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Beta-Schmeta – Who Cares?

by on May 25, 2013

At the start of this console generation (late 2005), getting into betas was primarily an experience only PC gamers got to enjoy. Not only that, betas were rare. Fast forward to today, May 2013, and beta is a huge buzzword. Almost every major game today has a multiplayer beta. People go nuts trying to get a beta code for the ‘next hottest game’, only to play the game for 5 minutes and then talk about how much it sucks.

The point of a beta is for users to stress servers and look for bugs. In other words, gamers are supposed to test the game. It isn’t a demo. It isn’t meant for gamers to judge whether it is a good game or not. But gamers see it as a demo. Therefore, when they don’t like it and stop playing it, testing haults. And when testing haults, any reason for the beta to exist is immediately ceased.

Why do developers keep releasing betas?
I don’t know. Unless the beta is solid, it hurts the game more than it helps. Over the last few years I’ve played a lot of betas, but I’ve only enjoyed two, Halo: Reach, and Gears of War 3. Each were games I was buying regardless of my experience with the beta, but putting that fact aside, the beta for each game were good, really good. However, I can’t remember the last time I played a beta and became interested in the game.

The novelty has worn off. I no longer care about playing a beta for every game. Most of the time the beta is for a game I don’t even like.