The Kafka-esque world of PC beta naming schemes continues to be encapsulated by Elite: Dangerous, which says it will be moving to a standard beta phase on 29 July. That “standard” beta will set you back $75.00 USD if you want to enter it though, so perhaps it’s not terribly standard after all. In fact, it’s the opposite. It’s an unusually expensive beta.
Frontier Developments’ explanation for these high prices is that the original Kickstarter backer rewards were priced at the same levels, so making them cheaper at this point would be unfair to those early adopters. Back in the Kickstarter days, it would’ve cost 50 quid (around $85.00) to secure access to the “second round private beta,” which I guess is this one if the ‘premium beta’ counts as the first round one. That’s a commendable stance in many ways, but does leave terms like “standard beta” open to a certain amount of criticism when it’s actually a paid beta.
Anyway, this next beta stage is being hyped as a “huge release.” More details of which will be released in the upcoming weeks.
When that beta is released on 29 July, the Lifetime Expansion Pass will be withdrawn from sale. This is a $50.00 add-on that guarantees every single DLC, add-on and expansion will be free to the purchasing player for life. The true value of this pass will only be known in retrospect. It may end up being a bargain, or not really worth it, depending on how well Elite: Dangerous does.