Earlier today it was confirmed that next Monday, June 4, EA plans to roll out Battlefield 3 Premium - a new service that offers players additional items and DLC for a one-off fee.
Official details aren't being released until next week, the publisher says – presumably to tie in with its E3 press conference on Monday - but we've trawled through the leaked fact sheet to find you everything you need to know about the service.
Of course, we need to make it clear that at the time of publishing this information should still be considered unofficial – but we know a fake fact sheet when we see one, and this looks fairly legit to us.
What is it?
Rather than being an annual subscription service in the style of Activision's Call of Duty: Elite, Battlefield 3 Premium appears to be the equivalent to a Season Pass for Battlefield 3, entitling buyers to all five Battlefield 3 expansion packs at no additional cost, plus additional items and exclusive bonuses. Unlike a subscription to Call of Duty: Elite, however, - which rolls over to additional Call of Duty titles year-on-year for as long as you keep your subscription - Premium appears to be tied purely to Battlefield 3.
How much does it cost?
Battlefield 3 Premium costs a one-off fee of $49.99, €49.99, or 4,000 Microsoft Points. A price in pound sterling is still to be confirmed, but as Call of Duty: Elite carries an identical cost in the States, it's safe to assume that it'll set us Brits back £34.99.
What do I get for the money?
You'll get access to all five of Battlefield 3's expansion packs – Back To Karkand, Close Quarters, Armored Kill, Aftermath, and End Game – and at no additional cost. You'll also get access to each of them two weeks earlier than non-Premium players, although, regardless of whether you pay for Premium or not, we believe PlayStation 3 users will still receive them one week earlier than PC and Xbox 360 players, thanks to EA's timed-exclusivity deal with Sony.
You won't see most of the expansion packs any time soon, however. Close Quarters is the next expansion pack due, releasing on PS3 alongside Premium next week and 360/PC the week after, but the others will each slowly trickle out between mid-2012 and summer 2013.
There are throwaway extras included in the price, too, including a unique in-game 'ACB-90' knife, unique dog tags, five new assignments, and 10+ additional camos for your soldier. Some ambiguous-sounding 'additional content' is promised, too.
Priority access to multiplayer servers will also be included - a worrying sign for those who aren't prepared to sign up for Premium - and you'll be invited to exclusive 'members-only' events, including double XP weekends.
You'll also be given the ability to permanently store five Battle Reports via Battlelog and given access to exclusive videos featuring hints and tips from the guys at DICE.
Oh, and you'll be given the option to reset all of your multiplayer progress. If you're mental.
Is it worth it?
If you're planning on buying all five expansion packs anyway, then investing in Battlefield 3 Premium appears to be a no-brainer. Buying each of the expansion packs separately would cost you a shade under £50 so, if the price tag does convert to £34.99, you're already looking at a saving of £15.
And while the additional content doesn't seem particularly compelling (do you really need a unique in-game knife?), the two-week early access and exclusive double-XP events will give Battlefield 3 pros an excellent headstart when it comes to learning the maps. And when it comes to competitive multiplayer gaming, that can make all the difference between life and death on the Battlefield.