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Beta participation and why it surprises me...


Sharza
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Hi community,

I really like these forums. There is a lot of constructive criticism and people try to help to make the game better, come up with good solutions, help in finding bugs etc. At the same time people have already bought this game, allowing the devs to relax a bit about funding (I hope) and focus on finishing the game properly and actually release it "when it's done"

This makes me wonder: a lot of games nowadays, often especially AAA titles, are released in a state that could barely be called anything more than a beta. They are buggy, not fully fleshed out, or include mechanics that the players don't like.

Could the concept of releasing a pay to play beta, that is cheaper than the full release actually help in avoiding the above mentioned flaws? As in: could this potentially be a strategy to release games that satisfy a larger crowd while also taking some of the pressure that devs seem to have away?

I would be happy to hear what you think about this.

Cheers :)

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The strategie is that some interested people can play this game in beta and give feedback to the devs what they could do better. Also the beta player track the bugs, so the devs just have to fix them. This simplifies the devs work and improves the game. I think Klei isn't really well known, but during the beta the people propagate this game. So there will be more customer on release.

Edited by Osterhasi
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I think it's smart, especially with Steam's buy 1 free 1 deal. But then there's the argument of "Who wants to pay for a buggy game?" that comes with pay to play a Beta version. I dunno.

To be fair, as it stands at the moment we are paying for buggy as @#%^ games that developers get pushed by their publishers to release before they are truly ready and even years post-release some of the real game-breakers still end up not getting fixed. I would rather pay for a beta and give the devs more time to get it right than have them call a game 'finished' because they were pushed to release it too early. That being said, does anyone remember the days when games were released without the game-crushing bugs that are so common in today's games, because back then patching was not really an option so the devs knew they had to get it right and get it right the first time?

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"Could the concept of releasing a pay to play beta, that is cheaper than the full release actually help in avoiding the above mentioned flaws? As in: could this potentially be a strategy to release games that satisfy a larger crowd while also taking some of the pressure that devs seem to have away?

I would be happy to hear what you think about this."

Of course it could, but triple A studios will never do this because people still buy their unfinished, shoddily-produced games as "finished" by the millions of units. Until people stop accepting this status quo, it will never change.

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Good afternoon,

The forums are indeed a place of friendly discussion and idea sharing between fellow survivors. The game has been in the top sellers of Steam a fair while (even numer 3 for a few days) and is currently still on the second page of it, so I think they have made atleast a fair bit of funding. The devs have also revealed that the game will get atleast 6 months of support post launch, so I would not worry too much about it ending up unfinished.

It is sadly true that many games these days end up being released with a whole lot of issues. A relatively cheap beta could help with the mentioned flaws, but I dont think it is an easy solution. Part of the reason why the beta is doing as great as it is (my opinion that is), is because the developers truly listen. The devs read most of the things posted on the forums and many made suggestion have been added in updates. Mechanics have been fine tuned because of received feedback and bugs have been fixed because of bug reports. In short, I believe that the idea has a lot of potential, but that it requires a fair bit of the players and devs in order to work.

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It also makes more sense for a indie developers because we are doing a lot of QA for them. They may be saving $50,000 on QA by releasing this beta to us.

A big company who has been developing for 2+ years with a total budget of 100 million could care less about saving $100k on QA though, and like I said earlier, people just buy it by the millions and then, even when it's garbage, by their next unfinished title by the millions too.

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I personally believe that a lot of the bugs we see in today's major titles are what are known as "professional bugs", meaning they are there because the developers are viewing making this game as a profession, as their job. Not because it's a labor of love or they genuinely care about the game. I think the development team for Don't Starve kind of view this game as their baby and really care about it. That makes all the difference in the world.

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First off, thank all of you for your opinions. I am glad so many of you took the time to respond.

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To be fair, as it stands at the moment we are paying for buggy as @#%^ games that developers get pushed by their publishers to release before they are truly ready and even years post-release some of the real game-breakers still end up not getting fixed. I would rather pay for a beta and give the devs more time to get it right than have them call a game 'finished' because they were pushed to release it too early.

This is exactly why I thought it might be a good idea to have Don't Starves model taken to other titles.

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That being said, does anyone remember the days when games were released without the game-crushing bugs that are so common in today's games, because back then patching was not really an option so the devs knew they had to get it right and get it right the first time?

Yes it is true, there was that time but back then, I think, hardware setups weren't as manyfold and neither were programs as complex as they have to be today. Today developers have to take sooo many more things into consideration.

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A big company who has been developing for 2+ years with a total budget of 100 million could care less about saving $100k on QA though,

On the other hand who would want to throw 100k out of the window, especially in a (mostly) capitalistic society and branch?

and like I said earlier, people just buy it by the millions and then, even when it's garbage, b(u)y their next unfinished title by the millions too.

While this is true I never cease to be amazed by customers. Peoples' shopping decisions could force devs or maybe rather the publishers to wait a bit longer. Still people don't seem to mind getting unfinished products or are just waaaaaaay to eager to get stuff early on as if their lives depended on it.

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"Who wants to pay for a buggy game?" that comes with pay to play a Beta version.

I'd rather play a "buggy" beta version, pay less for it and know what kind of deal I get than being taken for a ride by companies that claim to have finished a product. Next thing that happens they patch for months to come or just give a sh*t and leave you with your cra* game. I don't like being lied to and that is what some companies tend to do.

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"On the other hand who would want to throw 100k out of the window, especially in a (mostly) capitalistic society and branch?"

Whether they would want to if they thought about it and whether it happens are two different things. Having worked in QA for years, I can tell you that every single major company wastes more than this on the average AAA title.

They leave testers sitting for days on end with builds that don't work, for example.

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