I was trolling around on the SW:TOR boards and came across this thread where a poster asks:
bioware, will beta participants receive an exclusive reward in live for their beta participation?
He’s getting laughed at in the thread but I think it’s a decent question or rather raises a question of, “Who benefits most from beta testing?”
As a professional tester I’m awarded yearly by a rather large salary. Now the quality of my work isn’t what you’d get from the typical pimple-faced teen or unwashed twenty living at home or even smart people that work in other areas so it’s fair to say beta testers shouldn’t be making big money. You’re going to get a lot of feelings, obvious issues and sometimes impossible to reproduce issues because the beta tester isn’t sure what they did – why? They weren’t following a plan. They don’t have the experience to look into other causes. They might not have debugging skills. They might not even be all that familiar with computers.
The one benefit they get is that they can try out the software before it’s actually ready for release. Sometimes that’s not a benefit if you’re stuck with a lot of issues.
On the other hand, beta testing for MMOs (on the MMO side of things) is much like crowd sourcing the testing without really needing to pay much for it. It’s a massive benefit to the MMO creators because they get a lot of different hands using different system specs (can you imagine trying to create a lab with all the different system specs customers might be using?) and with varying experiences so a variable amount of quality in feedback which someone needs to sift through.
So who really benefits?
I’m leaning towards the MMO creator.
How hard is it to add a little something for the beta testers especially given the system for rewards is already in place for pre-orders?
Not that hard really. The main difficulty is that it should be something the testers value but doesn’t impact gameplay or people that didn’t have an opportunity to test.
Name in the credits?
Some in game title?
A color gem for their lightsaber or blaster shot?
Oh wait, I’m getting that third one for pre-ordering! It really was that drew me into pre-ordering – I was on the edge and almost went with not pre-ordering, but that color gem… I had to have it!