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Dual Universe beta starts in August, will require a monthly subscription fee

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Dual Universe "allows millions of players to interact with each other in a single, fully-editable world," declares the narrator in the trailer above. It's a spectacularly ambitious claim, which naturally makes a person wary—among all the other attempts, will this really be the giant voxel MMO sanbox that grips us? We should have a better idea after August 27, when Dual Universe enters beta.

It won't be a free beta, though. You don't see this too often anymore: The Dual Universe beta will cost a monthly subscription fee that ranges in price from about $5.83 to $7 depending on how many months you purchase at a time. Here's the breakdown:

  • 3 months: $20.97 
  • 6 months: $38.45
  • 12 months: $69.90

Alternatively, you can get beta access without a subscription and start playing Dual Universe now by buying an Alpha Pack (opens in new tab) (which will stop being sold soon), but note that the alpha's final content wipe will occur before the beta begins.

The release of the beta will also coincide with a lifting of the NDA currently in place for alpha players, meaning testers will be able to talk openly about their experiences with the game. I look forward to reporting on Dual Universe. Whether it succeeds or not, ambitious player-controlled sandboxes are almost always at least interesting.

Developer Novaquark has also released Dual Universe's cinematic opening, which you can watch below, and you can find out more about the sci-fi MMO on the official site (opens in new tab). Dual Universe's full launch is planned for 2021, at which point Novaquark expects the subscription pricing to remain the same.

When we last checked in with Dual Universe during pre-alpha, a player had built a McDonalds in the game (opens in new tab), because that's what you do in games that let you build things.

Tyler grew up in Silicon Valley alongside Apple and Microsoft, playing games like Zork and Arkanoid on the early personal computers his parents brought home. He was later captivated by Myst, SimCity, Civilization, Command & Conquer, Bushido Blade (yeah, he had Bleem!), and all the shooters they call "boomer shooters" now. In 2006, Tyler wrote his first professional review of a videogame: Super Dragon Ball Z for the PS2. He thought it was OK. In 2011, he joined PC Gamer, and today he's focused on the site's news coverage. After work, he practices boxing and adds to his 1,200 hours in Rocket League.