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Why I refuse to Preorder a Game to Enter the Beta Test

by Michael Hahn on 11/17/11 11:36:00 am

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The following blog post, unless otherwise noted, was written by a member of Gamasutra’s community.
The thoughts and opinions expressed are those of the writer and not Gamasutra or its parent company.


Over the past few years it is becoming common place for companies to offer their communities access to the beta test only by preorder. I refuse to purchase any game early for that incentive. The reason of a beta test is to find bugs and to fix the game based on feedback of the community. Being selected to be part of a beta test of a game is supposed to be a privilege and a reward. You were picked in a lottery, for being loyal, and/or you were picked based on system specifications.

No game company should ever require it's customers to purchase a game to enter the beta test. I begin to worry about the overall decision of the marketing team who decided that was the best course. If the game never lives up to the hype at the final product stage, you can lose your fans. A beta tester is supposed to provide feedback on the game. If the tester already purchased the game as part of the incentive to join the beta, they may feel entitled to ignore the test, and just play the game.

I always joined beta tests to play the game that I may purchase in the future. I wanted to see what the game has to offer in terms of story and game play. I would give the feedback based on my experiences when needed. If the game is good and continues to get better the buzz from the beta tester will sell the game.

Is the beta test skewed when the loyal customer preordered the game to enter the beta?



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