The failure of the beta defense

There are always people willing to defend a game, no matter what its flaws. You could have a game where the fundamental means of communication was broken for two months straight, and it would still have fans piping up and explaining why that isn't such a big deal. But with one high-profile game (Star Trek Online) finishing its beta, and several others slated to finish or start theirs, one of the classic defenses for a game's problems is losing much of its strengths: "well, it's still in beta."

Some of you may well recall our recent feature on betas, in which several developers alternately lamented and stated that the "open beta" is now essentially nothing more than a preview. Bio Break expounds on this point, noting that more often than not the defense of "it's just a beta" would only be valid if there was some large launch-day patch on deck to fix everything. Those patches, it's worth noting, occupy the same space as unicorns and fairies.

Broken parts of a game in open beta, more often than not, now mean that there will be something broken in the game at launch. That doesn't mean that the developers aren't working on fixing things, but it does mean that defending the beta as sacrosanct is lacking validity.