Update: Garry has confirmed that the upcoming changes to access does NOT signify an Open Beta. Further details will be shared as we approach next week. This post was originally titled "Open Beta for s&box Announced".
Yesterday in the official s&box Discord came news from Garry about an "open beta" for s&box. After Facepunch ran out of keys to give away, Garry had been toying with the idea of granting s&box access directly to Steam accounts. Successfully completing a proof of concept and granting a user in the s&box Discord access to the game without providing an actual key. The open beta is planned for "next week", although the exact date is unknown.
What does "Open Beta" mean?
Currently, the community is using the term Open Beta as a lack of a better term. Details are sparse from Garry at the moment, meaning we don't know what the process of accessing s&box will look like. Whether anyone can sign up for access to s&box next week is still unknown, but it is looking likely that anyone can based on Garry's wording.
Gameplay-wise, open beta for s&box is something different than a beta for any other game. Since s&box games are community-driven (like Roblox or Garry's Mod), there isn't much available to play yet. Many dev previewers have been working on their own games, but s&box is young and breaking changes occur regularly. Furthermore, developing a game in s&box is akin to developing a game in an engine like Unity. Game development is a big, slow process, so don't download s&box with high expectations of a new game to play with your friends.
Developers, otherwise, can rejoice! Many developers have been waiting for s&box access to begin planning their games using the C# library the game provides. Tools like Hammer (map editor), Modeldoc, and the Particle Editor are included with s&box as well, allowing many creative niches to be filled. Mappers, modelers, artists, and more can expect to get access to these tools shortly.
How do I get access?
Although full details are not yet available, we expect s&box to be delivered via a Sign In with Steam process on the s&box dev site. After signing in with Steam, the game should be delivered to your Steam library, where you can download and play.
In order to keep up-to-date on the latest s&box news, you can join the official s&box Discord. Furthermore, follow our Twitter @sboxcommunity for the latest updates on all things s&box!