The Japanese launch of Phantasy Star Universe for the PC and PlayStation 2 was beset by connection issues, corrupted character data, and other problems. The glitches were so prevalent that Sega actually shut the game's servers down for a few days and reset the clocks on users' 30-day free trials.
Now the game is set to arrive in the US on the PC, PS2, and Xbox 360 later this month, and it appears as if Sega is trying to ensure a smoother launch for the game, particularly on its new console. The Xbox Live Marketplace is now host to a downloadable beta test of the Xbox 360 version's online multiplayer mode, which will be available only until Sunday, October 15, according to Sega.
In the beta test, players will be able to create their characters and play the game with up to five others. Only Xbox Live Gold subscribers will be able to participate, and there is a cap on how many people can be playing the game at any given time. (Xbox Live Silver subscribers will be able to play the final game so long as they pay the game's $9.99 monthly subscription fee.) The beta test period will run until midnight on Wednesday, October 18.
Phantasy Star Universe is rated T for Teen and will be released October 24. The PS2 and PC versions of the game will retail for $49.99, with the Xbox 360 edition selling for $59.99.