Did you miss a session from GamesBeat Summit Next 2022? All sessions are now available for viewing in our on-demand library. Click here to start watching.

The Red Dead Online beta is live … sort of. Rockstar Games launched a test version of its multiplayer cowboy sim today for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. But you can only get into it if you own the Ultimate Version of Red Dead Redemption 2. Rockstar is bringing everyone else into the beta through different tiers throughout this week.

Here’s how Rockstar explains those tiers on its website:

  • Tuesday, November 27th: All Red Dead Redemption 2: Ultimate Edition owners. Please note, players who purchased the physical Ultimate Edition must redeem the Ultimate Edition code in the packaging to be eligible.
  • Wednesday, November 28th: All players who played Red Dead Redemption 2 on October 26th according to our data.
  • Thursday, November 29th: All players who played Red Dead Redemption 2 between October 26th and October 29th according to our data.
  • Friday, November 30th: All players who own Red Dead Redemption 2.

I got a code from Rockstar, and the online mode says it is locked. So I’m guessing I don’t have the Ultimate Edition. And I also can’t remember if I played on launch day or not. So I’m just gonna have to check back each day this week before I can start playing.

And I’m not the only one who is confused or encountering problems. As it turns out, Red Dead Online’s beta is definitely a beta.

Beta problems

Some people who own the Ultimate Edition can’t get into Red Dead Online

Xbox One players claim the beta isn’t working at all. That’s definitely not the case. Some Red Dead Redemption 2: Ultimate Edition owners on Xbox One are getting into the beta, but many are not. Plenty of people claim that they own the Ultimate version are just seeing a screen that says “Coming Soon” for Red Dead Online.

Those problems pale in comparison to the PC release, however, because it turns out that version doesn’t even exist!

Bugs and crashes

While I wasn’t able to get in, my colleague and GamesBeat lead writer Dean Takahashi was able to start up Red Dead Online. He got through the intro, and then the multiplayer mode crashed on him.

He was not the only one having that issue. Other players are reporting that they got through early missions, and then the game would freeze or crash.

Connection problems

When people aren’t encountering bugs, some are getting warnings that the server has disconnected. This is manifesting even after some people get online and start doing missions. This is leaving people in situations where they finish quests and then get booted due to a connection error. And it’s possible that those players will have to replay those missions.

So yeah — it’s a beta

I’ve reached out to Rockstar for a comment on the issues, and I’ll update this story when it responds. For now, however, all of these issues are typical for the first day of an online game. That’s especially true for an online product that is launching in beta.

People are slamming the servers and uncovering bugs, and Rockstar will likely smooth these issues out over the coming days.

This is exactly what happened with GTA Online when it launched shortly after the release of Grand Theft Auto V. But in the case of GTA Online, its issues were even more catastrophic.

Hopefully, the developer will get everyone online for simulated cowboy fun by the end of the week.

GamesBeat's creed when covering the game industry is "where passion meets business." What does this mean? We want to tell you how the news matters to you -- not just as a decision-maker at a game studio, but also as a fan of games. Whether you read our articles, listen to our podcasts, or watch our videos, GamesBeat will help you learn about the industry and enjoy engaging with it. Discover our Briefings.