How and when you can start playing Anthem

Wondering if you can finally play Anthem? We break down how access works

Anthem Hands-on Preview

A trend has emerged in the video game industry in recent years: Multiple release dates. Singular launch dates have been replaced by early access periods due to pre-orders, special editions, and subscription services.

Anthem, the upcoming live service game from BioWare, is a prime example of this trend. The advertised release date of Anthem is February 22 on PS4, Xbox One, and PC. And while that’s the first day you’ll see the game on store shelves, many will get to play it earlier. Some folks have already played Anthem. It’s understandably confusing, and EA even released a chart to detail when and how you can jump into Anthem. But even with a chart, there’s still some confusion because, well, the chart is somewhat misleading.

So, if you’re intrigued by Anthem but cannot figure out when you can actually start playing, let’s break it down for you.

Everyone can play the demo right now

Anthem Hands-on Preview

While last weekend’s VIP demo locked down the player pool to only those who pre-ordered Anthem, this weekend’s open demo is available to everyone. Starting February 1 at 9 a.m. PT, users can download the Anthem demo from the PlayStation Store, Microsoft Store, and EA Origin. The demo runs until February 3. On consoles, the demo is 26GB and the PC version is 44GB.

The only restriction to the demo is that you need an active Xbox Live Gold or PlayStation Plus subscription to partake in the weekend activities. The demo includes two story missions, a section of the map that you can explore, and a Stronghold event. The Stronghold event is four-player co-op only, but the rest of the demo can be enjoyed solo.

In the demo, you start at level 10 as a Ranger Javelin. When you reach level 12, you can pick one of the three other classes of Javelins to try (Interceptor, Storm, Colossus). The demo caps at level 15.

If you participated in the VIP demo, the can continue where you left off. Demo progress does not transfer to the full game, though.

Origin Access Premier members can play the full game on February 15

Origin Access Premier members gain access to the full Anthem game on February 15. This is a PC only opportunity, though. Origin Access Premier subscriptions cost $15 per month or $100 per year and grant access to a large library of EA games.

Origin Access Basic members can play the first 10 hours starting February 15

Anthem Hands-on Preview

Origin Access Basic subscribers can play a 10 hour trial of Anthem starting February 15 on both Xbox One and PC. Origin Access Basic costs $5 per month or $30 per year. However, you can get a one month trial for just a buck if you want to give Anthem a go early. You’ll still have to buy Anthem on February 22 like the rest of us, as Origin Access Basic doesn’t give you full access to the game at launch. Progress made during the trial period does transfer to the full game.

Everyone can buy Anthem on February 22

Anthem Hands-on Preview

February 22, the official launch day of Anthem, is when everyone will be able to buy a regular ‘ole copy from brick and mortar retailers as well as through the PlayStation Store, Microsoft Store, and EA Origin.

We had the chance to check out Anthem at a preview event and came away quite impressed. No matter when you wind up entering your Javelin, it seems like BioWare has cooked up an action experience that will delight many.

Product Review

Anthem shows a glimmer of brilliance that's quickly dampened by its grind

Anthem is an online shooter from BioWare that’s already proven to have a stunning open-world with action-packed combat that distinguishes itself with its story, characters, and lore. But will it continue to invest in those things as we…

Want to play as Iron Man or Waluigi in GTA V? Our favorite mods make it possible

Grand Theft Auto V is best on the PC for many reasons, and modifications may be the most important. You can cause riots, spawn unique cars, and play as a cop with just a few extra files.

Battle royale-style Tetris 99 is the first Nintendo Switch Online-exclusive game

If you want to play online multiplayer on Switch, you'll need a Nintendo Switch Online subscription. Here's what you need to know about Nintendo Switch Online, from price to features to the awesome library of NES games.

You're never too broke to enjoy the best free-to-play games

Believe it or not, free-to-play games have evolved into engaging, enjoyable experiences. Here are a few of our favorites that you can play right now, including Warframe and the perennially popular League of Legends.

Xbox-exclusive games could find a second home on Nintendo Switch

Microsoft is reportedly set to release some of its first-party games on Nintendo Switch, as well as the Xbox Game Pass and Project xCloud services. Cross-play between Switch and Xbox One is already enabled.

Transform into a tetromino master with our Tetris 99 tips and tricks

Tetris 99 is the latest battle royale game to stir up quite a bit of commotion. The Nintendo Switch Online exclusive adds a few new unexplained quirks to the Tetris formula. We've got you covered with our Tetris 99 tips and tricks.

Metro Exodus update brings DLSS improvements to Nvidia RTX 20-series PCs

Having issues in Metro Exodus? A February 21 update for the title recently delivered enhancements to Nvidia’s deep learning supersampling feature and other fixes for low-specced PCs. 

Need to perform a factory reset on your Xbox One console? Here's how to do it

Whether you're upgrading to a One X and giving your old console to a friend, or troubleshooting a technical issue, sometimes your Xbox One needs a clean slate. Here's our quick guide on how to factory reset an Xbox One.

The best PUBG weapons to win you that coveted chicken dinner

Which weapons in PUBG are worth the time to scout out and fit with attachments? Which are going to help you become the last player standing? We've got the answers you need in our best PUBG weapons guide.

Here's where Xur is and what he has for wares this week in Destiny 2: Forsaken

The weekly vendor in Destiny 2: Forsaken always brings Exotic weapons and armor, some of the toughest loot to find in the game. Here's everything you need to know to track down Xur: Where he is, when he shows up, and what he's stocking.

Walmart slices prices on PS4 DualShock 4 controllers just in time for Anthem

The standard black PS4 controller is what usually comes with the console itself, but if you want to add something a bit more customized your gaming experience, Walmart is offering a wide variety of colorful DualShock 4 controllers at…

How you can give your PS4 a fresh start with a factory reset

Learn the many ways you can factory reset your PS4. From reverting your settings to factory to doing a full wipe and reinstalling the latest PlayStation firmware, we cover it all here, step by step.

Here's everything you need to know to trade with friends in Pokémon Go

After literally years of waiting, Pokémon Go finally gives trainers the option to trade Pokémon with others. It's not easy, though, and the cost is quite high if you try trading with strangers.

Here's what you need to know about World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth

World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth is the latest expansion for the now 14-year-old MMORPG. It goes back to the roots of the Alliance vs. Horde conflict. Here's what you need to know.