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Gamers “misunderstanding the term ‘beta test’”: DICE

Friday, 7th October 2011 09:59 GMT By Johnny Cullen

DICE’s Patrick Liu has come back at those criticising the open beta of Battlefield 3, saying it’s “misunderstanding” the meaning of the concept of a beta test.

EA opened up the Battlefield 3 beta last week to PS3, 360 and PC, but has been criticised from some corners because of it coming with some bugs.

“Yeah, I think there’s been a misunderstanding of the term ‘beta test’,” Liu told The Guardian.

“We ran the alpha tests with a rush map and we wanted to have some sort of reference so we could compare results – so we needed to have more-or-less the same map. But we do understand the concerns that we didn’t show a conquest map, but we have demoed Caspian Border, and we did run a conquest map as a limited PC-only test.”

The beta, according to the game’s producer, is more aimed at having the online backend ready and able for the end of the month, having seen heavy launches with the releases of Battlefield 1943 in 2009 and Bad Company 2 last year.

“Yeah, we just wanted to know it wouldn’t crash and burn at launch,” he said.

“It was horrible with Battlefield 1943 – it sold ten times the numbers we thought it would, and it was down for three or four days which is really bad. We don’t want to go through that again.”

As for the future of spin-off series Bad Company, Liu played coy.

“Well, we haven’t killed Bad Company! But we can only make so many games. Be patient – there might be something else coming up…”

Battlefield 3 launches on October 25 in the US and October 28 in the uK for PS3, 360 and PC.

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32 Comments

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  1. horse

    EA – Eventually Acceptable

    #1 3 years ago
  2. Fin

    Obviously it’s a “true” beta, but DICE should’ve realised given the past few years of actually-final-but-we’ll-call-it-beta or non-buggy-beta releases, people wouldn’t be expecting it to be a buggy mess.

    Like I’ve said before though, a beta this buggy shouldn’t've been released to the public (or released as alpha stage two, rather than beta).

    #2 3 years ago
  3. Eregol

    The purpose of a beta is to get test results from a proper play environment.
    In essence you’re having the public do your playtesting for you.
    Don’t go into a beta expecting it to be perfect, that would never happen.

    #3 3 years ago
  4. GrimRita

    My god what a prick. Gamers are not as stupid as you are DICE. But if you have an ‘open beta’, you have to accept it could be some peoples first experience of beta and you should have outlined your goals prior to beta going live.

    Battlelog is a mess – deal with it and you have created THE most user UNfriendly experience to come to a triple A FPS. Congrats.

    #4 3 years ago
  5. NiceFellow

    Not fully DICE’s fault but the console gamer has been conditioned at this point to expect something different from a Beta this close to launch.

    Releasing an “Open Beta” this close to launch I would advise is now a bad idea unless you feel your code is actually already in pretty good shape via a closed beta and other testing.

    The majority of gamers clearly feel an open beta is either a demo or simply a stress test for already stable and proven code.

    Going up against background this with the code DICE used was asking for trouble – and they got it.

    #5 3 years ago
  6. viralshag

    I think the only thing they handled incorrectly was the timing of the Beta, where no doubt many people would be using the experience as a demo.

    I for one have found the beta to enjoyable and I think the game’s great. It’s buggy but I haven’t found it “unplayable” in anyway. That’s on the PC anyway, I tried the 360 beta and that was pretty bad in terms of comparison.

    #6 3 years ago
  7. OrbitMonkey

    Dice- “we misunderstood what gamers think a beta test a month from launch is” would be mor3 appropriate ;)

    #7 3 years ago
  8. noherczeg

    One simple question:

    Why don’t they patch the beta then to represent the current state of the game?

    This makes NO SENSE at at, to pull out a 2 month old (alpha) build to show it to the public. What about “new” bugs? They said they’ve fixed the majority of the issues of the current beta build but what about the other things wich we can’t even see?

    Also if they wanted to test the backend why not show Caspian Borders with let’s say 64 players huh? Don’t tell me, that a bullshitting map like Métro is the best way to test the backend….

    I was soooooo hyped about this game, but the mentality and Battlelog made me almost cancel my preorder…

    #8 3 years ago
  9. Ireland Michael

    The fact that people think that these kind of games can just magically launch working perfectly is hilarious.

    Everyone was expecting a demo. What the got was an actual beta test. And yes, beta tests are regularly behind in-house builds. This always them to fix things they never could have caught without a live build.

    “The majority of gamers clearly feel an open beta is either a demo or simply a stress test for already stable and proven code.”

    Then “the majority of gamers” are idiots, frankly.

    #9 3 years ago
  10. noherczeg

    @9

    “Then “the majority of gamers” are idiots, frankly.”

    What beta test is a beta test, when people who participate in it receive no modification/fixing/tweaking while it lasts?

    People are not raging because it’s buggy. They are raging because 2 weeks have passed and nothing has changed, only DICE said that “bugs are fixed”. The bugs wich we know exist in a 2 month old build. That’s why pointed out that the “now” doesn’t matter since the beta test would have been more accurate/worthy if there would be even a minor progression in it and not just Stealth analysis.

    #10 3 years ago
  11. Hunam

    To be honest, DICE/EA are just massively naive if they thought that people wouldn’t use this as a demo. Having it massively broken is just stupid because everything you do is part of the marketing machine, I’d expect EA to know better.

    #11 3 years ago
  12. Ireland Michael

    @10 “What beta test is a beta test, when people who participate in it receive no modification/fixing/tweaking while it lasts?”

    You mean other than the numerous beta fix posts that DICE have put up, right?

    @11 “To be honest, DICE/EA are just massively naive if they thought that people wouldn’t use this as a demo.”

    To be honest, people are incredibly stupid if they don’t understand the difference between the word “beta” and “demo”. It’s very rudimentary English. Last time I checked, the file on the store had the word beta in its, and not demo. That’s all they people should need to understand its purpose.

    #12 3 years ago
  13. noherczeg

    @12

    “You mean other than the numerous beta fix posts that DICE have put up, right?”

    Yes the ones wich I still can’t see in my current beta build.

    #13 3 years ago
  14. mojo

    Gamers: DICE misunderstanding the term “consumer friendly product”

    Get rid of origin, dont force user to login to some website before plaing, provide an ingame menü and server brwoser and everysthing is fine.

    #14 3 years ago
  15. Ireland Michael

    @14 Now that I can agree with. Logging into a website to access a game is pretty damn retarded.

    #15 3 years ago
  16. Colin Gallacher

    @14 I imagine that DICE has very little to to do with Origin implementation…

    #16 3 years ago
  17. freedoms_stain

    @8, it’s a 2 week beta, know how long it takes to push a patch through Microsoft and Sony’s BS?

    #17 3 years ago
  18. noherczeg

    #17

    It came out as a more than 1 month old build. They’ve had theyre time.

    Oh and you really don’t need to fight me on this because I personally won’t cancel my preorder, I just only wanted to share my thoughts that’s all :)

    #18 3 years ago
  19. Ireland Michael

    @17 Don’t expect any major patching on the 360 side unless they release “Update Packs” on the Marketplace. The 360′s patching abilities are incredibly limited.

    These changes are obviously being saved for the final build.

    #19 3 years ago
  20. DrDamn

    @18
    “They’ve had theyre time.”

    Yeah it’s not like they’ve had anything better to do is it? No big game releases to get out of the door or any shit like that?

    #20 3 years ago
  21. Yoshi

    Then maybe next time don’t use an open beta for marketing, then people won’t misunderstand!

    #21 3 years ago
  22. jagger

    A lot of gamers are IT techies and know very well software development. A beta represents the quality of a software before launch, a beta is a preliminary release of the latest or final build.
    DICE is saying they are testing their backend stuff, soliciting feedback and getting gamer’s first impression using an outdated and buggy BF3 build? Only dodgy developers would think like this.

    #22 3 years ago
  23. Ireland Michael

    “A beta represents the quality of a software before launch.”

    No, it doesn’t. Not by a long shot.

    #23 3 years ago
  24. mojo

    16:
    fair point. but u get the idea.
    at the end of the day its not the customer who has to figure this out. At the end of the day its battlefield requiring origin or u cant play it.

    #24 3 years ago
  25. freedoms_stain

    @18, that’s right, it came out as a month old build, because that’s how long it takes to get code through console certification. Now, that should answer the question you ignored.

    #25 3 years ago
  26. Fin

    Yis are all arguing about the definition of beta and such, it doesn’t matter.

    If the consumer expects an open beta to be a bug-free demo, and it’s not, well they’re going to be disappointed. If they’re wrong about the definition of a beta, or the build is old, that doesn’t matter.
    The damage is done from a PR perspective. Players have grown to expect demo quality from a beta, especially this close to release. Not delivering that means the players feel let down. At that point, it could be a six-month old alpha, nobody will care, because the beta will be “Oh, that beta was really buggy so I decided not to buy it day one”.

    Re: Beta quality
    Yeah a beta’s going to be buggy, but it should be fairly solid, mainly minor fixes, edge case and polish before RC. It shouldn’t be the buggy mess the BF3 beta is. [that's in relation to standard game dev - I'm not sure how the word applies to MMOs]

    #26 3 years ago
  27. NiceFellow

    @26 totally agree and that’s my point too. Whatever the audience expect is what they’re going to judge you on. You could call it an early Alpha test but if the audience is going to treat it like a demo and judge it as such then they will.

    The bottom line is developers need to be very mindful of the user’s mindset and only act accordingly. In this instance DICE either needed to use much more recent code as part of a stress test Beta or use this code earlier as part of a much more obvious Beta test or simply not have an open Beta test at all and do it all via invite with people who’ve signed up and in principle know what they’re participating in.

    Particularly on console vs PC I think this is crucial. I’m fairly sure (although I can’t be positive) that an average PC gamer is going to be much clearer about what a Beta test even is than your average console gamer.

    I really feel DICE simply don’t know their console audience nearly well enough and got it wrong.

    #27 3 years ago
  28. OrbitMonkey

    @27 Their really is no distinction between the pc/console crowd when It comes to the negative reception of this beta. I’d say its about 50/50, with maybe a few more on the pc side, cuz of Origin.

    Simple lesson here is don’t release a beta for marketing, If theirs real bugs to be ironed out. The Uncharted 3 online beta starts soon. Let’s see how buggy that is. I’m betting it’ll be as smooth as silk compated to BF3.

    #28 3 years ago
  29. ManuOtaku

    For me it doesnt matter if it is a beta close to the retail release of the tittle, or if there is a confusion between beta and demo, i think it is a beta, therefore can someone tell me which beta was bug free prior this one?, or which beta did had a quality close to a demo?,if people cannot think about anything on those lines then really is their fault for expecting things that are not common in this industry and this type of format IMHO.

    Therefore i believe this beta fulfill its primary objective, test things the dev did need to test, and give us a glimpse of a unfinished product like a normal beta does, it doenst matter if it is one week prior to release or a year before, that is why it is a beta and not a demo.

    #29 3 years ago
  30. mojo

    i could deal with everything else, but not with origin.
    1. the Terms of agreement are a beat in ur face.
    2. where do we end up if every other game and publisher has its own whatever-origin-is-other-than-spyware type of software?

    #30 3 years ago
  31. JGaLaXY815

    It’s a shame where this beta has taken some gamers, two of my close friends were so excited about this game, then they got the beta, thinking it was gonna be like a final product of the game or like an actual demo…and they’re mad about how it bad it looks for the 360, and they’re saying it’s not as smooth as cod, they’re gonna buy mw3 now, but i’m gonna still buy bf3, i judge this beta as what the game potentially can be, I think when its released and all those 90 scores on metacritic come out, people are gonna regret all the bashing they’ve done to it…

    #31 3 years ago
  32. OrbitMonkey

    Lol, like BF3 was ever gonna get less than 90… Theirs not any journo’s with the balls 5o downmark the big guns of Acti/EA.

    #32 3 years ago