Matrix Games Forums

Forums  Register  Login  Photo Gallery  Member List  Search  Calendars  FAQ 

My Profile  Inbox  Address Book  My Subscription  My Forums  Log Out

A point on "paying beta testers"

 
View related threads: (in this forum | in all forums)

Logged in as: Guest
Users viewing this topic: none
  Printable Version
All Forums >> [General] >> General Discussion >> A point on "paying beta testers" Page: [1]
Login
Message << Older Topic   Newer Topic >>
A point on "paying beta testers" - 6/25/2008 11:03:27 AM   
JudgeDredd


Posts: 8561
Joined: 11/14/2003
From: Scotland
Status: offline
Someone mentioned on a thread (and it's not been the first time it's been mentioned (by other posters)), that they refuse to buy games on release due to the state of the games on release, knowing full well there will be patches to follow.

So, would it not make sense for developers to charge less for the game on release, knowing that there will be patches and fixes required, and slowly (or abruptly) increase the price of the game based on it's stability after a month or two?

I don't know what percentage of people hold off on initial purchases compared to people who buy on release - it seems to be linked to how that person feels for the genre/subject matter, so it may be a moot point...the company selling the game may well make a fair bit on release day regardless of the people who will be waiting for the inevitable....but perhaps they would significantly increase their revenue on the first week by selling a lower price point....all the while making the public aware of the reason for the low price point and informing them it WILL get more expensive as time goes on.

Just thinking out loud.

Personally I buy a game on release if it's a subject or genre I'm into (I'm guided by my heart, not my head). Also, if I am aware of the developer...although to a lesser extent. So they probably wouldn't benefit from me if they implemented this change.
Post #: 1
RE: A point on "paying beta testers" - 6/25/2008 11:37:47 AM   
Hertston


Posts: 3564
Joined: 8/17/2002
From: Cornwall, UK
Status: offline
With the inevitable drift of PC gaming to a principally online direct sales marketing and sales set-up, certainly some changes are needed. I'd rather push people into releasing reasonably 'finished' games though, even if some later tweaking and the odd bug fix needs doing. Patches are inevitable, it can only ever be a matter of degree, and it should also be remembered that the quality developers often also include substantial additional material (as opposed to merely "what should have been in in the first place").

I like the Stardock model; get the game into a reasonably playable state then start selling it (full price) while in beta, giving 'pre-order' customers full access to that beta. Then give them an open forum where any attempt to release 'early' or unfinished will be ruthlessly exposed by a large number of people who actually have played it. It only works, of course, when you have confidence in the quality of the finished product sufficient to fork out before it's finished, which in their case I do. Looking to Matrix, I'd happily buy Panther, 2BY3 and Koios stuff in the same way. The only real trick is getting across that opening up beta/pre-orders does NOT constitute a 'release'; something SD seemed to have no trouble with.

We are all pretty familiar with the life cycle of games. It's a little different with the type of stuff posters here tend to play, and maybe a huge titles like CoD4 anything 'Sims' related, but basically most sales are made shortly after release and then tend to die away fairly quickly. One big advantage of the SD model is that word gets around BEFORE, and for a while before, that critical release period so there is essentially two bites at the cherry. If that word is favourable, you can have a smash hit based on word-of-mouth that would otherwise have seemed impossible. Look at SoaSE.. no Euro publisher would touch it prior to the US release. If it had just been announced with a few adverts in the previous month and then appeared on US shelves does anyone seriously think it would have done anything other than sink without trace? But, and here is the point, it ONLY works if the game is any good.



(in reply to JudgeDredd)
Post #: 2
RE: A point on "paying beta testers" - 6/25/2008 1:14:30 PM   
ird

 

Posts: 110
Joined: 1/5/2008
Status: offline
Another point (just thinking out loud too) - we've all been on these forums and seen people begging and begging for release dates for games. Then the games are finally released and these people are on again complaining about games being released before the bugs are ironed out.

How about charging a lower price for the initial game on release then charging for the first patch (so that the overall cost would be the same as it is now). This would give the companies a small army of unofficial beta testers and keep most people happy.
And I agree with Hertson - Matrix customers tend to be different to most gamers. The games we buy will tend to get a lot more use over a longer period than most 'popular' games that are on the market

(in reply to Hertston)
Post #: 3
RE: A point on "paying beta testers" - 6/25/2008 3:00:22 PM   
anvl

 

Posts: 259
Joined: 11/1/2005
Status: offline
Mount and Blade has a pretty interesting approach to this. they offer their game for sale as a beta,,and with each release of a beta,, closer to final, the price goes up until you reach the final release at full advertised price.  They have a good following for their game,and a full boat of modders who do new and upgraded mods for each beta release...

anvil


_____________________________

Deus subrisum stultusi et ferrari

(in reply to ird)
Post #: 4
RE: A point on "paying beta testers" - 6/25/2008 3:28:00 PM   
Grell

 

Posts: 1064
Joined: 4/1/2004
From: Canada
Status: offline
Well said Hertston.

Regards,

Greg



_____________________________


(in reply to Hertston)
Post #: 5
RE: A point on "paying beta testers" - 6/25/2008 7:01:45 PM   
pasternakski


Posts: 6565
Joined: 6/29/2002
Status: offline

quote:

ORIGINAL: Grell

Well said Hertston.

Regards,

Greg



Agree completely. As I am apparently the miscreant identified by type rather than by name by good ol' JD, please let me clarify a bit. I don't refuse to buy games because of the dreaded "paying beta tester" effect. It's just that I have been disappointed so many times that I feel I have no choice. Further, the situation seems to be getting worse rather than better.

I'd rather keep my dough in the bank rather than have it invested in something I can't use until it is repaired.

Would you buy a new refrigerator if you were aware that it wouldn't keep your food cold for at least a year until the manufacturer figured out what was wrong with it and fixed it? How about if the manufacturer could only discover what was wrong through complaints by customers who tried to use it only to have their food spoil - over and over again?

Not I anymore. I subscribe to the "fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me" school of thought.

_____________________________

Put my faith in the people
And the people let me down.
So, I turned the other way,
And I carry on anyhow.

(in reply to Grell)
Post #: 6
RE: A point on "paying beta testers" - 6/25/2008 7:29:10 PM   
pasternakski


Posts: 6565
Joined: 6/29/2002
Status: offline

quote:

ORIGINAL: JudgeDredd
So, would it not make sense for developers to charge less for the game on release, knowing that there will be patches and fixes required, and slowly (or abruptly) increase the price of the game based on it's stability after a month or two?

I think I like where this train of thought leads, Judge, but wouldn't the publisher kinda be selling short, so to speak? Hertston's invocation of Stardock's approach makes good sense, as well. I think we all are willing to pony up for a good, finished product. Are we willing to wait for it? Are game companies willing to hold off on selling games until they really are finished? I dunno. Maybe I'm just squirting in the wind, but I'm keepin' my money in my pocket, anyway.

Look, I want these companies to make money - the more the better. That way, maybe they'll krrp bringing new games our way that we'll enjoy. I have just gotten tired of buying freezeups, CTDs, and other terminal nastiness.

More grist for the mill: I think there's a difference between what is necessary to make the game stable and playable and what is added in order to make it better. The first should be minimized before release, and the second should be confined to a few big add-ons that ought to be as thoroughly tested as the original game itself. I realize that the line between the two is hardly sharp and clear.

Now, I will stick my foot into some stinkier doo-doo. I think that game design is negaatively affected, and the end product worsened, by going in with the idea that modding is part and parcel of what's being created (yes, I confess that I mod, too). I would prefer that the designers/developers confine themselves to getting the thing competently built and tested first, then think about the modding aspect later. When you are thinking, "This game dynamic, instead of working exactly this way as I am designing it, must be open-ended and alterable by the user," I think you are going to make bad decisions that will cause your game to be less than what it could have been, and possibly defective, to boot. Saying that, I fully realize that modding has become the 400-pound gorilla these days.

These are my impressions based on the years I have spent buying, playing, fiddling with, testing, documenting, and discussing these games and studying the business that creates them. Your experience may vary. Do not try this at home. Continued exposure may lead to children born with the head of a golden retriever or the condition known as "hot dog fingers." Women who are nursing should not use this product. If you experience nausea, vomiting, or itchy genitalia, notify your doctor.

_____________________________

Put my faith in the people
And the people let me down.
So, I turned the other way,
And I carry on anyhow.

(in reply to JudgeDredd)
Post #: 7
RE: paying beta testers - 6/25/2008 7:31:05 PM   
Marauders

 

Posts: 4428
Joined: 3/17/2005
From: Minnesota
Status: offline
There are two topic questions here: how are beta testers best used for better results, and should a game be released for public testing prior to launch?

I have been on beta teams where the developer organizes beta team members very well, respects their contributions, and promotes a team attitude.  I have been on beta teams where the developer treats beta team members like they are nothing more than automatons to do one's bidding.  Developers that have unpaid volunteer beta testers would be much better off by trying to do the former rather than the latter.  Whether paid or unpaid, beta team members are an important resource that must be used wisely for the best results.

From experience, I would have to say that having a larger open beta pool is a good idea for small developers.  This is especially the case if the beta team is relatively small.  In my opinion, it is generally not a good idea to have an open forum for public beta testing, as the test results may be used by those outside the testing to defame the game or otherwise use that as misinformation elsewhere. 

Once the game goes live, it is difficult to control these processes.  What constitutes a beta release or an update is much more subject to interpretation, and feedback becomes a part of the public record.  Because of this, public beta releases can be a double edged sword.

(in reply to Grell)
Post #: 8
Page:   [1]
All Forums >> [General] >> General Discussion >> A point on "paying beta testers" Page: [1]
Jump to:





New Messages No New Messages
Hot Topic w/ New Messages Hot Topic w/o New Messages
Locked w/ New Messages Locked w/o New Messages
 Post New Thread
 Reply to Message
 Post New Poll
 Submit Vote
 Delete My Own Post
 Delete My Own Thread
 Rate Posts


Forum Software © ASPPlayground.NET Advanced Edition 2.4.5 ANSI

0.109