Since the announcement of Starbound, developer Chucklefish has been projecting a 2013 release for the ambitious science fiction sandbox. As we are entering the last quarter of the year with no release date set, it has seemed more likely that the title would be pushed back to 2014. Indeed, in the most recent Starbound Chronicle newsletter, Chucklefish has clarified the release status: the beta will be made available before the end of the year, but the game will not see full release until next year.
Chucklefish cites the unpredictability of game development for the delay, though many following along have predicted exactly this scenario. On the bright side, any who preorder are eligible for the beta, so those with the most anticipation will get to play Starbound in some capacity before January. With this new release clarification, I'm still expecting the beta to release some time during the second half of December. Bonus troll points to Chucklefish if it comes out on the 31st.