Most common in MMOs and online first person shooters, where beta tests are necessary to find out how servers will behave once the game is finalized. It is generally accepted that because of their premature nature, such tests may contain show-stopping bugs. Still, dedicated fans flock to these events as it's a chance to try a game before it's officially released. Often the process of getting into a public beta involves signing up for a giveaway, or pre-ordering a game, but in recent years new iterations of this concept have emerged and been widely popularized.
Access to early versions of video-games has become a common reward for video-game projects pledge-funded through crowdfunding platforms. Generally, earlier access to the project requires a higher donation.
Steam Early Access
The concept has also gained new-found traction in the Steam Early Access program, which showcases unfinished games in the Steam storefront, allowing a community of nearly 75 million active users to engage in the development of video-games in unfinished states. Unlike many other routes, Early Access users are required to pay for the game before they get access to it (as if it was a completed progress); this has made the program controversial in some circles.