Video Game Betas


by Jonah Grimes

Generation after generation of new video games are coming out across the world. With these new games come plenty of glitches, bugs, crashes, and other faulty mechanics. To deal with these issues developers have started to use video game alphas and betas to get their audience involved in and test out the game. Betas and alphas are used for many different reasons like getting feedback on problems with the game, building an audience to increase sales, giving fans a taste of what’s to come, and building more hype than the audience would get from trailers.

The big questions surrounding alphas and betas today is whether they actually help the development process? Do the developers listen to the feedback? Should they be open to public or is closed to a select few? Will they continue to be used in the future?

Plenty of students around Oakdale have played betas or have enough knowledge of them to understand and give their opinions on the matter.

“They were both pretty fun and interesting to say the least. It’s always nice to get a look at the development process,” stated Senior Brendon Thomas when asked how his experience was when playing a beta.

Some people find betas to be fun and a nice little taste of what’s to come while others actually like it better than the final product.

“It was very exciting and in my opinion better then the final product,“ stated Senior Joseph Grimes about the video game beta of Gears of War 3.

Betas have been around for generations, and they have continued to play a part in the development of games. Most times developers ask the beta testers to give feedback and report and bugs or faulty mechanics that they may come across when playing.

“Gamers are faced with problems, glitches, bugs, spawning, unbalanced weapons, unfair team distribution, bad maps,” exclaimed Junior Jared Rohe when listing off problems people see in betas.

People have wondered if betas actually help developers learn about the problems in their games or if the betas are just there to let people see how far a game is into development: “Yes because it gives them feedback to help fix problems,” stated Junior Autumn Probst.

Some people argue that developers don’t listen to this feedback at all while others believe that issues that they faced in the beta have been resolved in the final product.

“From what I’ve seen in most cases, yes, they do through patches and from the feedback,” stated Junitor Brian Herman when asked if developers actually respond to the feedback that testers send them.

Many developers release betas through pre-orders, on early copies of games that have already shipped or through a selection process. In the end there are two types of betas, open and closed. Open betas are released to anyone and everyone while closed betas are for selected groups that are given permission to play. Many fans argue whether betas should always be open or always be closed.

“It honestly depends if there is a special way to get it keep it closed if it’s a special event make it open,” stated Junior Jordan Goodman when asked for his opinion on the subject.

Betas and alphas have become a huge part of gaming and everyone is wondering if they will still be used in the near future.

“I’m not sure but I believe they should be because they engage the community and betas should be released earlier and actually be more like betas rather than demos,” exclaimed Thomas when asked what he believed concerning the future of betas.

From what I’ve seen betas and alphas are still to this day a fun and helpful experience in the gaming community and I believe they will continue to be used in the future.