General Category > The Last Federation

New Tactics on the Alpha/Beta ?

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The problem with the Wii U is that it's self-inflicted. Nintendo has one of the best software lineups of any company on the planet. They could put it on any hardware they want and make zillions of dollars.

Instead they go around making hardware that will be obsolete in two weeks, give it a gimmick most people don't get and a totally bungled marketing campaign, overcharging for it, and shackling their software to the Nintendo Hardware Tax.

That's why they stopped getting money form me. I'm sick of buying hardware that gets used for Mario and Zelda and then collects dust for years. If they want my money for their games, they can put them on hardware that I actually want.

Fair enough.

As for the alpha group... I don't know. Bionic Dues is a good game. The alpha group didn't try to change it from the kind of game it was when we got it, but we did give a lot of feedback on bugs, polish, and "this gun can blow up the entire map so maybe that's a balance issue" problems. :)

I don't see how a wider testing group would have changed that, since if you believe that the game didn't catch on because of the game itself, those decisions were made before the testers got their hands on it. If you believe the game is good and just didn't get noticed in a crowded market, that's not the testers fault either (in some ways that's not even PR's fault, I saw coverage on some good sites).

In this case I just can't point to anything the testers did that made the game more "niche" than it started off as.

I think Bionic's alpha went absolutely great and fulfilled all its goals, with the one exception that I didn't really understand just how hard it was to slog through the customization stuff until post-release.  Even there, one of the testers was pretty blunt about the problem on mantis and I basically just figured "well, it's just one guy so it's probably not something I need to spend a lot of time fixing, and it would take a lot of time".  And then of course he was proven very right ;)  So there the problem wasn't so much with the testing but that I didn't take the feedback seriously enough.  If I'd escalated it to a forum discussion to see if there was more than one person who felt that way, that might have become more evident.

Even there, we didn't really get dinged for the customization in the reviews I saw (some mentioned the tedium, but didn't list it in a summary of cons or whatever).

Nah, the operative problems with Bionic's sales don't really include the game or testing phase.

Personally, I'm in favor of like a 2-week public beta after the alpha, when we would normally just release it.  But there are significant tradeoffs to that approach, and I don't really have a strong argument that it's worth it.

A public beta is fine, just make sure you advertise  a release date.

Seems like lots of "Betas\Alphas" seem to be releasing on a "when its done" release schedule, and that makes people squeemish


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