The Reach Multiplayer Beta is officially just two days away but with all the recent commotion around "friends and family" codes and what seems like the entire world (except for you) playing early, there are a lot of questions and some confusion arising in the community. Let's see if we can provide some answers so you can get back to enjoying your weekend.
When does the Beta officially begin?
ODST owners will be able to access the Reach beta "late morning" PDT on Monday, May 3rd. Just put your ODST campaign disc in and select the Reach Beta menu option.
"Late morning?" Can't you tell us the exact time?
Late morning (Pacific Daylight Time) is as exact as we can get right now. As soon as the switch is flipped and the beta is active, we'll be sure to spread the word.
If the beta doesn't start until Monday then why is everyone else already playing?
This weekend there are some people playing the Reach Beta as part of what has been dubbed the "Friends and Family" early beta. Over the past few days Bungie and tons of community sites and media sites have given away codes all across the web. In addition, MGS has issued codes to various partners and retailers. Ultimately this amounts to thousands of people but it's still a drop in the bucket compared to the amount of people expected to join beginning on Monday. The purpose for this early access is to allow us to work out any kinks and knock off the dust before the flood gates open on Monday morning. As such, it was intentionally limited to a manageable, small population.
"Small population?" Looks to me like nearly 20,000 people have been playing the Beta!
That may very well be the case given all the various programs going on out there (the two thousand or so codes Bungie gave out and then all the codes MSFT has distributed to retailers and media outlets). Twenty thousand people sounds big but compared to the few million people that could potentially all start playing as of Monday, it's a very tiny fraction of the overall beta population.
I bought ODST and I'm a huge fan of Bungie - why didn't I get a code and why do I have to wait until Monday?
The Beta was always scheduled to begin on May 3rd and that's still the case. Nothing is being taken away from you. Unfortunately there were only so many codes available for this preliminary weekend and given the enormous size of our community, only a tiny fraction could be included. We're sorry that we couldn't hook up everyone but the good news is that you won't have to wait much longer.
Is Bungie giving away anymore codes?
We are not giving away anymore codes. It's possible that some community or media sites are still giving away codes but Bungie has depleted the small stash we had. Any codes you find on Bungie.net are certainly already claimed by now so please enjoy your weekend and don't waste your time scouring the site for a left over code.
Why can't you just turn the beta on early?
Unfortunately it doesn't work that way. There's a lot happening behind the scenes with a lot more groups involved than just Bungie. We built this small test weekend into the schedule specifically to make sure Monday's launch is as smooth as possible. As soon as the switch is flipped on Monday we will spread the word.
What's this I hear about Halo 2 people getting codes for the beta?
Microsoft contacted Halo 2 players a month or so ago and informed them that they would be receiving a Reach beta code as a small token of appreciation in light of the game being decommissioned from Xbox LIVE. If you received one of these messages, you're one of those people. If you didn't, or have no idea what any of this means, don't sweat it.
I'm a huge Halo 2 fan, I've played a million games... I never got a mail from Microsoft. What gives?
Unfortunately I don't have any insights into the parameters or qualifications that warranted getting one of these emails. This was a nice gesture extended by the Xbox LIVE team and Bungie doesn't have any involvement.
Ok, I'm one of the Halo 2 people - when can I expect my code?
Microsoft has informed us that they will begin mailing out those codes on Monday May 3rd. However, please note that due to the large volume, it may take a few days to reach everyone.
As soon as the beta is live on Monday morning we will spread the word. Until then, enjoy your weekend!