Originally to run until January 29, Microsoft and Rare have decided Sea of Thieves needs a little more time in the closed beta oven, extending the testing period by two days. This mean those in the beta will be able to play until 7pm AEDT on January 31.
In a post on the Sea of Thieves website, engagement manager Emma Bridle announced the extension:
We know your gaming hours are precious and our number one goal is to get everyone with Closed Beta access into the game as soon as possible. Whilst we work on making this happen, we’d like to announce that we’re extending the Sea of Thieves Closed Beta by two days. This means the Closed Beta will now end on Wednesday, January 31st at 8am GMT.
The main reason cited for the extended beta was to make sure "anyone who has missed out on any time sailing the seas still gets to enjoy the Closed Beta to its fullest".
Also mentioned are some details regarding "too early" error messages encountered by some players:
We have been working with our partners across Xbox to get this resolved as smoothly and as quickly as possible. The fix for the issue began rolling out last night (UK time) and is unfortunately taking longer than anticipated to reach all affected players. We’re sorry that this is the case. We’ve set up a dedicated article for this issue on our Support site.
As for the extended beta, it's hard to see it as a bad thing. Those currently enjoying it will get more time do so, those who haven't had the chance yet will feel less like they've missed out and the developers can gather more data and feedback.
I guess that calls for a hearty "Yarrr!", right?
Sea of Thieves Closed Beta: Studio Update [Sea of Thieves]