Bungie notifies Halo 3 beta entrants

"Phase one registration is now closed," says developer; e-mail acceptance letters being sent out over next few days.

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Thousands of people will be checking their mailboxes furiously over the next few days, and the lucky will get a letter and rush up to their parents screaming, "I got in! I got in!" However, the parents won't be bragging to their friends that their child got into Stanford or Yale; they'll be flaunting the fact that their offspring got to try out the Man Cannon before millions of others.

Bungie has begun notifying qualified gamers that they have gotten into the highly coveted Halo 3 multiplayer beta test, which gets under way this spring. The acceptance letter simply says, "Congratulations (recipient's name) you have been chosen to participate in the Halo 3 beta." The letter then reiterates that participants must have an Xbox 360 with a hard drive and a valid Xbox Live Gold subscription and that more information will be sent out soon.

Yesterday, the developer also sent out e-mails to everyone who successfully signed up for the beta, saying that "Phase one registration is now closed" and that those who were accepted will be getting an e-mail notification over the next few days.

There are still two more ways gamers can enter the beta: by qualifying for the "Rule of Three" program beginning February 1 and by purchasing specially marked boxes of Crackdown, which goes on sale February 20. Bungie has also updated the Halo 3 Web site with the same information.

Entrepreneurs have already begun taking advantage of online auctions, with postings now springing up for copies of Crackdown that include the Halo 3 MP beta key on eBay. Bungie and Microsoft haven't announced how many copies of Crackdown will have the beta key, but at least one auctioneer is betting it won't be many--he or she is asking almost $87 for a specially marked copy of the game.

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