Battlefield 3 Can Support 256 Players

According to EA DICE CEO Patrick Soderlund, Battlefield 3 is capable of matching MAG’s prodigious player count of online combatants. Speaking in an interview with Atomic MPC (via CVG), the studio head touched upon the magic 256 number, and why – though Battlefield 3 can support the weight – they really don’t want to. He said:


A lot of people ask us about 64 versus 128 or 256 players. Technically, we can go to 256, we’ve tried it.

We play tested with 128. You’ve got to make a game that’s fun to play and, arguably, we think that the most fun you can have is when it’s between 32 and 40 players.

We’ve done substantial research into this and tested 128 and that it’s not fun. Maybe we haven’t done our design work good enough, but we just feel like there’s no point in going higher than 64.

The interview also touches upon a character who appears to have bolt-cutters on his back, spied in the recently released footage. Will we be seeing this tool featuring in actual gameplay? “We’ll see…,” Soderlund alludes.

Source: Atomic MPC



  1. 256 is way to hectic, although it works nicely in MAG.

    • I can imagine. Getting 16 to work in GT5 is hard enough, especially on a Sunday.

    • It would work just fine if the maps are designed to cater for it. Putting 256 into a map that was designed for 40 would be mental though.

  2. Although I like MAG a lot, the 256 player game-modes were chaotic, and due to long distance spawn points, they could get boring at times.

  3. MAGs layout was design to deal with the chaos. I found MAG less hectic than 64 player BF2.

  4. Less people should do things just because they can. Good job, Dice!

  5. 64 players was perfect for me.

    However, give us proper mod tools and let us be the judge of larger player numbers please.

  6. That’s great, but what is the player count going to be for the console versions? Hopefully it’ll be more than 24 players.

  7. “we think that the most fun you can have is when it’s between 32 and 40 players”

    Does that mean not to buy the console version then

    • There was no mention of the console player count. It’s a bit presumptuous to automatically assume it won’t match the PC count. I’m not saying it will. They’re also not currently saying it won’t, however.

      • It’s already been announced as 24 players, hasn’t it?

      • Yep 24 on consoles I believe they’ve stated.

      • cough ;)

      • If MAG can do 256 on consoles (in fairness only PS3) why hasn’t anybody else got over 24/32 players? Server issues?

      • with MAG Sony were trying to advance their platform as well as sell a game, most publishers, perhaps all publishers won’t want to saddle themselves with the ongoing costs.

        P2P hosted multiplayer gaming is therefore more popular with publishers and dedicated servers are more rare.

  8. what a load of bollocks, they think less people is more fun? what a joke, it’s a war game, it’s meant to be hectic, like Dick Jones once said, “if you can’t stand the heat, better stay out of the kitchen”

    I think what they meant to say was, “It’s too hard for us to bother giving people what they actually want, so we’ll be sticking with smaller squad numbers, and smaller maps so that no one moans about that sniper, and everyone can use their overpowered shotguns as they run around, jumping about so they don’t get shot while ignoring the objectives”

    • Yes, less people can be more fun, but it depends on the type of game. I’d rather squad deathmatch in BC2 with no more than 16 players over a game on the same map with 100 players. If maps are overcrowded, it beomes a freeforall, and squad tactics go out the window since you’re constantly killing/being killed by new spawns.

      Balancing that is a difficult act, and will be different for every style of game. Adding to player count makes for a more hectic game, adding to map size makes for more running around looking for people. They need balance.

      Since they said they did extensive testing, I’m guessing they did. Would some people prefer more players? Sure. But not everyone likes that sort of thing.

      • overcrowding? that would only happen on small maps, this BF3 map sizes should be quite large and be able to cater for a larger number of players than 30-40, if people don’t want big battles their are already crappy games out their like COD, this should have been different, sounds like it will be the same old game in a new skin.

  9. First thought was: MAG killer?
    Maybe not though.

Comments are now closed for this post.