- Electronic Arts is to release a free online version of the popular Battlefield game to be supported by adverts and micro payments.
The PC game, Battlefield Heroes, will be available only online later this year, and will not be sold in shops.
The move marks EA's first major attempt to tap into new sources of ad-driven revenue in Western markets.
The firm has a free version of its Fifa game in South Korea, earning more than $1m a month through in-game sales.
"Online gaming has a massive audience," said EA's Gerhard Florin, in a statement.
"People want to play games in new ways, with easier access that is quick to the fun. With Battlefield Heroes, EA brings its first major franchise to North America and Europe with a new distribution model and pricing structure adapted to the evolving way that people play."
The video games industry is taking its first steps away from a retail-focused sales environment and towards digital distribution.
EA hopes the model of a free game as download that is supported by adverts and micro-payments could be applied to other franchises it owns.
The new version of Battlefield is designed to have more mass market appeal than current titles in the series, which have sold...