It's the date you've all been waiting for...
Microsoft Game Studios and Bungie Studios have officially confirmed the multiplayer beta of Halo 3 will debut to audiences worldwide via Xbox Live on 16 May at 1pm GMT and run though to 7 June 7.59am GMT.
The beta will be the first opportunity gamers have to get their hands on the new levels (Snowbound, High Ground and Valhalla), weapons (the 'Brute Spiker', 'Spartan Laser', 'Spike Grenades' and a new, improved assault rifle), vehicles (incl. the Mongoose ATV) and games types and – naturally – also provide Bungie with valuable data as the game inches towards its autumn release.
Three possible entry routes await eager beta testers though two – register at www.halo3.com and qualify and register as part of the 'Rule of Three' programme – are now closed. A third: purchase Crackdown remains open to Xbox 360 owners with a hard drive and a valid Live Gold subscription.
Before the more capitalistic among you ask: no, invitations cannot be transferred and are not redeemable for cash!
In related news if you missed out/refused to splash out on Crackdown for beta testing, Bungie has released a new multiplayer video of Halo 3 which you can check out here. Trust me though; it will only make you feel worse...