DC Universe Online Beta Sign-Ups Open

Upcoming MMO DC Universe Online is an interesting prospect for many comic-book fans. It’s also one of the few MMOs out there to make the jump to consoles, with a PS3 version in the works alongside the PC version. Today, Sony announced details of the beta test and some goodies for certain players. And it’s not all great news for console gamers, unfortunately.

Let’s start with a positive, though; beta registration starts today. Here, in fact. And this is open to both PS3 and PC players. If Final Fantasy XIV‘s beta is anything to go by, though, it’s probable that the PC beta will launch first and be followed by PS3 later. Signing up for the beta is easy and free, though, so those who are interested in trying out the game well before its November release should register.

More good news, assuming the game actually turns out to be any good: the pre-order bonus for the game is pretty neat. The opportunity to play as Batman! This ability is only possible in special two-on-two PVP arenas, however. A world full of Batmans (Batmen?) running around would look pretty silly. Some retailers will be including the comic from the collector’s edition with pre-orders, while some will be including a “unique” in-game weapon for player characters. Participating retailers can be found on the official site.

Now the bad news. First up, the Collector’s Edition. Comic nerds like collectible stuff, right? Gamer comic nerds particularly like collectible stuff, right? How does a statue of Batman, a limited edition art book and a limited edition comic sound? Pretty nice, right? Well, PS3 owners are out of luck. The Collector’s Edition will be available for PC only. Quite why this is the case hasn’t been made terribly clear. It can perhaps be assumed that, the game being an MMO, Sony assume its primary audience will be on the PC. Although in doing this, they’re effectively hurting sales of a game on their own platform. Curious.

It’s a strange decision, given that collector’s editions of console games are arguably more common than PC versions. There are plenty of gamers out there with Spartan helmets, sets of night vision goggles and various Altaïr and Ezio figures on their shelves. So why deny console-bound fans of this game their collectibles?

DC Universe Online has potential to be a highly entertaining game. City of Heroes has been a long-running and successful superhero-based MMO. But it’s not based in an established universe. Few things will compare to the opportunity to lock horns with a variety of iconic DC heroes and villains. Plus the action-based, physics-driven gameplay sounds like an interesting deviation from the ability-cooldown based mechanic of most MMOs.

The game is due out in November. Don’t forget to sign up for the beta for an early preview of how the game is looking.