Howdy, Stranger!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!

Fuzzy Avatars Solved! Please re-upload your avatar if it was fuzzy!

Should players have the right to access Beta testing prior to launch/release of a game?

DamonDamon Naples, FLPosts: 165Member

 


The gaming industry continues to grow, finding new outlets in which to reach us, the players.  From well known companies, to the smallest of independent studios, more and more games become available from all around the world.  The design, development, and distribution of this digital entertainment varies from title to title.  It is the involving of players for development on which I would like to hear your thoughts.


 


Commonly referred to as Beta, the focus of this phase in development usually centers on finding bugs/issues in the game itself.  The scope of these issues may be aesthetic in nature or extremely critical, and in turn they may be incredibly easy or frustratingly difficult for developers to fix.  While employees of the studio strive to find, and fix, as many of these issues as possible, it has become a common practice to include players in one or more stages of Beta testing.  This partnership allows the player to experience the unfinished game first hand, while contributing bug reports and suggestions to the studio, ultimately benefitting both parties, and hopefully resulting in a better game for everyone at launch/release.


 


It is with concern that I have noticed a misconception among some of us.  Beta testing is spoken of as an entitlement by players, implying a right to Beta test simply for being interested in the game.  In addition, some players discuss games they are Beta testing in public forums, possibly breaking non-disclosure agreements, and attempting to dissuade other players from considering playing the game.  They may point out specific flaws found during Beta tesing or generalize, but the majority of these players seem to treat Beta testing as a demo of the game.


 


Players certainly have the right to voice their opinions about games, and this website offers a fantastic forum for doing just that.  However, it is specifically in regard to Beta testing that I hope you will share your thoughts.  


 


Do you believe that players should have the right to access Beta testing prior to launch/release of a game - why or why not?

image
«1

Comments

  • VesaviusVesavius BristolPosts: 7,647Member Uncommon

    It is with concern that I have noticed a misconception among some of us. Beta testing is spoken of as an entitlement by players, implying a right to Beta test simply for being interested in the game. In addition, some players discuss games they are Beta testing in public forums, possibly breaking non-disclosure agreements, and attempting to dissuade other players from considering playing the game. They may point out specific flaws found during Beta tesing or generalize, but the majority of these players seem to treat Beta testing as a demo of the game.


     Commerical

    Commercial beta tests ARE a demo of the game, like it or not.

    I also consider it a good thing others try and dissuade other from wasting their money based on their own bad experience. This is consumer supporting consumer, and thats a good thing.

     

    I take it as a sign of confidence in their product if a Dev offers a commericial 'beta' or a trial for their game before/ at launch.

    If a Dev is hiding behind a NDA at the point where they ask for money then I have to ask myself... do I trust this Dev? Do I know their product? Do i have faith in their ability to deliver?

    In the case of, say, FC with TSW that answer would obviously be- yes, I know them and their product, and no I do NOT trust them.

    With ANet it is- yes, I know and trust them.

    If ANet ever birn me the same way FC has (twice!!) then obviously I will re-evaluate this.

     

     

     


     

  • SlampigSlampig Chantilly, VAPosts: 2,376Member Uncommon

    Maybe if people actually TESTED instead of just looking for a free trial...

    That Guild Wars 2 login screen knocked up my wife. Must be the second coming!

  • tinuelletinuelle bergenPosts: 287Member Uncommon

    NO.

    WHY? Nobody has any right to anything that they do not own or have bought.

    Players have as much right to access Beta testing prior to release as they have the right to subscription free games.

    Of course, it would be nice to have the option, but claiming it as a right is way beyond fantasy.

    I'm betting that beta testing sooner or later will be a part of the pre purchase industry standard, where you prepurchase the game and are allowed to do the job of testing and improving the game for free............. where you get the right to pay for the unfinished game, and then invest time in it to finish it.

    image
  • spookydomspookydom BristolPosts: 1,782Member Uncommon

    Hmmmm.........Back in the old days definitley not. However the world has changed now. If publishers are asking people to put down large sums of money before a release date is even set for pre-orders and collectors editions, then those players are contributing to the development of the game imo and should be alowed in the test.  Also, as many of us have been badly stung by AAA  releases over the last 6-7 years then I feel it's only natural for people to want to get a early peak at the game to see if it's something they want to buy. However the sense of entitlement that a lot of posters and gamers I have seen vocalising their opinions on these boards and others is enough to make you loose faith in humanity. I think once companies started advertising beta access as a selling point that they changed the nature of the whole process.

    image

  • DarkPonyDarkPony RotterdamPosts: 5,566Member

    Originally posted by Damon

     *snip*


    It is with concern that I have noticed a misconception among some of us.  Beta testing is spoken of as an entitlement by players, implying a right to Beta test simply for being interested in the game.

    It's also with concern that I've noticed a trend of developers using public betas mainly as a part of a game's marketing program; advertising guaranteed beta access as a prepurchase perk, making them short to just get a glimpse of low level gameplay and not really use them for testing purposes anyway. Though there might be players stumbling over unknown bugs now and then in a beta weekend, chances are that extensive closed, in-house beta testing already got 99% of bugs and issues listed.

    We see this kind of practice more and more with AAA releases. In that sense I really have to aplaud the ArchAge developers for their long, open betas without NDA and without other strings attached. It's a much more honest and less cocky way to handle it in my opinion.

  • LissylLissyl Peru, INPosts: 271Member Common

    I think 'right' is a poor choice of words.  I think that any company asking money from players should offer a sample of their product via an extended Open Beta, however, and leave Closed Beta and NDA's to actual testers, the way it was previously.

    However, I would also point out that the rules of Open Beta should be downright draconian in that if a player wants to participate in it, they do so under no illusions that they can be/will be banned at any time for activities like 'trolling'.  I've just finished the CBT series on TERA, for instance, and have encountered no small number of people who won't purchase it because they thought that the community was going to be as atrocious as what they saw in the beta which was positively overflowing with so-called trolls.  The only response to their presence was 'thats the way it is', and that is no answer at all.

    So in summary: No, not a 'right', but a fair expectation given the amount of money being asked of them.  Whether the industry responds to this fair expectation is another thing entirely.

  • RefMinorRefMinor MyTownPosts: 3,452Member
    Originally posted by DarkPony


    Originally posted by Damon

     *snip*

    It is with concern that I have noticed a misconception among some of us.  Beta testing is spoken of as an entitlement by players, implying a right to Beta test simply for being interested in the game.

    It's also with concern that I've noticed a trend of developers using public betas mainly as a part of a game's marketing program; advertising guaranteed beta access as a prepurchase perk, making them short to just get a glimpse of low level gameplay and not really use them for testing purposes anyway. Though there might be players stumbling over unknown bugs now and then in a beta weekend, chances are that extensive closed, in-house beta testing already got 99% of bugs and issues listed.

    We see this kind of practice more and more with AAA releases. In that sense I really have to aplaud the ArchAge developers for their long, open betas without NDA and without other strings attached. It's a much more honest and less cocky way to handle it in my opinion.

     

    Sums it up well
  • JoeyMMOJoeyMMO SomewherePosts: 1,326Member

    You don't have a right to beta test anything. However companies will often use beta access as a means to spread the word. When large amounts of people get access to a beta, why would X get in and Y not? The company has the option of keeping betas closed. When they go for a public beta, then I don't see why a consumer couldn't see that as a right. You're as entitled to try it as the next guy, so I guess that's a bit of a right even if it means nothing at all.

    imageimage
  • DragimDragim Boring, KSPosts: 867Member

    Beta testing is a hot button for me, and I think that they should be very limited.

    Companies need to pay people minimum wage to internally test their games.  Open/closed betas just don't seem to work as well as they intend, and of course, leaks happen.  I will list several, personal, reasons as to why I don't like open betas, or big betas.

    It IS a marketing ploy that almost ALWAYS fails horribly.  Let me explain why I say it fails and doesn't work.

            A:) People see the game, play the game, THEN decide they don't want to purchase it.  This, in my opinion, leads to less sales because these same people would most likely puchase it anyways just to try it out.  This leads me to my second point.

            B:)  Beta testers use up all the content.  In beta, well, in these "new AAA title betas" users are able to experience most if not all of the game content, in beta.  They experience this content while it is buggy, thus causing them anger and pleasure at the same time depending on how the bug affects them.  Let me elaborate further...

                                   B1:)  When people experience all the content in beta, they witch and moan when the game actually comes out.  They reach the top tier level within a week - a month, depending on the player because they have already experienced everything in the game, they know the secrets/best spots to level, and they do it super fast to be "#1 (insert class".  After this happens, they complain.  They complain about everything.  You can refute this, but look on any forum a month or two after release, People Are Complaining, People are leaving, not in small numbers, but in large numbers.

                                   B2:) A company gets excited and releases 100 servers on launch day.  While this is good, and it appeases the gamers initially, a good percent of them generally crumble ruining the experience for everyone else on the server.  Too often companies cut and cut to make a few unhappy gamers happy, but these unhappy gamers who were unhappy initially then got appeased are most likely to become unhappy later on, continiously ruining the gaming experience for everyone else who is involved.

            C:) People don't actually report bugs.  OK, some people do, but the majority?  They are in it for the "trial".  They are in it to find out all the secrets, to find out how to be number 1 on launch day, how to be so good that they can talk crap on the actual new players.  I understand you need to "stress test" servers, but honestly...with so many MMOs out, do you REALLY need to stress test?  Can they not learn from previouse experience and know what their servers can generally handle?  I am sure each game is different and I am no pro game tech person by any means, but aren't MMO servers...MMO servers?

     

    I have been in my fair share alpha beta tests, closed beta tests, and open beta tests.  I have been MMO gaming since 1999 and after so many years of MMO gaming, testing and what not, this is my personal conclusion that I have come to.

    Beta tests should be limited, if not internal, and people honestly should not complain when they don't get their "free trials in order to see how to level the fastest then complain when they get to top level and are bored."  Refute this all you want, but in my opinion this is the number one thing that I hate about betas.  People use up all the content, then witch and moan about nothing to do.  This ruins the experience for everyone else that enjoy the game because they bail, make servers empty, ruin the economy and generally provide a bad attitude that influences the community that they are in.

    Sorry about the long post, but yep!

     

    I am entitled to my opinions, misspellings, and grammatical errors.

  • waynejr2waynejr2 West Toluca Lake, CAPosts: 4,481Member Uncommon
  • VelocinoxVelocinox Old Folks Home, CAPosts: 812Member Uncommon

    So an MMO lemon law?

    Sounds great, but the government doesn't take the industry seriously enough to police it, much less look out for its customers rights.

     

    'Sandbox MMO' is a PTSD trigger word for anyone who has the experience to know that anonymous players invariably use a 'sandbox' in the same manner a housecat does.


    When your head is stuck in the sand, your ass becomes the only recognizable part of you.


    No game is more fun than the one you can't play, and no game is more boring than one which you've become familiar.


    How to become a millionaire:
    Start with a billion dollars and make an MMO.

  • BetakodoBetakodo Poor land, FLPosts: 338Member

    Has anyone saved themselves $60 or the sub fee by beta testing the game? You got to see how the company treats it's customers, takes feedback and see how the game is. I've done it before, FFXIV beta was a good case. Me and my friends were hyped for the game, played it, found we had nothing to do but grind after our 8 daily quests were done and we saved ourselves $60 of awfulness. Oh yeah, and the FFXIV team at the time plugged their ears and said no feedback, JP ONRY. Glad they got what was coming to them.

    Is it a right? Well, would you rather have people in the beta who just want to play it while it's free, while not letting people who are actually going to pay from playing? Most MMO games are moving towards F2P anyways, I don't see why it would really be an issue in the near future.

    I never seen players feeling entitled to being in a beta, only going nuts at the chance to get access to one by contests. If you're referencing GW2, people paid $60 to get access way before they even have a release date, with the guarantee that they get access to beta weekends. Some people are feeling Anet is just calling betas something else, like this weekend's stress test, which was yesterday and some today, thereby keeping out people who paid $60. A lazy day zeta test would be another term for it. Anything that doesn't include beta or weekend you can exclude the people who paid.

    Really, I haven't seen players feeling entitled to any beta access. Instead they've been jumpling on each other just trying to apply, that's it. I have however, seen people defending companies for no reason, which is a more disturbing trend. Still, the right? No. But the companies usually have open betas now, so what difference does having a right make?

  • infamouswhoisinfamouswhois Omega CityPosts: 185Member

    no

  • GeezerGamerGeezerGamer ChairPosts: 5,596Member Uncommon

    What they need to do is stop calling it beta and call it public review or something.

     

  • MehveMehve Kitchener, ONPosts: 487Member

    Been screwed over way too many times in the past by undelivered promises. At this point, nevermind whether I pre-purchased or not, I consider the onus on the developer/publisher to be willing to let me play their game if they expect money from me. In fact, this extends to any single-player games too - demo or gtfo.

    I suppose that this is horribly arrogant on my part, and I know I didn't have this attitude 4-5 years ago, but it's pretty much a necessity now. There's no overseeing commission in existance, online review sites are thoroughly untrustworthy and usually incompetant, and online word-of-mouth is suspect, with the IQ of a concussion moose. Game companies repeatedly and consistantly fail to deliver on promises, and suffer very few meaingful consequences from it. So the only protective barrier left involves experiencing the game personally - before purchase.

    So yeah, I'd better get beta/pretrial/whatever access if I go to the extent of actually putting money down for it. If they want to call it a "beta", go right ahead. I'll even post any bugs/glitches that I manage to find, even if I don't particularly believe it'll accomplish anything. But fair warning - deep down, I'll probably be treating it as a finished product that will help me decide whether it's worth anything.

    A Modest Proposal for MMORPGs:
    That the means of progression would not be mutually exclusive from the means of enjoyment.

  • DistopiaDistopia Baltimore, MDPosts: 16,916Member Uncommon

    Originally posted by Slampig

    Maybe if people actually TESTED instead of just looking for a free trial...

    This is about just prior to launch, at that point testing has been done, the question is essentially should they offer a free preview before launch?

    I don't think it's something they should have to do, it is certainly nice when they do though.

    For every minute you are angry , you lose 60 seconds of happiness."-Emerson

    It is a sign of a defeated man, to attack at ones character in the face of logic and reason- Me

  • ThorkuneThorkune Eastern, KYPosts: 1,830Member Uncommon

    Originally posted by Slampig

    Maybe if people actually TESTED instead of just looking for a free trial...

    This  /

  • bomber009bomber009 Brookville, INPosts: 21Member

    Beta testing is not a right.  Beta testing is a job.  I think that giving people that pre-order access to beta is wrong as well.

  • KyutaSyukoKyutaSyuko Irving, TXPosts: 250Member Uncommon

    I've always considered Beta tests to be a privilege not a right.  I also figured the companies gave us Dev clients that sent them gameplay data as we played.  Also everyone should know that open betas are meant as a stress test for the servers to make sure they can handle the load.

  • AntariousAntarious Greenville, SCPosts: 2,802Member

    I started to reply then reread the original post a few times... I honestly am not quite sure what exactly is being asked here.

     

    Part of the post talks about players view on beta testing and entitlement.   Which is fine except the problem with beta since at least Auto Assault.. is that its now a reward for pre-ordering or pre-purchase.   Its hard for me to view players as feeling entitled to something... when companies are using the "beta" as a marketing tool.   You can't blame the consumer for following the path the PR machine is creating.

     

    That said... I don't believe every person who thinks they want to play a game should be in beta.

     

    What confuses me the most about the original post is it seems to more be saying there should be no beta test.   Or at least not one that people sign up for and get invited to.

     

    Internal playtesters cost money.   The only other option is to oursource to some kind of "professional testing" company... which again costs money.   I don't believe you are ever going to see companies willing to add that expense.

     

    Allowing "players" to beta test ultimately results in free access to a volunteer tester base for a company.  

     

    If you want to talk about improving the beta process... well that's something I believe companies should seriously consider.

     

    What does that mean?   Well for one you stop using beta access as a reward for pre-order/pre-purchase.   As noted in the original post there is a point to beta.   It takes a paticular mindset to spend hours day after day trying to break things, deal with broken things and leave constructive feedback.

     

    Companies should really start being far more active in removing non productive testers.   This isn't the person who stated they could only log in a few hours during the week and more on weekends.   This is the people who spend all day.. day after day cluttering the beta forums.. with post about how X (that will never be in the game) would be better.   Instead of actively testing the product that IS being made.. and offering productive feedback on that content.   Some of the recent beta's I was in.. the beta forums were pointless because they were just full of opinion on things that had no relevance to the game being made.

    Moderator's on this site allow certain posters to create endless troll threads. Yet "warn" people for giving recommendations... account *pending* deletion because.. why bother.

  • Four0SixFour0Six Missoula, MTPosts: 1,181Member Uncommon

    I agree with the concept of testing a game before you launch it.

    So nice of us gamers to happily line up to do so, we even feel that we are "special" when we get to.

    To view it as a right is fail though. If you are allowed to beta test, you should view it as an, I'll call it, obligation. You should most definatly answer polls, and submit bug reports.

    If you want a "free trial" wait till the game has been out for a few, and the publisher tosses those out.

  • OpapanaxOpapanax Rochester, NYPosts: 973Member

    I do believe that giving players a taste of what is to come can be both a positive and a negative for games. I feel like players sometimes get a little confused as to when and when they should not be allowed to test. When you open up the idea of Beta testing you give some people the idea that they will get their hands on the game right away.

    This isn't always true. I don't see anything wrong with companies offering this, it's just that players have to understand that it is Beta and with it being in that phased that many, many mechanics can't change before release. Another thing about players and beta is that they believe they are there to enjoy the game and check out what the world will look like and stuff.

    This is true but the point of a Beta is actually to weed out bugs and glitches both in graphics or sounds or anything else that might come off as a little out of place. When players begin to bypass that soul purpose of Beta and just want to get in and do nothing but try and meta out a toon then it becomes a waste sort of.

    Hope this makes some sense..

    PM before you report at least or you could just block.

  • AnirethAnireth Posts: 600Member Uncommon

    Not so sure about a right, but they should seriously consider something like this. Offer the first x levels or whatever free, or do something like "play 20 hours or 2 weeks free".

    The later option would probably be better, making it more difficult to drastically change the game beyond what one can see in the free preview.

    Limiting the time would also make it nearly impossible for a single person to see everything, while still allowing access to everything, so you can not lock the bad stuff away.

    Unfortunately, it became increasingly rare for non-mmos to offer demos, usually pushed back well after release (like, a year) or straight out declined.

    Something like this would also help combat piracy. Many would still download it obviously, but many really just want to know if it's worth their money. With games only a few hours long, there is not much incentive left to make you buy it once you played it an hour or two to get to know it.

    Obviously, this would lead to some peole finding out it's not worth their money, but just as many would see that's cool an all and buy it.

    I'll wait to the day's end when the moon is high
    And then I'll rise with the tide with a lust for life, I'll
    Amass an army, and we'll harness a horde
    And then we'll limp across the land until we stand at the shore

  • XthosXthos Columbus, OHPosts: 2,628Member

    Sure, but it is all up to the developers.....But most of what people will talk about are more stress tests, and fixes that come with the stress tests....

    Their are more private closed betas, and people do, do their job, and some find bugs and stash them away for launch to exploit...

     

    The betas that go along with pre-ordering, they are more stress tests imo...

  • wrightstufwrightstuf Carlsbad, CAPosts: 655Member Uncommon

    Dumbest idea i've ever  heard. In fact, i think in order to play in beta, you should have to pre purchase in any case, and forfeit any chance of money back the minute you log in.

    Or..outlaw any form of pre purchase/order altogether and make it the law the game can only be sold at release. Beta participants thru free invitation only.

«1
Sign In or Register to comment.