Hastening the transformation of games into platforms unto themselves, EA announced Battlefield 3 Premium, a subscription service for the first person shooter that will give customers access to five major DLC packs as well as "deeper personalization options and advanced features."
Each of the expansion packs will introduce new vehicles, set pieces, and features to the game. The packs are Battlefield 3: Back to Karkand, Battlefield 3: Close Quarters, Battlefield 3: Armored Kill, Battlefield 3: End Game, and Battlefield 3: Aftermath. Those who subscribe to PlayStation Plus on top of being Premium members will get access to the first expansion pack Close Quarters immediately, while non-subscribers and 360 owners will have to wait until June 19. Each expansion pack is $15 on its own, so Premium subscribers will get a $25 savings, presuming they'd be interested in buying all five packs.
The announcement follows last year's launch of Activision's Call of Duty Elite service, which offered a similar array of early access to DLC, added stat tracking and customization options for committed players. Both services seem to occupy a strange space between a yearly subscription model and a discrete boxed-product model that sells players a single self-contained game.
The favoring of PlayStation Plus subscribers adds a unique complication, meaning you need to pay for a monthly fee to Sony, plus the yearly fee to EA. It's an odd friction that is inevitable when everyone wants to be a platform providers, you'll eventually wind up paying twice for the same basic service.