Time to sacrifice your bandwidth on the altar of public testing once more, especially if you like battle royale shooters. Right now, anyone with a Battle.net account can download the Call Of Duty: Black Ops 4 Blackout beta, due to open tomorrow at 10am Pacific (6pm BST). Those who preordered the game can start playing today, but if you've more time than money there's another option.
Want to get into the beta right now? After linking your Battle.net and Twitch.tv accounts, tune into one of four approved Twitch streamers - Ninja, Shroud, Summit1G or TimTheTatman - between 10am PT (6pm BST) and 2pm PT (10pm BST) and stick around for an hour. You can find the full details here, and the beta will end after the weekend - 10am PT on Monday, September 17th.
While I am neither a fan of the battle royale formula or Call Of Duty's slick-but-twitchy brand of shooting, some trustworthy folks have told me that Blackout - Codblops 4's battle royale mode - is a remarkably good time. Rather than adhere to the almost-realistic, pseudo-tactical format of other games in the sub-genre, Blackout's map is full of gadgets, gizmos and aerial vehicles. There's even a few zombies in there, because why not?
While not my cup of tea, I can see this being a big hit over the weekend. While PUBG Corp and Epic seem locked in an enormous mega-budget stalemate, if there's any company that could shake up the battle royale scene through sheer force of marketing dollars, it's Activision. Plus, even grumpy and slow old me has to admit that Call Of Duty's gunplay is immediately gratifying - the FPS equivalent of gorging on sugary popcorn. While Blackout still isn't going to sell me on Black Ops 4 (given its lack of a solo campaign) this seems likely to be well populated for some years to come.
You can preload the Blackout beta on Battle.net right now, and at the time of writing, the special promo streams above are just about to start. Check out the details here. And if you've preordered, you're probably playing right now anyway, so it's unlikely that you're reading this.