Call of Duty: Vanguard alpha: When it starts, how to play, and more

Call of Duty: Vanguard
(Image credit: Activision)

The Call of Duty: Vanguard alpha is almost here, and if you want to play you'll find every detail you need to get ready right here.

We've collected all of the key details right here, including when and where you can start playing the Call of Duty: Vanguard alpha. The full Call of Duty: Vanguard release date is set for November, so if you can't wait to head back to World War 2 right now you'll want to make the most of these tests. 

When does the Call of Duty: Vanguard alpha start? 

The Call of Duty: Vanguard alpha start time is set for Friday, August 27 at 10 am PDT / 1 pm EDT / 6 pm BST. The alpha will be playable for 48 hours, ending on Sunday, August 29 at at 10 am PDT / 1 pm EDT / 6 pm BST. Don't worry, you'll be able to play for longer once the beta goes live. 

How do I play the Call of Duty: Vanguard alpha? 

If you're on PlayStation, all you need to do is download and start playing once it goes live - you don't even need a PS Plus subscription in most cases. Folks who already have Call of Duty: Warzone, Black Ops Cold War, or Modern Warfare installed can just head to the Alpha menu blade on the far left part of the screen to find the download page on PS Store, or you could just search for it yourself.

Call of Duty: Vanguard alpha pre-loading is already live, so you may as well start trickling those precious bytes onto your storage drive now to give yourself as much time to play as possible.

What's included in the Call of Duty: Vanguard alpha?

The Call of Duty: Vanguard alpha includes a single, all-new mode: Champion Hill. Each match of Champion Hill is a mini round-robin tournament, setting duos or trios against each other in dedicated battle spaces across the same big map. Taking out enemies or grabbing pick-ups will earn you extra cash to spend during Buy Rounds between battles. However you fare in one match-up, it's straight off to the next to see who comes out on top.

Participating in the Call of Duty: Vanguard alpha will earn you a Calling Card and Emblem, usable both in Vanguard once it's released and Warzone after the two games are integrated.

Is the Call of Duty: Vanguard alpha coming to Xbox or PC? 

Unfortunately not. The Call of Duty: Vanguard alpha is exclusive to PS4 and PS5, and PlayStation players have even more exclusive access coming with the first week of the beta in September. The second week of the beta, starting on September 16 if you pre-order Call of Duty: Vanguard or September 18 if you don't, will be your first chance to play Vanguard on Xbox or PC.

Check out our first extended look at Call of Duty: Vanguard gameplay from Gamescom. 

I got a BA in journalism from Central Michigan University - though the best education I received there was from CM Life, its student-run newspaper. Long before that, I started pursuing my degree in video games by bugging my older brother to let me play Zelda on the Super Nintendo. I've previously been a news intern for GameSpot, a news writer for CVG, and now I'm a staff writer here at GamesRadar.