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Splatoon 3 Splatfest World Premiere - Demo Times, How to Join and More

Here's everything you need to know about the free Splatfest demo taking place today only.

Screenshot of Splatoon 3
Splatoon 3's hub area will be decked out with special decorations for the Splatfest event.
Nintendo

Splatoon 3 is only two weeks away from launching on the Nintendo Switch, but you have a chance to sample the game early right now with the Splatfest World Premiere demo. This free, limited-time demo event takes place today only and lets all Switch owners get some hands-on time with the colorful team shooter ahead of its release.

Here's everything you need to know about the Splatfest demo, from what time it starts to how to participate in the event. For more on the game, be sure to check out our roundup of everything you need to know about Splatoon 3.

What is the Splatfest World Premiere?

The Splatfest World Premiere is a demo-slash-beta test for Splatoon 3. Players who download the demo now can explore the game's main hub area, Splatsville, and take part in a brief tutorial that explains the basics of gameplay. Then, on Aug. 27, Nintendo will be hosting the headlining attraction: Splatoon 3's first "Splatfest," a type of in-game event in which you pick a team and earn points for your side by playing in Turf War matches.

When does the Splatfest World Premiere start?

The Splatfest World Premiere demo will be playable starting Aug. 25, but the Splatfest itself takes place Saturday, Aug. 27. In the Americas, the event will kick off at 9 a.m. PT (12 p.m. ET) and run for 12 hours, wrapping up at 9 p.m. PT (12 a.m. ET).

Unlike Splatfests in previous Splatoon games, the World Premiere event will be divided up into two halves. During the first half of the Splatfest (until 3 p.m. PT), players will take part in traditional four-versus-four Turf War battles. During the remainder of the event, however, you'll be pit in new Tricolor Turf Wars. Four players from the first place team and two players from the second and third place sides will compete in a three-way battle.

How do I join the Splatfest?

To join the Splatfest World Premiere, all you need to do is download the free demo client from the Nintendo eShop and log in during the event hours.

Do I need Nintendo Switch Online?

Since the Splatfest is an online event, you'll need to have a Nintendo Switch Online subscription to participate. If you're not already a member, Nintendo is giving everyone who installs the demo a free seven-day trial to the service. 

You'll receive the free trial code via email after downloading the demo client. The code can be redeemed through the Nintendo eShop, but it will expire on Aug. 31, so you'll need to use it before then if you're hoping to take advantage of the free trial.

What do you do in the Splatfest?

In previous games, Splatfests traditionally asked you to join one of two opposing sides and duke it out for supremacy. Splatoon 3 is shaking things up a bit by giving you three different teams to choose from, but the basics are otherwise the same. Head to the Splatfest terminal in the Splatsville plaza, choose which side you want to rep, and then jump into online matches to earn points for your team.

For the Splatfest World Premiere, Nintendo is asking players to determine, once and for all, which is best: rock, paper or scissors?

Keep in mind that your Splatfest decision is final. Once you choose a side, you can't switch teams, so think carefully before making your selection.

Once the Splatfest is live, you can jump into Splatoon's signature online mode: Turf War. Unlike a typical online shooter, the objective of this mode is not to eliminate the other team, but rather to cover more of the map with your ink. The team that has inked the most turf at the end of three minutes will win the match.

Treehouse Live Stream

Ahead of the Splatfest World Premiere, Nintendo aired a Treehouse: Live stream featuring Splatoon 3 on Aug. 25. The stream provided a closer look at the game's single-player mode, as well as a couple of stages that will be featured during Saturday's Splatfest. Nintendo also showcased new gameplay for Square Enix's upcoming fantasy farming sim, Harvestella.

You can watch a replay of the Treehouse: Live stream below.

Splatoon 3 is set to launch for Nintendo Switch on Sep. 9. You can save $11 on the game with CNET's exclusive preorder deal.

Nintendo has a variety of free updates planned for Splatoon 3 following its release, including new stages, weapons and modes. The company also teased a "major" paid DLC expansion that will feature Splatoon 2's popular idols, Pearl and Marina, although no other details about it have been announced yet.