Those who attended the Eve Online FanFest event in Reykjavik, Iceland in March will be the first invited to participate in the Dust 514 beta, CCP Games has confirmed.
There had been confusion over the status of the closed beta, which is currently running, with some Eve Online fans complaining about apparent preferential treatment to PlayStation Network users.
But CCP told Eurogamer those playing the downloadable first-person shooter right now are Sony's elite team of testers - not members of the general public.
"Eve players who we gave keys to at FanFest, they'll be the first people in the door," lead game designer Kristoffer Touborg told Eurogamer. "We do have some PSN users in now. We had some Eve players ask, well, why are they getting first dibs on it?
"They're not people we've preferred because they're some marketing partner or something. The people we have in the game now are essentially volunteer testers. They're basically the first people PlayStation throws at a new product.
"We have our own group called Bug Hunters, which is 100 or so volunteers who do a lot of our groundwork on new stuff. This is basically PlayStation's equivalent of that. So the people we have in now aren't necessarily there because we wanted to give them a beta key first. These are the people PlayStation throws at new things to test before everyone else does.
"It's not a beta as much as, this is the first public thing and we sent the people who always break things at it first."
CCP is expected to invite more players, including those with beta keys obtained through FanFest and other means, shortly. An open beta is planned for the middle of the year, with the E3 trade show in June expected to reveal more.
Including a release date? Jon Lander, senior producer of Eve Online, said CCP won't release the game until it's in top shape. "Since before Christmas we've been able to play it on PSN," he said. "E3 will be a big moment for us, so we'll show stuff there. When it's at the right place for people to see it, at that stage, we'll release it.
"One of the things we learnt last year was, don't just ship something because you said you were going to ship on this day. Ship something that's worth shipping and let people then play it and get the real experience. But it's looking good. It's looking on pretty good form."