How to play Red Dead Online beta

Rockstar Games has kicked off its Red Dead Online beta this week, providing a first look at its multiplayer extension of Red Dead Redemption 2. Following its critically-acclaimed single-player, and the continued success of Grand Theft Auto V, hopes are high for its connected western world. We've wrapped up the essentials and how to access Red Dead Online now.

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Red Dead Redemption 2 beta features


RDR2 (Image credit: Rockstar Games)

Despite Red Dead Redemption 2's October 26 debut, the game's online mode was set for delayed launch, initially in a beta state. Expect an in-progress peek into the game's multiplayer offerings, with the chance of limited features, various bugs, and connectivity hiccups.

Like its previous multiplayer endeavors, Red Dead Online is host of countless multiplayer activities, embracing the existing open world. Cooperative missions, competitive player-versus-player (PvP) modes, and optional events are available, ranging from tranquil fishing to total carnage. For a full breakdown of Red Dead Online's expected features, check out our complete rundown on news and leaks so far.

Red Dead Online: Everything we know about Red Dead Redemption 2 multiplayer

Red Dead Online release dates and start time

Red Dead Online is set for a staggered rollout over four days in late November. It's no surprise given the issues that plagued the Grand Theft Auto Online launch, with these multiple stages allowing Rockstar to scale servers to demand. While the initial release date for Red Dead Online is November 27, many buyers will need to wait until November 30 to play. Servers will first go live at 8:30 AM ET/5:30 AM PT/1:30PM UK time.

How to play Red Dead Online

Red Dead Online is a free extension of Red Dead Redemption 2, so you must own an Xbox One or PlayStation 4 copy to play. A 5GB automatic update is now available both platforms, downloading the required assets for the multiplayer mode. Once downloaded, access Red Online via the following steps:

  1. Start Red Dead Redemption 2 on Xbox One or PlayStation 4.
  2. Press A on Xbox One, or X on PlayStation 4, to select your account.
  3. Press RB on Xbox One, or R1 on PlayStation 4, to access the Online menu.

However, not all Red Dead Redemption 2 players can start up simultaneously. Depending on which edition of the game you purchased, and when you played, launch dates will vary over the coming days.

  • November 27: Red Dead Online available to Ultimate Edition owners.
  • November 28: Red Dead Online expands to those who played on October 26.
  • November 29: Red Dead Online expands to those who played prior to October 29.
  • November 30: Red Dead Online available to all.

While early adopters are rewarded with early access, purchase the Red Dead Redemption 2 Ultimate Edition to be among the first to play. Various other online benefits are granted with the edition, including exclusive unlocks and progression boosters to Rank 25.

We expect to learn a lot about Red Dead Online in the coming days, as the rollout occurs. In the meantime, Red Dead Redemption 2 is now available for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, starting at $59.99.

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Updated November 29, 2018: Refreshed with the latest details on Red Dead Online.

Matt Brown

Matt Brown was formerly a Windows Central's Senior Editor, Xbox & PC, at Future. Following over seven years of professional consumer technology and gaming coverage, he’s focused on the world of Microsoft's gaming efforts. You can follow him on Twitter @mattjbrown.