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Elite: Dangerous opens up 'premium beta' to 10,000 more players

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A $150 "premium beta" will offer access to Elite: Dangerous for 10,000 more people, studio Frontier Developments announced.

The premium beta phase began on Friday with all of the major features that were added to Elite: Dangerous in its four preceding alpha phases. Participation in the premium beta is available, and it costs $150. Buying in will give a player a lifetime expansion pack as well. There are more details at this link.The immediate focus is 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," Frontier Developments said in a news release.

The 10,000 new players will be trading, pirating and bounty hunting in five different star systems covering 200 cubic light years of space.

"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," Frontier CEO David Braben, creator of the game and of predecessors Elite and Frontier, said in the announcement.

Elite: Dangerous will be the fourth installment in the Elite series. It is expected to launch at the end of 2014 on Windows PC.