Dedicated servers are part of the Battlefield 3 plan, DICE has revealed.
But we don't know whether they extend to console nor whether the dedicated servers require renting as they did in Battlefield: Bad Company 2.
Joystiq's excavation of a Game Informer preview offered no further explanation.
EA has used dedicated servers as a catapult from which to hurl challenges at Activision's Call of Duty dominance in recent years. Famously, Modern Warfare 2 decided not to have dedicated servers on PC - a bullet-point EA leapt on and exploited.
Treyarch's Call of Duty: Black Ops did have dedicated servers on PC, however - but they also required paying for.
On PC, dedicated servers - machines focused only on hosting a match, not participating - are commonplace. But on console they're not. Epic Games will be among the first to buck this trend with Gears of War 3, which will provide Microsoft-hosted dedicated multiplayer servers.
The benefits are no automatic lag advantage for a hosting player, and usually better overall performance, as dedicated servers are beefy machines with industrial-grade net connections.
Battlefield 3 supports 64-player online battles on PC.