For the past few weeks I have been spammed, yes, spammed with offers from ArenaNet for access to the latest beta of Guild Wars 2 if I pre-order the game.
According to dictionary.com the definition of Beta Test is : Computers . a quality-control technique in which hardware or software is subjected to trial in the environment for which it was designed, usually after debugging by the manufacturer and immediately prior to marketing.
According to Wikipedia: In computing the term ‘beta’ is used as (usually) the last pre-release in the Software release life cycle. It is sometimes referred to as 0.x in version numbers or x.x bx where x represents a number.
According to current marketing strategies, Beta is now early access to the game when you pre-order the game.
At Blizzcon 2011, Blizzard announced their new promotion where you would receive beta access to the latest World of Warcraft expansion and a free copy of Diablo III for anyone who agreed to commit to a yearlong subscription. Since then it seems most new games being released are offering access to Beta if you pre-order the game.
The Secret World was recently release and as with many other games, offered open Beta access for pre-ordering the game. Several people have posted reviews on the game based on the beta access. Some of these reviews indicate how they the reviewer would not be continuing with the game based on that early access (Tobold’s Blog). Others did indicate they would continue to play the game. One in particular from Paganrites indicates how the beta experience almost turned them off the game but they did continue on into the live game and did not regret in the slightest.
Is this early access to the game through the Beta actually hurting the games? Do people get turned off by an unfinished product that does not actually represent the released game?