Betas are fun. They're exciting. They're sometimes exclusive. But recently, the only way to ensure you get to participate is to pay for the game before it's released.
You might get some "exclusive" goodies added to the pre-order deal but what if the game turns out to suck? Or what if, after playing the beta, the game doesn't really warrant an immediate buy?
Sure, people will tell you that "the beta isn't a representation of the finished game blah blah blah.." but that isn't true when you're talking about most console games. Especially when the betas happen only a month before release. You get a pretty good idea of the finished product for sure.
I have a fix for this issue (no pun intended). Pre-order your games from GameStop retail stores.
For a mere $5 deposit you can pre-order any game. Because they don't charge you right away, but still "register" you as pre-ordered, you still get beta access (via emailed codes). If the game isn't what you expected then you don't have to go through with it. In fact, when I pre-ordered Evolve this way I got all the pre-order incentives and beta access without buying the game. And the $5 stays on my account so that I can use it to pre-order other games with beta incentives.
You're welcome and I love you.