When I was a youngster, beta testing was something game developers did to ensure their creations functioned properly before they were unleashed on the public. In more recent years, the term has become almost synonymous with "demo." But Elite: Dangerous takes it a step further by charging $150 for the privilege of testing its game.
To be fair, your 150 smackers will earn more than just access to the premium beta . You'll also get a copy of the full game when it's released as well as all major downloadable expansion packs. In that light it's not a terrible price, especially for long-suffering Elite jockeys who can't wait to get back in the cockpit. A more gently-priced " standard beta " offering is also available for $75, but that edition doesn't grant access until the premium beta has ended, nor does it include any post-release expansions to the game.
"The start of the Premium Beta phase is another exciting moment in our development—from today we have over 10,000 additional people playing the game," Elite creator David Braben said in the announcement. "This is a significant and sensible step-change with which to test the next level of scaling of our cloud-based systems and servers as we move towards the very large numbers of people we will eventually have playing."
The start of the premium beta means the alpha test period, which ran through four separate phases, is now over. The beta version of Elite: Dangerous will incorporate all major features added during the alpha, and will focus first and foremost on "testing the systems and servers with a step change in numbers using a re-balanced game based on feedback and information from the recent Alpha 4 build."
"I once again would like to thank all those who played such an important role in the Alpha phase," Braben said. "We're looking forward to continuing to collaborate with the expanded community during the beta phase as we deliver greater scale, richer content and ever higher quality."