Last night I noticed I had a friend playing the Gears of War 3 Beta and was playing team death match (I don't know where he came from just a random off of Xbox live). I messaged him over and over again trying to find out how this was possible but he never responded. I searched online for a good 45 minutes and NOTHING just that the beta starts the 18th for Bulletstorm Epic edition owners and the 25th for the rest of us. I honestly gave up and just figured maybe he knows someone important or something.

However today one of my personal friends said he saw a person online playing it as well. He investigated further and determined there is 90MB update when you log into bulletstorm and now the Gears of War 3 beta icon is lit up. However when he tries to launch it he receives a message that it won't be available until the 18th. I understand that officially it won't be available until the 18th but I still want to know how this is possible. Did they hack it? are we both crazy? I guess it's also possible we both know people that work at Epic?

How is it possible for people to play betas before they come out? I have seen people playing full games before they release due to them working in retail ect.. but what about betas?

  • @Nick good point I'll flag it and let the mods sort it out. – Supercereal Apr 12 '11 at 18:28
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    If you change it to a more general form (i.e. "How are my friends playing betas on Xbox Live before they're released?") and then just keep the Gears of War stuff as an example, it should be fine. – Mana Apr 12 '11 at 18:31
  • @mana Excellent! I'll change it, thanks for the advice. – Supercereal Apr 12 '11 at 18:33
  • Got me all confused, I see a flag asking about whether a time-generic question is too localized or not, haha. ♪ I'm with @Mana on this - this change to just "How can people play betas before they come out" should be appropriate. – Grace Note Apr 12 '11 at 18:41

Beta tests are accessible in different ways, depending on how the developers want to do it.

Ways to participate in private beta:

  • Be a part of the developer team
  • Know someone on the developer team
  • Know someone who knows someone on the developer team

Ways to participate in public beta:

  • Complete a sign-up process before the beta begins, then be randomly selected
  • Buy a game which contains beta access to another game
  • Pre-order the full game

Essentially, you just have to know how that particular beta is being carried out, and/or be very lucky.

  • For the Gears of War 3 example, it sounds like a few lucky gamers who bought Bulletstorm were selected to take part in beta testing. – Keaanu Apr 12 '11 at 20:40
  • I have early beta access: starts on the 18th and for everyone else it starts on the 25th. That's why I was so confused, the beta isn't out yet! yet two different people have been seen playing it. I googled endlessly trying to find out how, unless they work for epic I'm at a loss... – Supercereal Apr 12 '11 at 20:52
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    It's possible they know the developers, or have friends that can get them early beta access. The chance that a 'random' citizen is playing beta before launch is fairly unlikely. – Keaanu Apr 13 '11 at 0:44

The developers can be playing a "beta" before it's even a beta...in which case it's an "alpha". In the case of Gears 3, Devs played it first, then they allowed friends and family, then they allowed Bulletstorm purchasers, and finally they allowed pre-orderers.

Your hidden question is not "How are people playing betas before they come out?" but "How can anybody play a beta before it comes out FOR ME?" In this case it's actually the case of "you gotta know somebody".

  • Hi there, Keaanu answered this question to the satisfaction of the original asker already. We appreciate the participation, but try to keep an eye out for an answer that's already posted and accepted next time. – authenticgeek May 2 '11 at 20:29
  • Your actually right about the Gears Beta... I ended up getting on 4 days before the bullet storm release during the friends, family, press, and vip beta through the Microsoft Expert zone. – Supercereal May 2 '11 at 21:53
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    @Nick Personally, I think John Doe added some very worthwhile and non-duplicated information in his post; he specified what one calls a pre-beta "beta", and also specifically what was happening in a case the OP mentioned, Gears of War 3. The first answer didn't have any of that. Good work, @John Doe. – Uticensis May 2 '11 at 22:11
  • @Billare Alpha and beta generally relate to how polished software is, not about how many users are allowed to play. At a point only weeks before release, I assure you that the game is in beta, not alpha. John Doe is absolutely wrong on this point, actually. As for the rest of the information, I interpreted Keaanu's information to contain everything that is in John's answer. – authenticgeek May 2 '11 at 22:28

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