Premium means it’s open only for Premium Beta customers. Simply put, it costs a pricy 120€ to play Elite: Dangerous now, before the rest of us simple mortals.
The Elite: Dangerous Premium Beta is fully launching on May 30th, and until then players will be able to practice with the single player combat build. Here’s a bit more info on the development process so far:
Before the first Premium Beta release, Frontier will release one final Elite: Dangerous Alpha phase, Phase 4, which adds Travel and Trading.
Alpha phase 1 covered the vital moment-to-moment combat and ship controls.
Alpha phase 2 added internet-based multiplayer capability.
Alpha phase 3 expanded on these technology tests to add docking and the first elements of gameplay progression.
Alpha phase 4 expands significantly on this with two modes of faster than light travel – in-system ‘super-cruise’ and between-system ‘hyperspace’. The full Milky Way galactic map, containing some 400,000,000,000 star systems, will be present. Alpha 4 gameplay is focused on a 200 cubic light year volume of space, far from Earth.
The official launch of Elite: Dangerous on PC and Mac is expected sometime this year, but no official date has been set.