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'Project Spark' beta launches today for Windows 8.1

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Microsoft and Team Dakota announced Tuesday that the long-awaited beta for Project Spark on Windows 8.1 PCs is finally happening.

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A press release received today reveals that the Project Spark beta will begin rolling out worldwide to those that applied on the game creating game's official website, projectspark.com.

Update: The official Project Spark Twitter account posted the following: "We'll begin sending Project Spark Windows 8 Beta Keys today. Chaucer said, "Patience is a Virtue." (so we moved him to the end of the list)"

Update 2: Community Manager Mike Lescault said on NeoGAF: "We'll start sending out keys this afternoon. It'll be a very limited number to start, but will steadily increase over the next few days/weeks as we confirm overall system stability."

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The beta was originally announced for October but was pushed back after the developer needed to ensure that the worst of the bugs were out of the way and the base features were fully functional. Team Dakota will host a livestream today on Twitch.tv at 6 p.m. EST / 3 p.m. PST to cover the features that will be available for the beta.

Windows 8.1 PC users will receive the beta first followed by Xbox One users early in 2014. There are no plans for an Xbox 360 beta. Project Spark will officially launch sometime next year.

For those that don't know, Project Spark is a game where users can create their own worlds and games whether it is for a tower defense game, side-scrolling platformer, role-playing action title or first-person shooter. It comes with an array of tools and objects with default "brains" that can be used in combination with the Kodu visual programming language to create and share.

The game will be released for free but will come with various content packs that can be purchased or unlocked to expand the number of textures, objects and themes. Additionally, Xbox One users will be able to use the Kinect sensor to capture voice and motion performances that can be applied to characters in game.

Here's the full press release:

Microsoft and Team Dakota have begun inviting fans and creators who have registered on http://projectspark.com to participate in shaping one of the most anticipated games of 2014 with the “Project Spark” Beta Program exclusively on Windows 8.1.

Since “Project Spark” was announced at E3 in June, hundreds of thousands of fans have signed up for the closed beta, which has begun rolling out today. Starting exclusively on Windows 8.1 and available to fans on Xbox One early next calendar year, registered beta participants are welcomed to a dynamic community where players create and creators play. The beta for both platforms will continue until the product launch next year.

“Project Spark” is an endless adventure where everything is customizable. Jump into an open world sandbox where players can create their own games, movies, stories and more and then share them with family, friends, and the world.

  • Play what other creators have made and take part in unlimited adventures.
  • Make games while playing with the revolutionary Crossroads mode.
  • Bend, shape, and mold worlds with sculpting and beautifying creations with paints and biomes.
  • Master the easy to use brain system to add behaviors to anything and bring creations to life.

“Project Spark” is the ultimate interactive playground for gamers of all ages, delivered as a free digital download with many options for enhancing your creative experience. It’s a powerful gaming destination where creation and play live seamlessly together. Walk in to the community’s collective imagination and start playing.

Sign up today for the beta at http://projectspark.com.

Be sure to watch the “Project Spark” Facebook page for the latest Beta updates, follow @proj_spark on Twitter, and tune in to the Twitch.tv streams for a deeper look at how communities are building, playing, and sharing creations in “Project Spark”!

You can follow Scott via Facebook, Twitter, RSS feed or email alerts for all the latest game news and deals as well as the weekly Furious Fourcast podcast/videocast. All game news on Examiner can be followed at the Game On Facebook page and Twitter feed.

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