Battlefield 3 Premium

Asking consumers to drop $50 on a game they already own might seem like a lot to ask, but more than 1.3 million Battlefield 3 players have happily done so for publisher Electronic Arts.

Battlefield 3 Premium is a one-time $50 service that grants buyers early access to the game’s downloadable content, including new maps and weapons. Premium purchasers also receive exclusive items. The experience launched in early June.

EA revealed the Premium figure in its Q1 earnings report. The same document mentioned that FIFA Ultimate Team, a web-based extension for FIFA 12 that allows players to manage their virtual teams remotely, earned more than $30 million in net digital revenue. The report also told us that the publisher’s massively multiplayer game, Star Wars: The Old Republic, will be going free-to-play in the fall with a premium subscription service available as an option.

Clearly, EA is looking for creative ways to earn digital revenue from retail games. When taking that direction into consideration, Battlefield 3 Premium is an early success.