It’s safe to say that the development path for Arma 3 hasn’t been the smoothest of journeys. Last year two of Bohemia Interactive’s employees were detained by Greek authorities over spying charges. Luckily the two were released in January on bail.
Bohemia Interactive have carried on with development of Arma 3 and have just announced that a public alpha test will be going live on March 5th, which is next Tuesday. However the public Alpha isn’t free for everyone, with players having to pay £19.99 (or EUR 24.99/$32.99) to access it. This bundle will include the game on release as well. You can get into the Alpha for free but must receive an invite from someone who has already bought access. The free pass will also restrict access to the multiplayer and modding tools.
There are two other packages also on sale. The Arma 3 Digital Deluxe Edition (£34.99/EUR 39.99/$49.99) will give players access to the Alpha, Beta and full game, with a soundtrack and a copy of Arma: Cold War Assault. The Supporter’s Edition (£59.99/$91.99/EUR 69.99) will give you all of that plus all DLC and a chance to be in the game credits.
The Beta is planned to start in Q2 2013 while the final game is planned for Q3.
Personally I wouldn’t pay for access to an Alpha test.
The only other game I can think of off the top of my head that also followed this model was Minecraft and that cost £8. I understand the need for a developer to raise funds for continued development, but the price for the Alpha in this case seems a bit high. If I were to pick a pack then the Deluxe Edition seems to offer a lot more value for money.
Source: Arma 3