more: the official Battlefield website defaults to the Xbox One version when you click on pre-order. I suspect when we see Battlefield 1 adverts on telly, we'll also see similar Xbox messaging. Perhaps some will think the game is an Xbox One exclusive. Microsoft will certainly hope so.

But, right now, there's not much to Battlefield 1's partnership with Xbox One - PC and PS4 players can play three days before release, via The Deluxe Edition - so I can't see why PC or PS4 players would be upset by it in the first place.

Sentiment could change, though, if Microsoft has secured exclusivity on Battlefield 1 DLC. Perhaps that's something we'll hear more of during Microsoft's Xbox media briefing at E3.

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