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Is Battlefield 2042 Free-to-Play with EA? Everything You Need to Know

If you‘re a first person shooter fan, you‘ve probably been hearing a lot about Battlefield 2042 lately. EA‘s newest entry in the iconic Battlefield series launched in 2021, but really changed things up by going free-to-play in 2023.

Naturally, this has led to some questions from both newcomers and veteran players:

  • Can I play Battlefield 2042 for free?
  • What about with Xbox Game Pass or EA Play?
  • How does it work now that‘s it‘s free-to-play?

Well friend, you‘ve come to the right place. As a long-time Battlefield player and gaming industry expert, I‘ve got all the details you need on exactly how to play Battlefield 2042 for free with EA. Let‘s dive in!

Free-to-Play Explained

The biggest news is that as of March 2023, Battlefield 2042‘s standard edition is completely free across all platforms. That means whether you game on PC, Xbox consoles, or PlayStation, you can now download and play Battlefield 2042 online multiplayer without paying a cent.

This is a huge shift from the traditional $60-70 price tag at launch. EA decided to make the switch to a free-to-play model to help attract more players to the game after its rocky reception at release.

Going free-to-play has absolutely exploded interest – in February 2023 alone Battlefield 2042 shot to the #3 most played game on Steam with over 100,000 concurrent players.

Now the only limitations are that you won‘t have access to the Hazard Zone mode (a small battle royale-style experience) or any single player/co-op content. But you‘ll have unlimited access to Battlefield‘s signature large-scale multiplayer modes like Conquest and Breakthrough where the real action‘s at.

So if you just want to sample Battlefield 2042‘s chaotic 128-player battles on foot and vehicles for free, now‘s your chance!

Try Before You Buy

EA has also offered limited-time free access periods even before Battlefield went fully free-to-play. Typically these free weekends last 3-5 days.

So far we‘ve seen Battlefield 2042 free events on:

  • Xbox: December 1-4, 2022
  • PlayStation: December 16-23, 2022
  • Steam: December 1-5, 2022

During these windows, you could download and play Battlefield 2042 as if you owned the full game. Things like progression and unlocks would even carry over seamlessly if you decided to purchase it afterwards.

EA continues to leverage these free weekends to draw in new players around major patches and content updates. Most recently in February 2023 for the launch of Season 3.

EA Play Early Access

Now, what about getting Battlefield 2042 as part of your EA Play membership? EA Play is EA‘s subscription service on consoles and PC that grants bonuses like early trials, discounts, and monthly free games.

Importantly, EA Play members on Xbox/PlayStation/PC can access a 10 hour trial of Battlefield 2042 through the Play First Trial system. This gives you a nice chunk of time to test out the online multiplayer to see if Battlefield 2042 is your style.

The 10 hours gets you access to all the same content as paying players – all maps and modes, progression, etc. The timer only runs while you‘re actively playing a match, so it‘s a pretty generous sampling.

If those 10 hours aren‘t quite enough to decide, EA Play members do receive a 10% discount off the purchase price when your trial expires.

So while you don‘t get unlimited access to Battlefield 2042 with basic EA Play, the Play First Trial makes it easy to experience the game for a fraction of the cost.

Game Pass Free Play

Now for Xbox owners, the very best way to play Battlefield 2042 for free is undoubtedly Xbox Game Pass. Game Pass and Game Pass Ultimate members can play the full version of Battlefield 2042 on console and PC as part of their subscription.

Shortly after going free-to-play in early 2023, Battlefield 2042 was added to the Game Pass library. That means as a subscriber, you can download and play Battlefield 2042 online multiplayer completely free of charge.

This free access is available across Game Pass for:

  • Xbox Series X/S
  • Xbox One
  • PC via EA Desktop app

And since Game Pass Ultimate also includes Xbox Live Gold, you don‘t need to pay extra for the online multiplayer component. You can just jump straight into matches and start racking up kills.

Unlike the 10 hour EA Play trial, Game Pass grants unlimited playtime rather than limiting you. You do need to maintain an active Game Pass membership, but Battlefield 2042 seems likely to remain available for at least a year if not longer.

Does EA Play Pro Include It?

Now for players on PC, you might be wondering about EA Play Pro. This is EA‘s premium subscription that grants full early access to new releases before launch.

Original Battlefield 2042 players with EA Play Pro could begin playing on November 12, 2021 – 1 whole week before release!

However, now that Battlefield 2042 has transitioned to a free-to-play model, there is no added benefit to having an EA Play Pro membership for accessing it. Since anyone can download and play for free already, early access doesn‘t matter.

So if you‘re on PC, EA Play Pro doesn‘t get you anything extra. Just stick to the standard free-to-play version and you‘ll have the full experience.

How Long Will It Be on Game Pass?

Battlefield 2042 seems very likely to remain available via Game Pass for at least 1 year based on typical EA-Microsoft licensing deals. Popular live service EA titles usually stick around for a minimum of a year before leaving the catalog.

So Game Pass subscribers can likely expect to play Battlefield 2042 for free through 2023 at the very least. EA and Microsoft have not confirmed an exact end date yet.

Of course, even if it does leave Game Pass eventually, the game will still be playable for free via the standard free-to-play edition. But Game Pass does provide the best console experience.

As long as your Game Pass membership is active, you‘ll have unlimited access to Battlefield 2042 multiplayer just like any game in the catalog. Definitely take advantage while you can!

Game Pass vs EA Play Compared

Let‘s do a quick comparison of what EA Play and Xbox Game Pass offer for accessing Battlefield 2042:

EA Play

  • 10 hour Play First Trial
  • 10% discount if you buy the full game
  • Available on Xbox, PlayStation, PC

Xbox Game Pass

  • Full game access, unlimited playtime
  • Included with Game Pass membership
  • No extra charges for online multiplayer
  • Available on Xbox and PC

As you can see, Game Pass provides the definitively better free Battlefield 2042 experience – unlimited access on both console and PC at no extra cost.

The 10 hour EA Play trial is decent for checking it out quickly. But Game Pass is the way to go for the free Battlefield 2042 the experience on Xbox platforms.

What Does EA Play Include?

We‘ve covered the Game Pass and EA Play benefits for Battlefield 2042, but what else comes with an EA Play membership?

For just $4.99 per month or $29.99 annually, EA Play members gain:

  • Access to the Play List: a vault of legacy EA games
  • 10% discount on EA digital purchases
  • First trials for new releases like Madden and FIFA
  • Exclusive challenges and member rewards

The Play List alone gets you unlimited access to hundreds of iconic EA titles from 5+ years ago. We‘re talking Star Wars: Battlefront, Titanfall 2, Need for Speed, Plants vs Zombies, and more.

So while the new release benefits are somewhat limited, you gain this huge back catalog of amazing games with EA Play. For old or new school EA fans, it‘s a great value.

Free Play Event Dates

In case you missed out on the previous free access periods, here‘s a quick look back:

Xbox

  • December 1-4, 2022

PlayStation

  • December 16-23, 2022

Steam

  • December 1-5, 2022

EA will likely continue leveraging these 3-5 day free events around major updates and content drops to attract potential new players, so keep an eye out!

Is Battlefield 2042 Worth Playing in 2023?

Now you might be wondering – with all of its criticisms since launch, is Battlefield 2042 worth playing in 2023 even if you can play for free?

As someone who has logged many hours in the game over the past year, I can confidently say that the current state of Battlefield 2042 is pretty darn good.

Let‘s quickly break down what‘s improved since those initial reviews back at launch:

  • Gunplay – DICE has overhauled many of the weapon balances and recoil patterns to feel satisfyingly punchy. Shooting feels great.

  • Movement – Mantling, sliding, traversal all feel smooth as butter. They‘ve really nailed the modern FPS feel.

  • Maps – Yes, even the maps have improved! Visual updates and changing capture points/layouts have enhanced their flow.

  • Events – Fun limited-time modes and events like Supply Drops keep things lively.

  • Updates – DICE continues major quality-of-life improvements across gameplay, UI, and performance.

And perhaps most importantly, going free-to-play has exploded the player count which means better matchmaking. Finding a nicely filled lobby is quick and easy.

For those who bounced off Battlefield 2042 early on, I truly think it‘s worth revisiting, especially while you can play for free! The gunplay feels great and battles are epic. Try it out and see for yourself.

Is It Worth Buying the Paid Versions?

Okay, so the base Battlefield 2042 experience is free now, but are any of the paid additions worth it? Let‘s quickly break those down:

Year 1 Pass – $39.99

The Year 1 Pass seems to offer a ton of value for dedicated players. You get:

  • 4 Year 1 Specialists (new playable characters with unique skills)
  • 4 Year 1 Battle Passes
  • 3 Epic Skin Bundles

New Specialists help keep the meta evolving and the skins/Battle Pass rewards offer plenty of customization. For hardcore fans, the Year 1 Pass looks to be a smart buy.

Ultimate Edition – $99.99

This bundles together:

  • The Year 1 Pass
  • Midnight Ultimate Cosmetic Pack (Legendary character/weapon/vehicle skins)
  • Official digital art book

You save about $10 vs buying the Year 1 Pass separately. The cosmetics and art book offer some collectible value for big fans. Overall a decent package.

But if you‘re unsure on Battlefield 2042, I‘d recommend starting with the free content first. Once you‘ve put some hours in and know you love it, then consider paying to upgrade!

The Verdict

At the end of the day, Battlefield 2042 offering a free-to-play multiplayer experience across all platforms makes it incredibly easy to try out for yourself and see if it‘s your type of FPS.

The scale is unmatched – up to 128 players clashing on foot and vehicles across sprawling, destructible environments. And it just feels great with satisfying weapon handling and smooth movement mechanics.

Don‘t let the negative reception at launch turn you off. As someone with hundreds of hours played, I can confirm Battlefield 2042 has evolved into a polished, stellar free-to-play multiplayer shooter.

Now is the perfect chance to drop in and sample DICE‘s spectacular warfare absolutely free. See the difference over a year of updates and improvements has made.

Trust me, friend – if you have any love of large-scale, heart-pounding FPS battles, Battlefield 2042 is once again worth your time. See you on the battlefield!

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Michael

Michael Reddy is a tech enthusiast, entertainment buff, and avid traveler who loves exploring Linux and sharing unique insights with readers.