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Fallout 76 beta begins Oct. 23 on Xbox One

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PC and PS4 to follow a week later

Fallout 76’s beta will kick off Oct. 23 on Xbox One, publisher Bethesda Softworks announced Thursday.

The company will open up the beta to customers on PlayStation 4 and Windows PC one week later, on Oct. 30. Bethesda previously announced that it would release the beta on Xbox One first.

Although the beta is going live only 22 days before Fallout 76’s Nov. 14 release date, Bethesda said Thursday in a post on its website that the company intends for it to be a true beta, with a plan to “stress test and break the game.” As such, the game’s servers will not be available all the time during the beta — developer Bethesda Game Studios will run the servers for limited windows in an effort to maximize player counts. (Fallout 76 is an online-only multiplayer game.)

“Focusing as many players as we can into these windows is our prime objective,” the studio said, noting that the servers might be live for four to eight hours on any given day. “Then we’ll fix what we need to fix and do it again and again from the start of B.E.T.A. until a few days before launch.”

Known as the Break-It Early Test Application (get it?), the Fallout 76 beta will be available only to pre-order customers. Users will also need a Bethesda.net account to play, since that’s where they’ll have to enter their beta key. Note that the PC version of Fallout 76 will be available exclusively through the Bethesda launcher — not Steam, at least not initially. PS4 and Xbox One customers will need an active PlayStation Plus or Xbox Live Gold subscription, respectively, to play the beta (and the full game).

In preparation for the full beta, Bethesda has already begun limited stress tests with select players. While those sessions are private, there will be no restrictions on the beta itself: Beta testers will be able to stream the game and post gameplay videos as much as they want. Bethesda describes the beta as the “full version” of the game — it will weigh in at approximately 45 GB, with no plans for preload availability at the moment — and the game’s FAQ says that the studio’s “current plan” is to allow players to carry over their progress in the beta into the final product.

For many more details on the Fallout 76 beta, check out the FAQ on Bethesda’s website and our everything-we-know post. You can also watch the game’s opening cinematic, which Bethesda posted Thursday, above.