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Black Ops Cold War: Early Access Guide And How To Play Early On PS4, Xbox One And PC

The hype surrounding Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War is slowly but surely building to fever pitch levels!

As more and more details about the new game appear on what seems to be a daily basis, Call of Duty fans are patiently waiting September 9th, the date of the worldwide multiplayer reveal for Black Ops Cold War.

With the Open Beta scheduled to go live in October, there may be opportunities for players to get a chance to get hands-on with the game BEFORE the beta goes live.

In this guide, find out how to play the game early and how to make sure you’re ready for the full release in November.

How To Play The Game Early

Black Ops Cold War Alpha
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BACK IN BLACK: Players are already playing Black Ops Cold War

An Invite To The Alpha

The closed alpha for Black Ops Cold War appears to be taking place right now! With plenty of pro players and popular content creators testing out several new features of the game, including new game mode VIP, a new create-a-class system, and a new weapon arsenal featuring some iconic Black Ops Weapons.

For those looking to get an invitation to participate in the alpha, keep your eyes peeled on your emails and you may be one of the lucky few!

The Open Beta

For those that don’t manage to get an invitation to the alpha, there is still one more opportunity to jump into the multiplayer action before the November 13th release date.

The Open Beta is a chance for everyone to play Black Ops Cold War before its full release. The beta often offers the player a small slice of the full multiplayer experience and provides the developers essential feedback on what needs to be tweaked ahead of release.

There are a number of ways to access the beta. The first is to pre-order any of the three digital editions of Black Ops Cold War. This will give you access to the beta when it goes live. The second way is to get lucky from a giveaway. Securing a code this way means you don’t have to part ways with your hard-earned cash and pre-order the game.

How To Access Black Ops Cold War Before Launch

Black Ops Cold War Pre-Load
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Early Pre-Load: Load the game early to avoid lengthy download times!

There’s nothing worse than receiving your copy of the game and waiting hours for it to download and copy onto your console. There is a way of avoiding those pesky download times, meaning you can load straight into the game when it launches.

Digital Pre-Order

By pre-ordering the game digitally, you can pre-load the game so it is ready to go as soon as the clock strikes midnight.

In order to start the pre-load, pre-order the game through the in-game store or the console stores and a few weeks before the release of the game, the game should begin to download so it’s ready to play as soon as November 13th comes around!

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Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War Alpha Confirms Popular Feature Is Back After Being Removed in Modern Warfare

The Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War Alpha is live on PS4 and the PS4 only. And this isn't changing. While the Beta is coming to Xbox One and PC after a brief PS4 exclusivity period, the Alpha is limited to the PS4 as a result of a marketing deal between PlayStation and Activision. Right now, the jury is still out on the game's multiplayer. There's a lot of praise, but there's also a lot of criticism, particularly about sniping and red dot abuse.

That said, one thing about the Alpha everyone is thrilled to see is the return of a feature controversially cut by 's Call of Duty: Modern Warfare: map voting. That's right, map voting is back. Previously, there were reports the feature was back, but this is our first confirmation.

Of course, it's possible the feature could be removed or tweaked before launch, but with only a minority of complaints about it, this is hard to imagine.

As you would expect, most players are happy, but not all. Some have brought up a valid complaint about the feature, which is that it can lead to the same maps being played over and over again. And this is unfortunate if you like one of the less popular maps.

Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War is set to release worldwide on November 13 via the PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X, Xbox Series S, and PC.


For more coverage on the game and all things Call of Duty -- including the most recent news, rumors, updates, and leaks -- click here.

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Fortunately, the alpha will be followed by a beta period just few weeks later. The Call of Duty Black Ops: Cold War open beta will begin on Oct. 8 on the PS4, which is again getting the beta before any other platform. In order to access the early access beta on Oct. on the PS4, you’ll need to pre-order the game on the PS4 or PS5. The PS4 open beta will begin on Oct. The Xbox and PC early access betas will be open to those who pre-order the game on those platforms on Oct. Everyone else get access to the open beta on Oct.

Here’s a full breakdown of the dates:

Call of Duty Black Ops Cold War Open Beta/Early Access info poster

While Activision didn’t share more details about what will be playable during the beta, it’s safe to say that it will focus on the multiplayer aspect of the game. A mix of Team Deathmatch, Search & Destroy, Domination, and Kill Confirmed are probably your best bet, although Cold War is also introducing a few new match types to the mix. New modes include the 6v6 objective-based VIP Escort, the 12v12 large-scale mode Combined Arms, and the player multi-team mode Fireteam.

The game, which is being developed by Treyarch and Raven Software, will also feature a single-player campaign and a co-op Zombies mode.

Cold War continues the story of the very first Black Ops game, which saw US operatives deal with a Russian threat in the days leading up to the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. The new game, which is set in the s, will have to reckon with the tail end of the Cold War. Returning characters include Alex Mason and Frank Woods from the first game as well as the debut of Ronald Reagan in the Call of Duty franchise.

“Nothing is ever as it seems in a gripping single-player campaign, where players will come face-to-face with historical figures and hard truths, as they battle around the globe through iconic locales like East Berlin, Vietnam, Turkey, Soviet KGB headquarters and more,” reads the campaign’s description.

I played BLACK OPS COLD WAR ALPHA for the first time and I feel warmth inside again

Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War alpha release time, access explained

The Black Ops Cold War alpha was a surprise announcement during this week's PS5 September showcase, showing off a new trailer as well as news of hands-on access to multiplayer this week.

This isn't new for Call of Duty or PlayStation - with an alpha for Modern Warfare's Gunpoint taking place last year.

This page explains Black Ops Cold War alpha times and alpha access for the weekend ahead.

On this page:

Black Ops Cold War alpha release times and dates: When does the Black Ops Cold War alpha start?

The Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War alpha is available for one weekend, exclusively for PS4 players.

The Black Ops Cold War alpha dates are Friday, September 18th to Sunday, September 20th, with the following start and end times:

  • UK: 6pm (BST)
  • Europe: 7pm (CEST)
  • East Coast US: 1pm (EDT)
  • West Coast US: 10am (PDT)

The good news is there's a pre-load available ahead of time, allowing you to get playing right away


Black Ops Cold War alpha pre-load times

As well as the above start times, you can also start downloading the alpha early so you're ready to play as soon as it launches.

The Black Ops Cold War alpha pre-load begins on Thursday, September 17th at the following start times:

  • UK: 4pm (BST)
  • Europe: 5pm (CEST)
  • East Coast US: 11am (EDT)
  • West Coast US: 8am (PDT)

The download is 25GB, according to publisher Activision - so you know exactly how much room to clear ahead of time.

Black Ops Cold War alpha access explained

Unlike the upcoming Black Ops Cold War beta, there's no need to pre-order to gain access - the Black Ops Cold War alpha will be freely accessible for all PS4 users. All you need to do is download.

The Black Ops Cold War alpha is available through Modern Warfare or Warzone's menus, with the "Alpha menu blade" allowing you to download and then access the game.

Also, as with last year's Gunpoint alpha, you don't need a PlayStation Plus subscription to play, either (unless you live in Germany).

There is no Xbox One or PC alpha test coming - that'll have to wait until the Black Ops Cold War beta to get your first hands-on experience.

What's featured in the Black Ops Cold War alpha?

The Black Ops Cold War alpha is focused on multiplayer, with confirmation of the following ahead of the pre-load arriving:

  • 6v6 modes Team Deathmatch, Domination, Kill Confirmed
  • 12v12 mode Combined Arms - Dominion, a "vehicle-inclusive twist on traditional Domination, set in larger maps compared to the game's traditional 6v6 play spaces"
  • 6v6 maps Miami, Satellite
  • 12v12 maps Armada, Crossroads
  • Ability to try out Create-a-Class and Scorestreaks

Additionally, participating in the alpha will reward players with a Calling Card which will be accessible in Modern Warfare, Warzone and (on release) Black Ops Cold War.

Once the weekend is over and done with, the next stop is the Black Ops Cold War beta in October.

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War xbox one alpha cold

Call of Duty®:
Black Ops Cold War

Game details

The iconic Black Ops series is back with Call of Duty®: Black Ops Cold War - the direct sequel to the original and fan-favorite Call of Duty®: Black Ops.

Black Ops Cold War will drop fans into the depths of the Cold War’s volatile geopolitical battle of the early s. Nothing is ever as it seems in a gripping single-player Campaign, where players will come face-to-face with historical figures and hard truths, as they battle around the globe through iconic locales like East Berlin, Vietnam, Turkey, Soviet KGB headquarters and more.

As elite operatives, you will follow the trail of a shadowy figure named Perseus who is on a mission to destabilize the global balance of power and change the course of history. Descend into the dark center of this global conspiracy alongside iconic characters Woods, Mason and Hudson and a new cast of operatives attempting to stop a plot decades in the making.

Beyond the Campaign, players will bring a Cold War arsenal of weapons and equipment into the next generation of Multiplayer and Zombies experiences.

Welcome to the brink. Welcome to Call of Duty®: Black Ops Cold War.


*PS4™ owners in Germany will need a PS Plus subscription due to the game’s age rating.

PS4 owners in Japan must be at least 18 years old to use this content. The price of this content is yen (tax included). At the time of purchase, regardless of the balance of the wallet, the same amount as the content price will be paid from the credit card. The same amount as the price will be returned to the wallet of the account that purchased this content.

Actual platform availability and launch date(s) of MP Beta subject to change. See for more details. Minimum Open Beta duration is 2 days. Limited time only, while Early Access Beta Codes last, at participating retailers. Internet connection required. Online multiplayer subscription may be required.

**Call of Duty: Modern Warfare / Call of Duty: Warzone on pre-order platform required to redeem Woods Operator and Blueprint.  Sold/downloaded separately.  Must be redeemed by Nov. 13,

For more information on Call of Duty®: Black Ops Cold War, check out: and follow @Treyarch, @RavenSoftware, and @CallofDuty on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. 

© Activision Publishing, Inc. ACTIVISION, CALL OF DUTY, and CALL OF DUTY BLACK OPS, are trademarks of Activision Publishing, Inc.

For more information on Activision games, follow @Activision on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.


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Introducing Combined Arms: Domination (Available Sept )

Combined Arms: Domination is a new 12v12, vehicle-inclusive twist on traditional Domination, set in larger maps compared to the game’s traditional 6v6 play spaces.

In Combined Arms, vehicles such as Tanks, Snowmobiles, Wakerunners, and Gunboats will allow squads to bolster their firepower and mobility across these expanded environments. Like the core 6v6 Domination mode, teams will be tasked with capturing and defending multiple objectives between two initial spawn areas.

Along with traditional loadout-based firefights and Scorestreak play, Combined Arms: Domination is defined by how each squad uses the available selection of vehicles to help their team turn the tide of battle.

In the Alpha experience, Combined Arms: Domination will take place on two maps:

Map – Armada

It’s , and U.S. and Soviet forces are battling it out in the North Atlantic Ocean in search of a prototype nuclear submarine.

Competing squads will take to the high seas with skirmishes on multiple ships, utilizing ziplines, rappel lines, and various seacraft to navigate the rough waters below.

The central ship is a hotspot for combat of all forms, from CQB battles in control stations, to sniper duels with adjacent ships, to aquatic warfare that may take place below the surface. Be sure to explore every nook and cranny of the map to discover new entryways to each objective point, and keep your head on a swivel.


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