Hey, psst, the first ten hours of Plants vs Zombies: Garden Warfare 2 are free

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You don’t have to take my word for it that Garden Warfare 2 is the best thing to happen to shooters since Epic let us play Unreal with bots instead of other people. Now you can find out for yourself for the price of whatever bandwidth is takes to download a 20GB install. From EA’s announcement:

To get started for free now, download the game from Xbox Marketplace, PlayStation Store, or Origin.com. Players who wish to continue the epic battle after their trial can purchase the full game and keep all of their progress, unlocks, and achievements.

It’s a pretty insidious trick. They’re confident — and I’m inclined to agree — that once you invest ten hours in this thing and see what it has to offer, you’ll be willing to pay the $60 (!) for hours eleven plus.

This is something Electronic Arts obviously won’t do when a game is brand new. I suspect they’re watching the data closely for a carefully calculated point where the sales taper off. That’s when they swoop in with the ol’ “first taste is free” trick. Could this be a reaction to Steam’s refund policy, which many folks interpret as a tacit try-before-you-buy offer? Whatever the case, it’s encouraging to see consumer-friendly trends like this taking hold.