Battlefield 5 is getting rental servers later this year

There was some doubt earlier this year about whether private server rentals, which enable Battlefield players to run games with custom settings, map rotations, and private player lists, would be offered in Battlefield 5. They've been a part of the Battlefield series for years, but Electronic Arts said in January that it wouldn't launch the program unless it could meet quality standards and also "make economical development sense." 

Today EA finally confirmed that rental servers are on the way, and fact they're not just arriving, they're evolving, from the Rented Server Program as it was originally known, to an updated system called Private Games that will offer "base level" access for free. 

Private Games will enable players to create their own Battlefield 5 servers from the game's main menu, or through a new web-based service that's currently in development. Servers will be located at the ping site closest to the operator and will remain online as long as they're being used, and server configurations will be stored locally so they can be restarted quickly. 

Planned "core functionality" for the first phase of the rollout isn't carved in stone just yet but currently includes: 

  • Create private game from main menu
  • Set custom name for the server
  • Set description for the server
  • Password protect the server
  • Control what maps are used within the map rotation
  • Control what game modes are available
  • Control the number of players needed to break pre-round
  • Kick players from the current game
  • Control what classes are available
  • Control what weapons are allowed
  • Control if vehicles are allowed
  • Control if the kill cam will be displayed
  • Turn friendly fire on or off
  • Turn regenerative health on or off
  • Change soldier tags as visible or not
  • Enable or disable third-person camera view
  • Enable squad leader spawn only
  • Enable or disable aim assist auto rotation
  • Enable or disable aim assist cooldown
  • Control bullet damage scaling
  • Control game mode ticket scaling
  • Control soldier and vehicle respawn timers
  • Turn the mini map on or off
  • Enable or disable the compass

"Organization options" will include:

  • Apply a pre-set config to a private game: Vanilla, Infantry only, DICE-authored etc.
  • Save your server settings as a custom preset so you can reapply at will
  • Have your name highlighted in chat if you’re the owner of the server
  • Administrate and manage server settings in the main menu or via our Private Games web portal
  • Have the description of your Private Game presented on the loading screen
  • Manually switch specific players between teams
  • Report private games in the advanced search screen

The first phase of Private Games is expected to be rolled out sometime after the summer, and will be followed by updates with more granular features for things like server moderators, VIPs, and banned players. Specifics on what will be free and what will cost money weren't covered but more will be revealed during E3, and there will be community playtesting opportunities as well.   

"As we drive to improve communication and transparency—something our Community Development Initiative is founded on—we’ll ensure that those who join us for playtests and feedback sessions are armed with information to speak openly to you all about this feature, the progress we’re making, and the next steps in the development of Private Games," EA wrote. "Private Games is a feature that we’re committed to, and we look forward to talking to you more about this throughout this Summer."

Andy Chalk

Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.