The Daily Grind: When should a game lose the 'beta' defense?

Obviously this is pretty buggy.
There are people who will cry that a game is "just a beta" right up until the day before a launch. There are also people who will proclaim that a game should have been ready for prime time as soon as players were let loose in the playground, even if release is a day away. There appear to be no methods to counteract these two stances. But there is a happy medium somewhere, isn't there? Final Fantasy XIV launched largely clear of bugs despite its brief beta; Cataclysm had a normal beta but still arguably launched in a mid-beta state.

Realistically, if a game is suffering from glaring performance issues or enormous bugs when it's a month from launch, these things will not be fixed in time for launch. The few games that have tried to do launch-day patches (such as Champions Online) rarely go over well. But it's hard to know how much work fixing something will take. So when does a game lose the defense of "it's just a beta"? When release is announced? When there's one month remaining? Two? Does it depend on the size of the bug or the issue?

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This article was originally published on Massively.