Call of Duty Black Ops IIII multiplayer beta gives PS4 fans the first go

Ready to take on hordes of cybernetic-enhanced soldiers? Your wait is almost over – Activision and Treyarch have just taken the wraps off of the first private multiplayer beta session for Call of Duty Black Ops IIII that will take place starting on August 3 and run until August 6 at 10 am PT / 1 pm ET / 5 pm GMT. 

Exciting as it may be to return to the battlefield, this warzone is VIP-only: This session is only available to those folks who have pre-ordered the game and plan on playing it on PS4. Sorry, Xbox One owners. 

For everyone else, the second session of the multiplayer beta will run August 10 until August 13 at 10 am PT / 5 pm GMT and will be open to both Xbox One and PS4 players. Not to be left behind, PC players will have their own dedicated open beta starting on August 11 that also runs until mid-day on August 13.

All of this is for the basic multiplayer mode. If you're eager to play Blackout – Call of Duty's take on the new battle royale genre – you'll have to wait until September. The beta for Blackout will first be available for PS4 players, just like the general multiplayer beta, but will eventually open up to include Xbox gamers, too.

Fall in, soldier

Betas traditionally serve as stress tests for game servers – allowing devs to know just how much rack space they'll have to allocate when a game launches. Considering this is the fourth Treyarch-made Black Ops game, it's unlikely that the veteran studio is using this as a server stress test and more than likely an opportunity to catch last-minute bugs and plug the game before its early October launch.

That being said, the private beta does provide a nice opportunity to go hands on with the game before launch – usually allowing players to keep any rewards they've earned going forward. A small victory, surely.

We're most interested in Blackout, the first battle royale mode in an established franchise like Call of Duty, to see how much Treyarch has lifted from competitors like Fortnite and PUBG. The announcement of Blackout excited and upset in equal measure with some crying fowl. But hey, all's fair in love and war, right? 

Call of Duty Black Ops IIII comes out on PS4, Xbox One and PC on October 12.