Microsoft's next Gears of War entry drops this September and it's shaping to be an action-brimming extension for the lancer-revving shooter series. While its fabled campaign serves a new-found focus on Kate and her origins, its lineup of accompanying multiplayer modes injects fresh potential for online play. The imminent Gears 5 Tech Test serves as your first chance to play it hands-on, showcasing its "Versus" multiplayer sandbox.

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What to expect from Gears 5 Versus Tech Test

The Gears 5 Versus Technical Test is set to drop this summer, offering a sample of its revised multiplayer experience ahead of launch. Planned for Xbox One and Windows 10 PCs, the test grants two packed weekends of online action, spanning three distinct modes and two maps.

For Gears caretaker, The Coalition, the forthcoming test primarily represents an opportunity to trial its online infrastructure before release and stress test servers on two weekends. The studio also plans to improve PC optimization with collected telemetry while gathering feedback on multiplayer modes. And for you, it's the first chance to play early for free.

"Escalation" looks to be a Gears 5 Tech Test highlight, pitched as the "pinnacle objective mode" for competitive matches. The five-versus-five mode pits players over three circular objectives alongside new limited respawn and gear systems shaking up play. It joins an accessible multiplayer mode dubbed "Arcade," and the beloved classic, King of the Hill. The test will also tease upcoming features, including a dedicated Bootcamp mode for training Gears 5 newcomers.

How to play Gears 5 Tech Test

Unlike beta tests for some upcoming blockbusters, the Gears 5 Tech Test isn't open to all. Budding Xbox One and Windows 10 PC players must meet set criteria to download and play on their system. Access to the Gears 5 Tech Test accompanies any Gears 5 preorder, securing your copy ahead of the September launch. Alternatively, subscribers to Microsoft's growing assortment of Xbox Game Pass plans can join in this July.

Where to preorder Gears 5 in July 2019

Preorders are live ahead of Gears 5's debut, spanning the Gears 5 Standard Edition retailing at $60 and the top-tier Gears 5 Ultimate Edition at $80. Both grant Tech Test access while the Ultimate Edition packs four-day early access to the final game, a physical Steelbook, and exclusive items.

An order at participating retailers like Amazon pairs with a 25-digit code redeemable via Xbox Live. For Gears 5 digital purchases directly from the Microsoft Store, a license automatically ties to your Xbox account.

The Gears 5 Standard Edition at Amazon represents the best value for money, featuring the full package minus the non-essentials for diehard fans. Amazon has already discounted the game, serving as the best entry point this summer.

Which Xbox Game Pass subscription is for you?

Microsoft also extends the Gears 5 Tech Test to Xbox Game Pass, the Netflix-style subscription service for gaming. While already packing over 100 titles for a flat $10 monthly fee, subscribers can play Gears 5 multiplayer early under their existing membership. Xbox Game Pass is the cheapest route to secure your Gears 5 Tech Test access, also extending to the full launch in September.

However, with Xbox Live Gold required to play online, Xbox Game Pass Ultimate bundles three subscriptions into an all-inclusive $15-per-month bundle. Xbox Game Pass costs just $1 in July as an introductory offer, making for savings hard to ignore.

When does the Gears 5 Tech Test start?

The Gears 5 Tech Test kicks off on Friday, July 19 at 1 p.m. ET (10 a.m. PT/6 p.m. U.K.) with 36 hours of testing through July 22, 2019. The second week of multiplayer trials follows on Friday, July 26 at 1 p.m. ET (10 a.m. PT/6 p.m. U.K.) and concludes on July 29, 2019. Outside of these allocated test periods, the Gears 5 Tech Test will be unplayable on both platforms.

Microsoft also detailed plans to release the Gears 5 Tech Test client early on July 17, providing ample time to download before the Friday kickoff.

Gears 5 Tech Test exclusive rewards

The Gears 5 Tech Test provides the first taste of a "Tour of Duty," compiling a lineup of challenges to complete over the weekends. Fulfilling the checklist unlocks the "Tech Test Banner," available exclusively during the period and transferring to the final game. Three Versus weapon skins also hit multiplayer this month, although whether the collection is test-exclusive is unclear.

Geared up for July 19

Between Gears 5 preorders and Microsoft's expanding Xbox Game Pass offering, getting started with the Gears 5 Tech Test is easy.

Save on Gears 5

Gears 5 Standard Edition for Xbox One

Uncover the past

Explore Sera. Skim across glaciers, sail over deserts and descend into sunken ruins to discover the largest and most diverse Gears sandbox ever created.

Full Package

Gears 5 Ultimate Edition for Xbox One

Experience Gears 5 in full glory

Primed for Gears 5's biggest fans, the Ultimate Edition features an exclusive SteelBook enclosure and exclusive in-game items. And with four-day early access, what isn't there to like?

With Gears 5 slated to launch on September 10, 2019, Microsoft has kicked off preorders ahead of the upcoming Gears 5 Tech Test. With Amazon already slicing its $60 retail price, potential disc-buyers can lock down a copy today, or double down on the Ultimate Edition.

Netflix for Games

Xbox Game Pass Ultimate

Save on Microsoft's three-in-one Xbox and PC subscription

Wrapping together Xbox Game Pass for Xbox, Xbox Game Pass for PC, and Xbox Live Gold, this trio of services delivers the full experience in 2019.

Microsoft continues to push Xbox Game Pass; it's monthly subscription service for Xbox and PC gaming. The Gears 5 Tech Test gives another reason to secure the subscription, alongside over 100 digital games and in-house Xbox blockbusters.

Excellent and affordable Xbox accessories

Up your Xbox experience with one (or all) of these budget accessories, all of which are approved by the gamers of Windows Central.

PowerA Play & Charge Kit for Xbox One ($15 at Amazon)

This charging kit keeps your Xbox One wireless controllers juiced up, and it offers batteries for two controllers. At just $15, this is hands-down our favorite budget charging companion.

ElecGear 4 Port USB Xbox One S Hub ($19 at Amazon)

This brilliant little USB splitter hub attaches perfectly to the side of your Xbox One S console. It's ideal for use with chargers, controllers, headsets, and more.

Controller Gear stand ($13 at Amazon)

Proudly display your Xbox gamepads with this stylish and functional stand. The licensed design is minimalist and black, and it has a hidden storage compartment, making the price of $13 a real steal.

This post may contain affiliate links. See our disclosure policy for more details.

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