New Halo 3 beta entry paths revealed

Routes for gamers to play Halo 3 early include specially marked boxes of Crackdown, upcoming "Rule of Three" program.

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Bungie Studios may be known to be obsessed with the number seven, but three seems to be the magic number for entry into the Halo 3 beta entry program. The third chapter of the franchise is headed to the Xbox 360 sometime later this year, but Bungie and Microsoft Game Studios are giving some lucky gamers three chances to help test out the multiplayer portion of the game when the Halo 3 beta program launches this spring.

Previously, the only confirmed method for gamers to be selected for the highly coveted testing period was to register at the Halo 3 Web site and hope fortune smiled upon them. Those who entered through this method and were accepted will be notified through e-mail this month, Bungie said today.

Recently, scans from the February issue of gaming magazine GamePro showed an ad for the upcoming Xbox 360 game Crackdown with the phrase "Includes invitation to Halo 3 multiplayer beta." At the time, Microsoft could not confirm the information, saying only that details would be announced at a later time.

Well, that "later time" was today. Microsoft confirmed that specially marked boxes of Crackdown will include Halo 3 beta keys. Crackdown will be available in North America on February 20.

The final way to get into the beta test is through the "Rule of Three" program. From February 1-3, gamers in the US who play three hours of Halo 2 over Xbox Live will qualify for entry. The first 13,333 gamers who have played Halo 2 over Xbox Live during the specified time period and who register at the Halo 3 Web site will be entered into the beta program. Gamers outside of the US should stay tuned for details on the "Rule of Three" program in their regions.

Only gamers with an Xbox 360 and a valid Xbox Live Gold membership will be considered for the program. For more information on Halo 3, read GameSpot's previous coverage.

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