The article is from MMOCrunch
The Never-Ending Pay2Play Beta Phase
June 12th, 2008 by Geoff
Everything goes into some sort of beta phase these days whether it#DY#s a website, an MMO, a single player video game, or even a product. Beta has become a natural phase for nearly everything we buy and consume today and despite our favorite MMOs going through a rather lengthy closed and open beta process it appears that even upon the official release we are really just transitioning into yet another beta phase: the paid beta.
Now, as we are entering into the next wave of upcoming MMORPGs it appears that this mantra is holding true even more so than in previous years. Back when World of Warcraft was first released it was arguable to say that you were just paying for a beta. After all, all games need to go through these phases and there are likely to be bugs in any MMORPG that gets released. However, what with MMORPGs getting more and more advanced we are starting to see these "pay to play beta" beta phases get dragged out longer and longer. While the World of Warcraft eventually tied down most major bugs, even they must issue patches every few months to keep the bugs down. It#DY#s an interesting problem that probably doesn#DY#t have a permanent solution.
Of course, games having bugs is nothing new to the video games industry. Don#DY#t believe me? Go back and put in any old NES or Atari 2600 game you can find and you#DY#ll notice that there were tons of graphical and physical bugs that made for surprisingly glitchy game play. Back then, however, these were natural occurrences that you just had to accept and ignore as there was no way to get any sort of update. If fact, the first time we did really start to notice how buggy games were was when the first graphical MMORPGs started appearing on the internet which enabled the ability for devs go back and polish their game even after release in order to appease the player base. Before the standard MMO the whole concept of patching was relatively alien to the industry.
Today we have games, MMO and non-MMOs, that are patched regularly and while some games may eventually be considered to be fully patched and complete without bugs, I#DY#d be willing to bet that we are getting awfully close to that becoming yet another part of history. This of course raises an almost philosophical question: if a game an MMO is constantly being patched and fixed can it ever truly be considered complete? I don#DY#t think so...
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