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Elden Ring closed network test: What is it and how to play

Fans of the Dark Souls games, or FromSoftware in general, have been eagerly awaiting the newest game from the studio. Originally planned to be released in January, we learned that Elden Ring would be pushed back to February 25. To make this news a little more palatable, the announcement was coupled with the news that players would be able to sign up for a closed-network test of the game, allowing us a chance to play the game early. As for the reason for the game’s delay, FromSoftware says, “The depth and strategic freedom of the game exceeded initial expectations. Thank you for your trust and patience.” While a delay is never fun, it does appear that the reason, as well as news of this test, will result in a more polished final product.

You’re probably wondering what the details of this closed network test are. Who can participate? When is it being held? How do I register? Thankfully, all those details have been made available right alongside the announcement of the test itself. If you’re interested in registering for a chance at getting an early look at the world of Elden Ring, here’s everything you need to know about how to play the beta.

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How to register for the closed network test, and when it will run

A man holding a torch in a spider invested cave.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

To register for a chance at participating in the closed network test, all you need to do is head over to the official Bandai website and sign up. In order to be eligible, you will need a few things. First, you need to be at least 17 years old. Second, this is a console-only test, so you will need to have either a PlayStation 4, PS5, Xbox One, or Xbox Series X or S and access to the internet.  You will need an email to register, and that’s where the code will be sent if you are selected. Finally, there will be a questionnaire post-test that you will be required to fill out. They also ask which FromSoftware games you’re familiar with, such as the Souls series, Bloodborne, and even their Armored Core games. It’s unclear how your choices here will impact your chances of being picked.

Make sure you register before November 1. This is when registration closes and no more people can enter to be selected to test. Those selected will be done at random, so as long as you register in time, you will have an equal chance of getting picked.

As for when the test itself will run, there are five planned sessions between November 12 and 14. These are:

  1. November 12 between 3 a.m. and 6 a.m. PT
  2. November 12 between 7 p.m. and 10 p.m. PT
  3. November 13 between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. PT
  4. November 14 between 3 p.m. and 6 p.m. PT
  5. November 15 between 7 p.m. and 10 p.m. PT

While you don’t need to be able to play during all these times, they do appreciate it if you could play during as much of the testing periods as possible.

Also, for all you streamers out there, you will not be permitted to livestream the game.

What is a closed network test?

A giant battle in Elden Ring.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

A network test is essentially a test to see how the game’s online functionality holds up. They are doing this to gather data and uncover problems that can be fixed prior to the game coming out. What that means for you is that this is not a finished build of Elden Ring. They specifically state that they are limiting the content available in the test, and some technical specifications will be different, too.

But, being a network test, they did state that console-specific cross-play would be available. That means players on PS4 and PS5 can play together to some capacity, as well as Xbox One and Series X or S players, but not PlayStation and Xbox players.

According to the site, those selected will get to play the opening segment of the game, so there should be no risk of spoilers.

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