I’m all for exclusivity. This is after all what largely sells a platform, or at least makes it all that more appealing for the consumer. We’ve seen some very tasty exclusives this gen, some that even have me turning my head from time to time. Timed exclusives are also deal-worthy too, depending on the target audience and the game’s interest, of course. I mean, Crash Bandicoot and Rise of the Tomb Raider are just two examples of decent platform timed-gates, despite the latter not doing very well on Xbox One. Though, what about Betas?
I’ve never understood why the hell a Beta needs to be exclusive if the game is releasing on several platforms. I’m not a technician and I’m certainly not a business man, but I fail to grasp who the hell this is really helping? I mean let’s take Monster Hunter: World as our first example. That game offered an exclusive Beta on the PlayStation 4, despite the fact that the full game was also releasing on the Xbox One. Did we endure some launch issues when it released on Xbox One? Hell yes we did, networking issues and some minor tech problems.
Would this have happened if the Xbox One also enjoyed a Beta? Probably not. The same applies to Fallout 76, being that Xbox One owners are getting a (timed) exclusive Beta before PlayStation 4 and PC players. Can someone help me out here? Who does this really benefit? Surely it cannot sell the hardware? Would you race out and trade-in your console or buy a new one just to get a few hours worth of time in a Beta? Likely not. What it does is alienate the alternate gamers and leaves the game open to more issues when it launches.
Most Betas take place so that developers can stress-test their server loads, meaning that they can see how well the game responds to high player traffic. Though, Betas are also well known for bug squashing. Players find hundreds of bugs a whack whenever a Beta is live, which helps the developers identify them and squash them prior to release. Now, I don’t care what platform a Beta is exclusive to or whether it’s full-on exclusive or timed, it’s counter productive in my humble opinion. Unless I’m missing something in all of this?
Betas are sent out to improve the final product quality of a game, so by gating that off (for however long) to a specific platform of gamers, it’s not doing that product any favors elsewhere. Timed Betas are a bit easier to forgive but even then, I cant quite comprehend the ideology behind it. Surely it would be more beneficial for a developer to have as many hands on deck for as much time as possible across all platforms? Or maybe I’m simply reading into this too much and I’ve failed to see some bigger picture that often alludes me.
I cant help but feel as though exclusivity should be saved for full games and full content drops, when applicable. Like I said it helps to shift the hardware and on that score alone, the concept is justified. I just fail to believe that Betas alone will shift much, if any, hardware at all. That being said I cant say that I ever get involved in Betas all that frequently. Early Access/Game Preview is another matter entirely, as games subject to these concepts are being built alongside the community’s feedback. Ark: Survival Evolved is a good example.
Though with that to the side, that game seemed to spend more time making new content than actually fixing known issues. Anyway my fellow gamers. What about you? Do you see the need for exclusive Betas? Timed or full-on? Maybe there’s some insight that you can share with us that showcases how this is more beneficial than allowing everyone to play at the same time, for the same time, to help identify issues pre-launch? If you have anything to say on the matter, feel free to jump to the comment section to make yourselves heard.