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If there’s any chance Battlefield 2042 is gonna have shot at redemption, it’s now

The combination of a free weekend, deep discount, and years of constant updates may have finally made a compelling case for Battlefield 2042.

Image credit: EA/DICE.

Over the weekend, right when Call of Duty was having a big moment with the Modern Warfare 3 beta, EA and DICE had some bit of counter-programming planned, which no one could’ve predicted would end up actually helping Battlefield.

In celebration of the launch of Season 6 - likely to be Battlefield 2024’s last major update - the game held a free weekend on all platforms, and went on sale at a steep 84% off discount. Scheduling all that to go up against Battlefield’s juggernaut competitor was certainly bold, and it paid off.

Battlefield 2042, which has been averaging a modest of 10,000 concurrent players per day on Steam, tends to invite a lot more interest from players whenever new content is released. Though we’ve seen those numbers reach the 40 and 50,000 with past seasons and free weekends, nothing has quite made a dent as the most recent update and free weekend.

Over the weekend, Battlefield 2042 peaked at a staggering 104,060 concurrent players on Steam alone, according to SteamDB, which is just shy of the 105,397 peak concurrent it had at launch in November, 2021.

Coincidentally, Call of Duty got a boost to its own numbers thanks to the Modern Warfare 3 beta, peaking at 161,126 concurrent players. While that’s certainly more than Battlefield, it’s worth keeping in mind that Call of Duty is typically significantly more popular, with its peak nearing half-a-million concurrent players.

The timing for that promotion couldn’t have been better. Battlefield just received the big 6.0.0 patch to kick off Season 6, a season players didn’t even think would happen. But it’s here now, with a new infantry-only map reminiscent of Operation Locker. The new season also added new weapons, changed vehicle handing, rebalanced classes (which are also a recent addition), and made several tweaks to aiming - especially on controllers.

You could easily see how the quiet, but steady positive buzz coming out of the Battlefield community over the last several months has finally convinced curious players to check out the game, especially now that there was an opportunity to start playing for free. Players unmoved by the bland Modern Warfare 3 beta may have also decided to give Battlefield 2042 a chance, particularly if they played the game at launch and never returned.

It’s hard to predict whether all that work is going to have a lasting effect on the player base of Battlefield 2042. As we near the end of the free weekend, the game’s concurrent player count has already dropped, and will likely continue to slide further until it settles over the coming days. The real win here would be for the game to convince players to stick around, which could lead to a resurgence of sorts that pushes the game higher up the Steam charts.

As a longtime Battlefield fan who abandoned 2042 fairly quickly after its disastrous launch, I dipped my toes back in here and there to check out some of the recent patches and map reworks. Battlefield 2042 is undoubtedly a much better game today than it ever was, but part of me still can’t get over some of the major fundamental changes that made it into the game to begin with, which, while less impactful today than in 2021, are still present and hard to ignore.

We’ll be keeping an eye on how things develop for Battlefield 2042 in the coming weeks, especially as we near the launch of Modern Warfare 3.

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Battlefield 2042

PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, PC

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Sherif Saed


Sherif (he/him) is VG247’s go-to shooter and Souls-likes person. Whether it’s news, reviews, or op-eds – Sherif is always eager to tell you about video games. He's one of VG247's most veteran writers, with 10+ years experience on the site.