In November 2011, we witnessed a fierce battle waged between two powerhouse game releases, Activision’s blockbuster Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 and Electronic Arts’ (EA) hotly anticipated Battlefield 3. Both games shared similarities and differences, so it was a matter of picking your poison and hopping online with your friends. One of the interesting introductions was Call of Duty Elite, an online service designed to enhance your multiplayer experience with Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3. The base service was free but a premium, paid service was also available and an impressive 1.5 million gamers signed up. Sensing a missed opportunity, EA has come forth with their own version, Battlefield Premium.

How Battlefield Premium first came to light is an amusing little side-story. The European Playstation Network store issued an update that leaked key details of the service, including the launch date, price and what features would be included. This was very quickly redacted by Sony, but not fast enough to escape notice and the news spread fast across social media and internet forums. EA decided to take the direct approach and confirm the news in a post on the official Battlefield Twitter page. It specified that the service will officially be unveiled in EA’s pre-E3 press conference on Monday, June 4. The launch coincides with the release of the Battlefield 3: Close Quarters DLC pack.

The idea behind Call of Duty Elite is to give players the ability to remotely customize their multiplayer experience and connect with other players at similar levels and, as part of a social networking component, connect with others who share similar interests. Some of the features were gimmicky, but being able to remotely customize your weapons loadout and check your stats is a nice touch. The free service gives you a significant amount of content, some hit and some miss, and the premium service offers discounts and early access to DLC and enhanced clan support and stat tracking. Battlefield Premium functions in a similar capacity, with some notable changes that give this a unique twist.

The unofficial word is that Battlefield Premium, in contrast to the annual subscription one would pay for Call of Duty Elite, would be available at a one-time fee that the subscriber pays. Some of the reported perks of this service include five DLC expansions, priority server access, special in-game weapons, character stat tools and a host of other goodies too numerous to list here. Needless to say, if you plan on spending some serious quality time with Battlefield 3, this is a service you will want to consider spending the money on. The suggested price is $49.99 US (or 4,000 MSP), with regional price variances, however this has not yet been officially confirmed.

In addition to the confirmation of Battlefield Premium, a leaked “fact sheet” has been uncovered that outlines what the service has to offer. This is currently unofficial and should be taken as such, but it offers an interesting glimpse at what might be around the corner for those who wish to partake.

More details regarding the Battlefield Premium Service will be revealed on Monday, June 4. The above information represents what is available at this time and is subject to change. Whether it’s worth your money or not depends on how much you enjoy Battlefield 3 and how much time you plan to spend on the multiplayer. If you planned on purchasing all of the expansions, then the service should pay for itself (provided the rumored prices hold true) and the extra benefits, especially two week early access to DLC should make this a winning investment.

Battlefield 3 is currently available on Xbox 360, Playstation 3 and PC, and it is a fair assumption that the Battlefield Premium service will be available on all platforms. Stay tuned for more details.