Halo fans are getting a sweet Christmas gift from 343 Industries and Microsoft, with a multiplayer beta for Halo 5: Guardians going live later today for Xbox One preview members. This early access will ensure the beta is running smoothly for its wider release, and give dedicated fans a chance to check out the new weapons and maps ahead of others.

All Xbox One preview members will receive a message from Xbox Live containing download codes for the Halo 5 beta. After you've installed it, access to the beta will begin at 4pm ET and run until 3am ET on December 22.

For the rest of the public, the beta will launch on December 29th for those who purchased Halo: The Master Chief Collection. The main beta period is lengthy, ending on January 18th, giving gamers plenty of time to check out the mechanics of Halo 5.

The beta period is a massive opportunity for 343 Industries and Microsoft to make amends for the botched launch of The Master Chief Collection. Despite having launched over a month ago, gamers are still having issues matchmaking in the multiplayer portion of the game. Hopefully the Halo 5 beta will prevent the same thing from occurring at the launch of the much anticipated title.

Halo 5: Guardians is set to launch in the second half of 2015, exclusive to Xbox One.