Battlefield 5 may not get rental servers

Tyler seemed quite impressed by the Battlefield 5 map Panzerstorm in his December preview, but he did have one complaint: "The lack of community server rentals right now really sucks." But he, and everyone who plays BF5, may have to get used to the situation, because two months after BF5's release, EA still hasn't decided whether it's going to offer them.

Battlefield's server rental program gives players the ability to operate their own game servers, with map rotations, game modes, and gameplay settings customizable as the renter sees fit. Third-party companies operated the servers for earlier Battlefield games, but EA assumed exclusive control with Battlefield 1. It said during a September livestream that rental servers would not be available at launch, which caused some concern, but the general assumption seemed to be that they'd come along sooner or later, since previous Battlefield games also launched before rental servers were ready. 

But a message posted on Reddit by Battlefield global community manager Dan Mitre suggests that it might not happen at all. "You haven't seen an update in our direction with RSP [Rental Server Program] because we haven't made a full decision internally whether or not we can deliver it," he wrote. 

"RSP needs to meet standards and your expectations with the tools we provide—that takes development resources. It also needs to make economical development sense—we can't introduce a feature that ends up costing more to keep maintained than it returns (I know that statement will open up more debate, and I encourage that, but this is the reality of the situation). In other words, we don't want to impact development resources of main game Quality of Life commitment and upcoming content by routing team bandwidth to RSP development. There's also financial implications here that go well beyond my remit." 

Mitre said that the possibility of Battlefield 5 server rentals is not "off the table," but if EA is going to do it, it has to be prepared to "commit fully" to the program. Whichever way it goes, he said an official statement will be released once the decision is made. 

One point he didn't address is the possibility of returning rental server responsibilities to third-party companies. I've emailed EA to ask about that, and will update if I receive a reply.  

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.