PlayStation 3 Snatches ‘Battlefield 3′ Expansion Exclusives

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If you want first dibs on Battlefield 3′s download expansion packs, it looks like you’ll need a PlayStation 3 to make it so. Sony’s secured timed-exclusive rights to not just the first expansion pack, but everything to come thereafter.

Developer DICE’s own Tommy Rydling took to Sony’s PlayStation Blog this morning to break that news, as well as the open beta’s launch timeframe: Look for the PlayStation Network open beta to kickoff a week from today, Thursday, September 29. It’ll be brief, closing on October 10, but if you want in, you can join without fuss or muss by locating the game on the PlayStation Store and pulling the demo down (presumably from Thursday, next week).

(MORE: ‘Battlefield 3′ Sales Predicted to Hit 11 Million, First Look at Multiplayer)

Another way into the beta: If you bought (and redeemed) a copy of Medal of Honor: Limited Edition or that game’s “Tier 1 Edition Online Pass,” Rydling says you’ll be able to start poking around in the beta 48 hours early, next Tuesday, September 27 (look for a personal email invite from DICE confirming as much shortly).

And a bit about what the open beta covers:

The Open Beta is your chance to play Battlefield 3 early, try out our free social platform Battlelog, and give your valued feedback directly to those of us at DICE. You participating in the Battlefield 3 Open Beta means that you are not only helping us load test the servers, but more importantly, helping us fine-tune the final components of the multiplayer game.

During your time in the Open Beta, you’ll be playing on the map Operation Métro – a map you might have seen coverage of from E3, where we won the Best Multiplayer Game award.

The first expansion already has a name, Battlefield 3: Back to Karkand, which DICE describes as “a themed expansion pack containing four of the most loved maps from Battlefield 2, boldly reimagined in the Frostbite 2 engine.” It also features “new weapons and vehicles, unique in-game dog tags, new persistence, as well as new Trophies.”

Of course the PS3′s timed-exclusive timeframe we’re talking about for these expansions is just one week, which means you’d have to be pretty diehard to pick Sony on that basis alone. Either way, Battlefield 3 itself has a firm October 25 U.S. release date, at which point it’ll be available simultaneously for PC, PS3 and Xbox 360.

MORE: Deathmatch: ‘Battlefield 3′ vs. ‘Modern Warfare 3′

Matt Peckham is a reporter at TIME. Find him on Twitter at @mattpeckham or on Facebook. You can also continue the discussion on TIME’s Facebook page and on Twitter at @TIME.

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