Back from NY, new business to look forward to

10 September, 2007 (12:30) | Business as usual, Game industry

Last week I had the privilege to meet with the guys from one of the hottest game development studios, and it was great. Our company will have to prepare for a new exciting project for multiple locations all over Europe. We’re looking at a major PR campaign and a development, debug and roll-out project in the next 6 months.

Another part of the job is beta testing upcoming games. This is really nice, almost every big game has a closed beta, a public beta and a public demo before the full game is released.  Playing the closed beta not only gets you in touch with the developers, but it also allows you to experience the game and estimate the popularity of the game and the time and resources you will have to invest in marketing.

The number of players in a closed beta is often below five hundred. The developers, friends, family and a select group of (marketing) partners plays the game, gives feedback on special forums and plays some more. Closed betas are great for a quick debug cycle, patching does not take long given the small number of players (and servers). Sometimes big clans are asked to join the beta to test competitive online gameplay.
The public beta is great for testing the game on a large number of different hardware/software combos. In the public beta is also time for further competitive online gameplay testing instead of the usual “public” gameplay. The demo is intended for marketing as the game should be final by the time the demo is released. Usually after the demo is released, the developers move on to the first patch and the software that’s not on the cd/dvd like serverside software.