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Anthem's Open Demo Is Now Live

Heads up, BioWare fans. The Anthem open demo is now live, which means the public at large can now experience a few story missions, activities, and Javelin types on PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One.

The closed VIP demo, which took place last weekend, didn't go as well as either BioWare or EA had hoped. There were a lot of issues and bugs present at the start, though to BioWare's credit, the team got most of the problems fixed by the time the demo's second day rolled around. Now that the game is open to more than just pre-order customers and EA/Origin Access subscribers, you might expect the additional strain to present some new concerns. But we're happy to report that the Anthem demo loaded up and put us right into Fort Tarsis without a hitch.

So that is pretty great news. What's not so great, however, is the super confusing layered launch Anthem will experience in the weeks ahead.

EA released a rather confusing chart that attempts to explain when exactly certain customers will gain access to the full Anthem experience. And we can't help but agree with the Kotaku position that this weird rollout is going to do more harm than good to the game's launch. Part of the fun that comes with a shared world experience like Anthem is jumping in with friends, completing the campaign with friends, and exploring the game's universe. Together. At the same time.

But Anthem will grant certain players early access — a week before the game's official release date — if they're subscribed to one of EA's services.

Players on the entry tier of EA or Origin Access will get 10 hours of free playtime on Feb. 15. That's the case even if they haven't pre-ordered any version of the game. Those who subscribe to Origin Access Premier will get to play Anthem fully, without limits, on that same date. Meanwhile, those who've pre-ordered a physical or digital version of Anthem will have to wait until Feb. 22 to join everyone else. And that includes those who've pre-ordered the $79.99 Legion of Dawn edition.

To recap: those who are paying between $60 and $80 for the full Anthem game don't get to play until a week after those who are paying between $5 and $15 for EA or Origin Access. That seems a little unfair on its face. But it's the staggered launch that is more worrying. If a bunch of players are already going to be a week behind their friends by the time Anthem launches at retail, they might just skip out on the game. And for this type of game, where player retention is so important, that's a risky gamble.

We'll see how things go when Anthem arrives for some on Feb. 15, and for everyone else on Feb. 22.