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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

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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Charles Geringer
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I would argue that while the player who already paid, may "just play the game" They might also decide "I have already paid for this, so I will do my best to ensure I will get the best possible game for my money"

As for beta being "a privilege and a reward. You were picked in a lottery, for being loyal, and/or you were picked based on system specifications." You ARE being rewarded for being Loyal, since you are saying trough you pre-order that you trust the game-maker enough to show support early trough your wallet. A pre-order is a significant vote of confidence since games get cheaper(and arguably better due to mods and bug fixes) with time.

As for choosing someone based on their specs. I think at least sometimes it should be the opposite. If most of your fans that like you well enough to preorder your game have some specs, those are the specs you should make sure can run your game(even if you want the recommended specs to be higher, you should try to make sure the minimum make sit feasible for your fans to play your game)

Charles Geringer
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I Would like to add to my previous comment that I do not think beta testers should be drawn exclusively form customers who pre-order.

Michael Lubker
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A lot of developers don't have the resources to give their game away/risk early piracy.