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[Editorial] General: The Beta Is a Lie

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  • winterwinter El Paso, TXPosts: 2,276Member Uncommon
    So Bill not to sound like I'm defending Neverwinter or F2P too much but since you did single both out, how is this any different from what Aventurine did with DarkFall Unholy wars?
    Didn't they charge for the game, as well as a monthly subscription for a game that was in beta for 5 months? theirs was not a totally optional cash shop but a "You WILL buy the game, and you WILL pay a subscription if you want to play our beta, and no we WILL NOT give refunds." kinda stance.
    Indie/subscription favoratism, or simple oversight?
  • DeadlyneDeadlyne Rochester, NYPosts: 231Member Uncommon
    I agree with this article. It has actually been bugging me for a while. It doesn't affect me directly whatever they want to call their current launch state. It's just that, in my eyes, the term "beta" should be reserved for testing not profit making. Maybe I just have outdated thinking.

    Just to question the philosophy. Army of Socrates.

    image
  • aspekxaspekx Brandon, FLPosts: 2,167Member
    the Beta is a lie in other ways, i believe (note that word: Believe). related to the monetary purchases to make this game fun. and here's what i think: if anyone seriously thinks that the drop rate on Identify Scrolls and such will not go noticeably go down after OB, then i believe they are mistaken.

    "There are at least two kinds of games.
    One could be called finite, the other infinite.
    A finite game is played for the purpose of winning,
    an infinite game for the purpose of continuing play."
    Finite and Infinite Games, James Carse

  • PulsarManPulsarMan Tampa, FLPosts: 289Member
    Originally posted by pmiles
    Originally posted by PulsarMan
    Originally posted by pmiles

    Using kickstarter to get players to fund actual development of a game is far more disturbing than having some developer call their launch a beta.  We've gone from just buying a game when it's done (box/retail shelf), to prepaying for beta access, to now, actually funding the development of the game.  The only one's paying out of the ass are the players.  What's next, putting in a bid to developers to see if they feel your request for a new title is even worth their time and effort?

     

    I'd like to see the days of old where you know, game developers were on the down low about what they were working on and you only actually got to see it when it was released.  No more of this pre-pre-pre-super-duper-awesome-first-look-pass purchasing scams.  When you have a product, release it, we'll buy it.  If it is decent, you'll earn return to cover your investment.

     

    People talk about there being no consequences to death in games... what consequences do developers risk if you already paid for it's development.  Even if it's total crap, they lose nothing.  If it's mediocre, it's total profit.  How does this model encourage them to do better?  It doesn't.  Only if their is risk of loss is their motivation to succeed.

    I see the points you're making. But you're only focusing on the negative side of things. 

    Programs such as Kickstarter are allowing games that would never be developed in the old Dev / Publisher setting, to see the light of day. Along with that we must remember that no one is forcing anyone to donate to a kickstarter, or purchase an "Early Access", or Foundry pack...or whatever they choose to call it. 

    If you pay $100 for an early access pack, and are handed a turd...yeah, you got screwed. But to assume the developer has nothing to lose is a bit near sighted. How many of us are going to purchase the next big title from The WarZ developers? Not I. 

    Again, your points are valid. But we have to remember that the development atmosphere of today is rather different than it once was. Games cost a great deal more to produce. The risk is much higher. Were I a development studio, I would very readily support the numerous methods in which I can buffer that risk. If I had my customer crap, it would be a safe assumption to assume that my next project would not be so easily funded. If funded at all. 

    Used to cost 15 cents for a cup of coffee... now they charge you $1 or more... that's cost of living adjustment and marketing.  We pay more for games for the same reason.  Average computer game costs $60 retail compared to say $25 in the 80s.  They are being compensated for those costs.  That can be recouped in box costs and it is.  We're paying beyond box costs.

     

    If a game won't see light of day without us funding it... meaning the boys with the deep pockets don't see a profit in it to justify producing it... then perhaps the rule of survival of the fittest is in play.  If it really was worthy... wouldn't they see the need to invest in it?  If it's a case of wanting to be their own boss... well there are plenty of examples where people developed their own game on their own dime and time... takes freaking forever and a lot of dedication but it can be done.  People offer their services for free to get the work done.  Game gets made.  Wasn't about funding peoples paychecks but about making something they wanted to make.  Kickstarter is in-between the two... they still want to get paid and make a profit first... game is just a means to get there.

    It's not the same as a cup of coffee. It is terribly common to spend years on game development only to have a promising project dropped, or not break even when it ships. You're not going to miss breaking even on a cup of coffee. Leaps in tech, and the standards of visual fidelity have driven up the costs of gave development far beyond inflation and a raise in the price point. Costs are incredibly high. Most titles need to break into the millions to make any profit at all. Which is a tall order when you're not talking about something already well known. That risk is why we get such cookie cutter titles. Why make something new when we can safely sell the same thing over and over again?

    Big publishers make safe investments into popular franchises and genres. Military FPS, facebook games, IOS games, and sequels upon sequels. Adventures games are not mainstream. Nor is something akin to an old school Baldur's Gate, Fallout, or even something like Wing Commander. But there are people who would love make those games...as well as customers who would love to purchase and play them. A kickstarter allows a developer to judge interest, and fund the development as opposed to going to a publisher and having demands placed upon your game so that it may "appeal to a wider audience." Or be rejected altogether. Just because a publisher does not feel that a game can become a multi-billion dollar franchise does not mean that title should not be developed at all. 

    As far as working for free - Go ahead. But most of us need to get paid. 

  • aspekxaspekx Brandon, FLPosts: 2,167Member
    as for Kickstarter comparisons, while the material actions of the parties involved may be similar or even exactly alike, the intent is different. and intent does matter.

    "There are at least two kinds of games.
    One could be called finite, the other infinite.
    A finite game is played for the purpose of winning,
    an infinite game for the purpose of continuing play."
    Finite and Infinite Games, James Carse

  • winterwinter El Paso, TXPosts: 2,276Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by olepi
    Originally posted by tawess
    Originally posted by olepi
    Originally posted by tawess
    Originally posted by Dogblaster
    well written .. open beta is just an excuse for bugs and flaws the game has.

    But as i said.. At least they are open with it and not trying to hide it (as was the way before... I look at you Champion Online, with friends ofc)

     

    What are they "hiding" Olepi... It is in bold letter... BETA... as in not done yet... invest at your own risk.

    Do you have to buy the car before taking a test drive? Why won't they let you drive it first, and then decide to pay?

    Why charge for something that isn't finished? Do you pay for a meal that isn't fully cooked?

    Taking NW as an example: they have clearly released the game for the masses to play, and they are charging to play it. But they still want to call it beta, why? I think it is because they know the game isn't done, and has a lot of bugs, and they wouldn't be able to release it as is unless they could keep changing it. So they want the full benefit of release and charges, but also want the benefit of "hiding" the unfinished parts and the bugs behind the term "beta".

    Car... car..? No company let you drive the car before it is done due to automotive safety.

     

    As for the foods example it is more like being able to have early access to meals while the chef perfects the dish.. you will not have as good of a meal as the finished product but you will be able to eat it before the regular customer.

    But you did not answer my question (just rested your opinion)  would not releasing the game with the bugs be "hiding" it and you might be tricked to pay for a incomplete product. With the beta tag you know the game is not done and you can invest accordingly.

     

     


    And therein lies the devolution of MMO's; companies now think it is quite alright to release, yes release, and charge for games that are incomplete and buggy. And they do this on purpose, by using the label "beta". Do you think there will be a massive new release of NW for the "official" release date? That when they actually release the real product, that it will be dramatically better and different than the beta?

    Or is calling it "beta" just an excuse to release early, with all the bugs and unfinished content, and charge for it?

     

      Every MMO every released has been incomplete and buggy. None, not EQ, Not WoW, Not Rift etc were complete or bug free.. Sure Developers may try and soften launch nowadays with the words "Open beta", but the real truth is they have not gotten away with anything they haven't always done. Don't let the rose color glasses mislead you. Some games at launch were epic crap (AO being a good example) yet they still went on to do ok. Hell WoW its first month or 2 was down almost more then it was up. In all cases they charged and player paid for "Incomplete and buggy games"

  • Po_ggPo_gg Twigwarren, WestfarthingPosts: 2,714Member Uncommon

    Nicely written, and I agree, nowadays open beta is like the Cake, just with less topping :)

    PWE did the same with RaiderZ, after the (almost fully functional) closed beta they launched an open one without any beta key requirement (soft launch). And the real launch was so silent, that weeks after the game went live people still kept asking when will it launch, will there be wipes, etc...  If I'm not mistaken the launch was simply an entry on the main page, stating "We go live today." Between two sales promotion articles :)

     

    I think BadSpock's right, companies (an even more their pr departments) are terrified to announce launches as an official launch, and they're only hiding behind the "open beta" sign in case the game turns out buggy as hell. And if the open beta is smooth, they can still announce the Go Live state later... it's some kind of a failsafe to them.

  • nethervoidnethervoid xanex, CAPosts: 528Member
    Yep this is pretty much crap as far as I'm concerned. If you let people purchase your game or items from your cash shop, it's not a beta anymore. That is a very simple and obvious part of the definition of a release, e.g. getting customer revenue.

    nethervoid - Est. '97
    [UO|EQ|SB|SWG|PS|HZ|EVE|NWN|WoW|VG|DF|SWTOR]
    13k subs YouTube Gaming channel

  • nethervoidnethervoid xanex, CAPosts: 528Member
    Furthermore it's sad that games are being released in some pretty crappy and still shifting states while taking every dollar any customer will give them. War Thunder for example is doing this as well, but making pretty sweeping changes to their economy under the guise of 'beta'. lol

    nethervoid - Est. '97
    [UO|EQ|SB|SWG|PS|HZ|EVE|NWN|WoW|VG|DF|SWTOR]
    13k subs YouTube Gaming channel

  • KeletharKelethar La Mirada, CAPosts: 9Member

    This article makes me laugh because it's so damn true. All I kept thinking about was Ragnarok Online 2. Been playing this game for a while. As far as I know it's in "Open Beta" or "Launched" I forget which quote they're using right now. But the game has been out in SEA and Korea for a long time. The game has so many flaws it in with bugs and mechanics not working, lazy work done on translations and just over all lack of fluid game play. But yet they're taking $20 per large bag, which each character needs 3 and that's per character. Along with a well functioning cash shop. They can't quite make your tab target work or make things sit well on your character but they sure that got that shop working perfectly. 

     

  • asmkm22asmkm22 Anchorage, AKPosts: 1,788Member
    I'd give anything to see developers move back to a subscription model, and just focus on making a fun game rather than trying to monetize every little feature they can.

    These "betas" wouldn't even be an issue on a sub game.

    You make me like charity

  • reploidxreploidx Pittsburgh, PAPosts: 320Member
    Why are we acting like this has just now sprung up? There have been F2P korean grinder games back in the early 2000s that did this exact same thing, and stayed in "open beta" while taking money.
  • worldalphaworldalpha Milton, ONPosts: 403Member
    With our game, we are truly in Open Beta, as we plan to do a wipe before launch. We still have a few exploits being found, and so to be fair there will be a wipe. We have our Founder's Packs, which give the bonuses in Open Beta but again at launch. So, unlike the "open betas" mentioned in the article, we are I believe a true Open Beta.

    Thanks,
    Mike
    Working on Social Strategy MMORTS (now Launched!) http://www.worldalpha.com

  • WicoaWicoa LondonPosts: 1,602Member Uncommon
    I agree if your charging the general public then your on the market as far as I am concerned. Regardless of what position the company is claiming.
  • ArglebargleArglebargle Austin, TXPosts: 1,413Member Uncommon

    I recall an interview with a game developer who mentioned in passing, his game's beta and also, specifically, the game's marketing beta.   It's become a marketing schtick.  

     

    Given the many issues with Neverwinter, I can't see giving them any money at all.  But I am sure they know the percentage of folks who will just have to have...it...whatever  carrot that may be.

     

    I do suspect they will declare the game 'released' when they plop out the new races/character classes that are already nearly finished.   But you'll need new character slots for them right?   Only $6 a pop!

    If you are holding out for the perfect game, the only game you play will be the waiting one.

  • AndromedanAndromedan DrutenPosts: 7Member

    An industry adapts to demand and possibility, it knows no conscience or ethics. Mmo players are worse than gamblers and junkies; they are the most desperate and egotistical bunch there are, and will play anything if it provides the potential of attaining status and achievement in a surrogate reality. The reality has become so backwards, that instead of the industry buying our interest with quality games, we are buying and testing their crappy money-grabbing games for them, and saying thank you afterwards. This nonsense will only get worse, because of the desperation to be the first in a game, and having the best stuff and most power. 

    I used to be like this, until at one point I realized the above, and suddenly the desperation ended, and it was replaced with a certain understanding of the whole, and even empathy for the people who have enslaved themselves to mmos for whatever pain they are in.

    The industry would not look and behave like this if we were more detached from their grace.

  • HappyHanselHappyHansel Cedar Falls, IAPosts: 3Member
    Imagine being handed your bill in a restaurant by a waitress who says, "We hope you enjoyed your meal. But if not, you have no right to complain, because our restaurant is still in beta. Have a nice day."
  • AlBQuirkyAlBQuirky Sioux City, IAPosts: 3,828Member


    Originally posted by tawess
    But is it not better that they openly admit that the game is not done then pretending to have a "gold" game... after all the raking in of money will happen any way... And most betas.. even closed ones are pretty much just marketing tools any way these days.I guess soft launch will be the term that will be used in the future, but change does not happen over night.
    If your car runs, but has no back seat, would you pay for it? How about pants with no fly closure (zipper/buttons/snaps)?

    Why on earth would someone pay money for a game that is not technically "finished", ie: released?

    The problem stems from players lining up in droves to PAY companies for these unfinished games, letting them know loud and clear that we LOVE unfinished games! So much so that we will PAY companies for the privilege of playing them.

    Are we really that hard up for MMOs?

    - Al

    Personally the only modern MMORPG trend that annoys me is the idea that MMOs need to be designed in a way to attract people who don't actually like MMOs. Which to me makes about as much sense as someone trying to figure out a way to get vegetarians to eat at their steakhouse.
    - FARGIN_WAR

  • SenadinaSenadina San Diego, CAPosts: 896Member Uncommon
     
     
     

    image
  • DauzqulDauzqul Detroit, MIPosts: 1,402Member Uncommon

    I can't even tell the difference between open beta and official launch anymore.

    When Path of Exile officially launches, what will change? Will there be a wipe? No.

     

     

    Open Beta for me is Open Trial.

  • KeletharKelethar La Mirada, CAPosts: 9Member
    Originally posted by AlBQuirky

     


    Originally posted by tawess
    But is it not better that they openly admit that the game is not done then pretending to have a "gold" game... after all the raking in of money will happen any way... And most betas.. even closed ones are pretty much just marketing tools any way these days.I guess soft launch will be the term that will be used in the future, but change does not happen over night.

    If your car runs, but has no back seat, would you pay for it? How about pants with no fly closure (zipper/buttons/snaps)?

     

    Why on earth would someone pay money for a game that is not technically "finished", ie: released?

    The problem stems from players lining up in droves to PAY companies for these unfinished games, letting them know loud and clear that we LOVE unfinished games! So much so that we will PAY companies for the privilege of playing them.

    Are we really that hard up for MMOs?

     

    Personally my answer is Yes. Since I left WoW in Cata all i've been looking for is the next best MMO that will provide me with a great end game, with enough content to keep me busy and challenging raiding content. I'm still on the look to this very day. There's plenty of these half finished games that come out and yes we are paying for them. But honestly it's been a very long time since there was a really good MMO put out that provided us with all these things and a decent community to boot! These casual and month long mmo's that are just cash grabs really need to die out. Sadly I think there's a lot of people on the same hunt as I am and obviously some more than others. Those being the people spending so much money on founders packages that are playing and paying for an unproven game.

  • KareliaKarelia HeraklionPosts: 668Member
    This is indeed very true Mr Murphy
  • MadnessRealmMadnessRealm Montreal, QCPosts: 2,716Member Uncommon
    $40 for a freaking mount? For that price I can buy a bunch of full Steam games. Is it account-bound or character-bound?

    On subject now, I always found the excuse players came up with when something negative was said about their favorite game: "The game is in Beta, when the game launches it will be really different". It's a weird form of brainwashing for the fans that seems to allow the developers to get away with a poor launch or not delivering a working product. "It's a beta! But for $40 you can buy a good looking mount!".

    Ridiculous to say the least.

    ------
    Your daily dose of common sense since 2009!

  • MadnessRealmMadnessRealm Montreal, QCPosts: 2,716Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by BillMurphy
    No, SMITE is released now.  But they did this for a long time too.  Hell, I think DOTA2 still is.
     

     

    DOTA 2 is still in Beta, but I'd argue that DOTA 2 is an odd case. For one, everything in the Workshop is purely cosmetics and primarily made by the players (so players get a cut for each sales), I'm ignoring of course the spectator tickets for tournaments because I'm not entirely sure how those work, and then there's the Compendium where the sales goes to the IT3 Prize Pool.

     Valve seems intent on trying to ease the New Player Experience before launching the game (which is currently very harsh on new players). It's a wise choice in my opinion.

    ------
    Your daily dose of common sense since 2009!

  • VannorVannor YorkshirePosts: 2,968Member Uncommon
    Good ol' bill knew this would bring in some traffic :)
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