Sam_Protagonist, an SCE developer has just posted up at the Official PlayStation forums (linked above) that:
"There will be a limited public BETA test for LittleBigPlanet in September. If it will be possible to "sign up" for this test, full information on how to do so will be made public in advance of the test. Similarly if the test is going to be conducted in an invitation-only we will let you know ahead of time."
To quote in full: Hi all, here's your guide to what a beta test is, why it happens in the first place and what the different is between internal, external, public, private, open and closed.
A beta test takes place in order to test aspects of a game that cannot be checked using internal testing and QA staff. This is usually because of the number of people required to adequately test the game is far beyond the size of internal test departments. Often these tests are looking to ensure that balance, stability and various online functionality is working as planned, being conducted with enough time to make changes should the test indicate that work needs to be done.
Beta tests are described in a variety of ways, so here's a quick breakdown of what these various descriptions mean :
Internal - a test conducted only with people who work for the company (beyond normal testing staff)
External - conducted with people who don't work for SCE.
Closed - a beta test involving a finite number of people. Testers will be placed under Non Disclosure Agreement, meaning that they cannot discuss what they've seen in the game.
Open - a beta test that may be joined by a large number of people with no special requirements, usually with a straightforward form to sign up from . Testers may freely discuss the game on the internet.
Public - means the same thing as external.
Private - means the same thing as closed.
Limited - only a finite number of people will be able to join.
Invitation only - just as it says, only those invited will be able to join.
Most important to note is that a beta should never be considered a demo of the game. Expect it to break, expect to be asked to give feedback and expect it not to work all the time. A beta test is part of the development process for games, it's not a means of selling the game, advertising it or otherwise offering some kind of extended trial.
In terms of LittleBigPlanet, the game itself is all but complete however we're looking to run a test of the sharing, uploading, downloading and multiplayer server side of the game before it launches to ensure that under a large number of users it does everything it is supposed to.
This kind of testing is often referred to as a Stress Test, however we're looking a little more deeply into the game experience than simply throwing thousands of players at the online side of the game at the same time.
So, here's all the information you need regarding LBP's test.
There will be a limited public beta test for LittleBigPlanet in September. If it will be possible to "sign up" for this test, full information on how to do so will be made public in advance of the test. Similarly if the test is going to be conducted in an invitation-only we will let you know ahead of time.
Thanks. More PlayStation 3 News...