The concept of having a year early beta, especially for a major title, is something that hasn't been done often. But now it's a little more common.
The companies can fix problems in the game before it actually releases so we avoid the problems of games like GTA Online. The gameplay can be fine-tuned, balanced and made overall better when its developed openly rather than in an isolated bubble.
It totally takes away the surprise factor. It's like knowing what you're gonna get next year for Christmas. That feeling of playing it for the first time is gone.