DICE has launched a new patch for the Xbox 360 version of Battlefield 3, offering rent a mini-server features that lets players pay for their own private or public server - similar to the offers available to PC gamers via third party companies.
Showcased in a short trailer, it details how players renting one will be able to give friends VIP status - for queue jumping during busy periods, the choice of which maps are played, a selection of game modes, settings such as HUD on/off, whether you wish to use vehicles or not as well as many other tweakable options.
You can rent a server over varied time periods, from just one day right through to 90 days. For just a single 24 hour period, it'll run you £1.19, a week £5.49, £19.99 for a month and £47.99 for the full month and a half. The prices are better if you're in the US, with a 30 day period there costing just $25.
PC alternatives are based on player numbers instead of time rented (with most packages running for 30 days) and they are a little cheaper. Using the 24 player maximum that Xbox users have, one month of server rental on the PC will cost you just under £17. However, you can go all the way up to 64 players for £44.80 over at Multiplay.
Private servers and mod support are two of the main advantages of the PC platform. The former of these now being available on the Xbox is just another hint that consoles are moving in a multi-media, multi-faceted, PC-like direction.
And that they're dying. Maybe.