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Modern Warfare 3 Beta: Start Times, Preloading, Download Size, Content and Everything You Need to Know

4 min

It’s that time of year again, folks: it’s Call of Duty beta time! This is the year of Modern Warfare 3, and we’ll be getting our hands on the next shooter very soon. There are some interesting changes to the mechanics this year, and the MW3 beta will be the perfect opportunity to test them out before launch.

The classic minimap is back, map voting is back to being a thing, movement is faster and more aligned with Modern Warfare 2019, just to name a few. Then there are the maps. Modern Warfare 3’s map lineup at launch is made up entirely of remakes of maps from the original Modern Warfare 2 (2009), which is another thing we’re going to see for ourselves in the beta.

In this feature, we’re going to cover all the information related to the beta. When you will be able to play, what content you can expect, how big the download is, when you can pre-load and much more. This story will be updated as more details are revealed.

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Modern Warfare 3 beta – Everything you need to know

If you’re a longtime Call of Duty fan, the structure and setup of the Modern Warfare 3 beta will be very familiar to you. Microsoft acquisition or not, PlayStation still takes precedence in the beta, though that arrangement may not return next year.

To begin with, let’s take a look at the confirmed dates and times when players on each platform will be able to access the beta.

Modern Warfare 3 beta start timetable – Weekend one schedule (PlayStation 4 & 5).

This opening weekend is exclusive to PlayStation, with the first part accessible via pre-order and the second part free for everyone.

  • Early access: Friday, October 6 to Saturday, October 7.
  • Open Beta: Sunday, October 8 to Tuesday, October 10.

Servers start running at 10am PT / 1pm ET / 6pm BST / 7pm CEST. Servers will also close at the same times.

Modern Warfare 3 Beta Start Time – Weekend Two Schedule (PC, Xbox, PlayStation Cross Play)

Early access for PC and Xbox begins on the second weekend, and is similarly divided into two sessions. PlayStation players can access both sessions without pre-ordering.

  • Early access: Thursday, October 12 to Friday, October 13.
  • Open Beta: Saturday, October 14 to Monday, October 16.

As with the first weekend, the servers also go live at 10 a.m. PT / 1 p.m. ET / 6 p.m. BST / 7 p.m. CEST. This is also when the beta goes offline permanently.

And here is the Modern Warfare 3 beta schedule.

How to access the Modern Warfare 3 Beta

As explained above, the Modern Warfare 3 beta will take place over two different weekends, each split into two sessions of its own. The first session of each weekend is only available to players who have pre-ordered the full game on their respective platform, before being unlocked later for everyone else.

The only guaranteed way to play the Modern Warfare 3 beta as soon as possible is to pre-order the game. If you prefer to wait, you can join the free part of each beta weekend a couple of days later. PlayStation players will get two free sessions, so that’s something to keep in mind.

In addition, content creators, media outlets and even Call of Duty’s official social channels will be distributing beta codes and hosting giveaways during the course of the beta, so it’s worth keeping an eye out.

Modern Warfare 3 PlayStation Plus, Xbox Live Gold (Game Pass Core)

To play the beta, it is not necessary to be an active PlayStation Plus or Xbox Live Gold (Game Pass Core) member. The only exception is Germany, where players will need a PlayStation Plus subscription to play on PS4 and PS5.

How to redeem your Modern Warfare 3 Beta code

Regardless of how you obtained a beta code, the way to redeem it is the same for everyone. If you pre-ordered a physical version from a store, you will be emailed an access code. This is the same code you could win in sweepstakes, etc. Look for a 13-character early access beta code.

However, people who have pre-ordered the game digitally – for example, on the PlayStation Store, Xbox Store, Steam or – will not have to do anything to play. The beta will simply be available for download once the preload goes live.

If you have a beta code, you will need to go to the beta key redemption website (note that the page has not yet been updated with information about the MW3 beta). Log in and enter the code you have been sent. The next step will ask you which platform you are going to play the beta on, and you will only have one, so choose carefully.

Once this is done, you will receive an email from Activision with your actual beta code – the one you will redeem on the platform of your choice. Normally, that email arrives within minutes, but delays have been known to occur.

You do not need a code if you intend to enter during the open beta portion.

Modern Warfare 3 Beta Pre-loading

We expect the Modern Warfare 3 beta to be available for download at least 24 hours before its release on each platform. However, it will only be available for preloading if you have access to the following session.

For example, players who want access during the free period will not be able to pre-load the beta along with those who have pre-ordered the game.

The Modern Warfare 3 beta offers our first hands-on experience with the multiplayer mode.

Modern Warfare 3 Beta Download Size

Activision has yet to confirm the download size of the Modern Warfare 3 beta, but given how similar it is to last year’s Modern Warfare 2, we have some guesses. On PS5 and Xbox X/S Series, it should be around 25-35 GB, and somewhat smaller on PC and next-gen consoles.

Modern Warfare 3 beta content

This is another thing we are awaiting clarification on. That said, we can expect an assortment of 6v6 maps, rotating core modes like Team Deathmatch, Domination and so on. Call of Duty betas usually start with a subset of maps and modes, and they are added throughout the beta weekends.

Considering that Ground Warfare and Invasion are returning, it is logical to assume that they will also be part of the Modern Warfare 3 beta.

Modern Warfare 3 beta player progression

Your player progression, i.e. weapon XP, character XP and unlocks, will not carry over to the full version of the game to be released in November. However, that progress will carry over from one weekend to the next.

Modern Warfare 3 supports cross-play and cross-progression for multiplayer, so you can start on PS5 the first weekend and launch on Xbox or PC the following weekend, provided you have access to the beta on those platforms.

Transferable content – that is, content you unlocked in Modern Warfare 2/Warzone – will not be available during the Modern Warfare 3 beta.