How to join and play the Grounded Early Access or Game Preview on Xbox and PC

Grounded Xbox One
Grounded Xbox One (Image credit: Microsoft / Obsidian Entertainment)

Obsidian Entertainment is a massive studio that builds some of the best games around, but not all of its games are humongous AAA affairs like The Outer Worlds. Its newest project is Grounded, a passion project from a small team of 13 talented developers that is literally smaller than other games, It shrinks the player down to the size of an ant and has them working to survive in a tumultuous world. It's a unique take on the survival genre, and the team behind it wants the community to help develop the game, with feedback and suggestions take while in development.

To make this happen, Grounded has an Early Access and Game Preview version that anyone can play. Here's how you can join and play Grounded early.

What is the Early Access and Game Preview for Grounded?

Grounded Bow

Source: Microsoft / Obsidian Entertainment (Image credit: Source: Microsoft / Obsidian Entertainment)

Grounded is an ambitious project from a rather small team, so turning to the community for feedback is a great way to ensure the game is as awesome as possible when it comes out. It also helps the team decide what features and mechanics they should prioritize when developing the game.

Developers then release a game in early access, which usually means releasing the game in an unfinished state specifically to get community feedback.

To make it easier for prospective players to get in on the ground floor wherever they happen to play, Grounded has two early access options. The first is Early Access through Steam, the largest storefront for PC gaming, while the other brings Grounded to us through the Xbox Game Preview program on Xbox and PC. This makes sense, as Grounded is an Xbox Game Studios title, and Microsoft has recently committed to bringing more of its first-party games to PC as well as Xbox.

How can I join the Early Access or Game Preview for Grounded?


Source: Microsoft / Obsidian Entertainment (Image credit: Source: Microsoft / Obsidian Entertainment)

Joining the Grounded Early Access or Game Preview programs is incredibly easy, and depends mostly on where you play your games. If you play on Xbox One or PC through Microsoft, all you need to do is either purchase Grounded's Game Preview from the Microsoft Store (opens in new tab) on or after July 28, 2020, or be subscribed to Xbox Game Pass, where Grounded's Game Preview will be included at no additional cost.

PC players can find Grounded early access on Steam where they can purchase it. Again, if you play on PC, and aren't picky about where you buy your games, Grounded's Game Preview will also work on PC, and be included in Xbox Game Pass for PC as well!

Grounded's Early Access or Game Preview costs $30, throughout its pre-release window.

When does it all go live?

Grounded became available globally at 1PM ET (US) / 6PM BST (UK), accessible via Xbox Game Pass on July 28, 2020. See it in the store over here (opens in new tab).

What should I know about the Early Access and Game Preview for Grounded?

Grounded Spider Sneaking

Source: Microsoft / Obsidian Entertainment (Image credit: Source: Microsoft / Obsidian Entertainment)

Of course, there's more to Grounded's Early Access and Game Preview than just "how to join," so we've compiled some of the most commonly asked questions and given you all the information you need.


According to Grounded, the Early Access and Game Preview program includes the following game features:

  • Roughly 20% of the full storyline
  • Three major biomes: the grasslands, the hedge, and the haze
  • Crafting
  • Base building
  • Single-player and online co-op play
  • First two tiers of weapons and armor
  • At least 10 insects
  • Arachnophobia mode

The team behind Grounded will constantly add new content to the game as they collect feedback from the community, so of course, this list is absolutely subject to change in the future.

How long will the Early Access and Game Preview last?

There's no definitive date as of yet, but Grounded's Early Access and Game Preview programs should continue right up until the game is fully released. Obsidian Entertainment has promised they want to keep the community constantly updated, and will provide its best guesses, with the understanding that plans can change further down the line.

How will Obsidian Entertainment involve the community?

It's imperative that Obsidian is able to hear the voices of its community loud and clear, so there will be a variety of ways Grounded's team will update testers and collect feedback. You can check out its website the development blog, Discord server, monthly dev diaries, or Twitter.

Are you planning to join the Grounded Early Access or Game Preview?

What other questions do you need answers to? Let us know in the comments below!



Zachary Boddy
Staff Writer

Zachary Boddy (They / Them) is a Staff Writer primarily focused on covering the latest news, the best Xbox and PC games, and the most interesting hardware. They have been gaming and writing for most of their life, and have been with Windows Central and its sister sites since 2019. While originally brought on to write about all things Minecraft, Zachary has since expanded to write about practically everything that Windows Central covers. You can find Zachary on Twitter @BoddyZachary.

  • Oh, I thought this was going to be some kind of open beta and was up to giving it a try. I'm not paying to be a beta tester, so I'll pass.
  • Most of the new games on Steam are like that now. You can get Xbox Game Pass for PC for the price of a Starbucks coffee per month which will give you access to this as well as many other great games. If you have an Xbox, the Ultimate version would be the way to go.
  • Does your Game Preview progress carry over to the final game?..
  • We're not sure about that, but that's definitely a question worth asking! We'll do some digging.
  • Actualy thought the final full game would be out tomorrow. I'll still be giving it a try!