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

Eliot Lefebvre

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?

Every morning, the Massively bloggers probe the minds of their readers with deep, thought-provoking questions about that most serious of topics: massively online gaming. We crave your opinions, so grab your caffeinated beverage of choice and chime in on today's Daily Grind!

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