Closed Beta vs Open Beta

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eyebo
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Closed Beta vs Open Beta

Post by eyebo » 04 Dec 2012, 20:28

I don't want to derail the Questions and Answers topic with a "discussion". So I'm starting a new topic. :thumbsup:
eyebo wrote:I might be being ignorant. Or maybe I'm just nitpicking at words.

But I received an email with three promo codes today good to be redeemed for 30 day keys. Thanks for that! :thumbsup:

The strange thing, and the reason I've written this post, was that the email said "ShootMania Storm Closed Beta".

I thought Storm was currently in an "Open Beta" phase. I always associated "Closed Beta" with being limited to a small group of people who were specifically invited. ShootMania Storm is open to anyone who wants to preorder it, so it would seem that it's not "Closed" or limited, because anyone who has the means is able to take part in it.

When I first saw the email I thought I had been invited into a preview of the upcoming Beta2. But upon further inspection, I can see this seems to be a promo code that is redeemed for a normal 30 day key for access to the current version of the game.

So, my question: Is ShootMania Storm considered to be in "Closed Beta" or "Open Beta" right now?
Cerovan wrote:It's a closed beta because you can't go to the official site and get directly a beta key, you need to preorder the game or win a 1month beta key on an external site :thumbsup:
Thanks for the reply Cerovan. I can certainly see the reasoning behind that. I mean, it's not totally open in that it's not free. You have to pre-order the game to get in early on the Beta. Or, as you say, some people are waiting on winning a 30 day key from an external site.

But the idea that anyone can pre-order the game and get it now, also means it's open to anyone who wants to get it. There is no barrier to entry, other than money.

Part of my confusion comes from the fact that TM2 Canyon had a Closed Beta which was for a few hundred people. And then later there was a Beta that was open to everyone who pre-ordered Canyon. Everyone I talked to called it an Open Beta. I can't remember if you guys at Nadeo called it that or not. But it became widely understood that it was open to anyone who wanted to play it.

Not that Wikipedia is always right, but I did find this quote:
Wikipedia wrote:closed beta versions are released to a restricted group of individuals for a user test by invitation, while open beta testers are from a larger group, or anyone interested.
[...]
Open betas serve the dual purpose of demonstrating a product to potential consumers, and testing among an extremely wide user base likely to bring to light obscure errors that a much smaller testing team might not find.
(Source)

Judging purely from that definition, it seems to me that ShootMania Storm is technically in an Open Beta stage right now.

Then again, I suppose you can call it whatever you like. :) I remember on the photo sharing site Flickr, they had a Gamma stage to their development of the site. So developers seem to come up with whatever names they like. :)

I'm not a developer. I don't develop software. And the testing phases of Canyon and Storm are the only ones I've ever taken part in. So I'm certainly not an expert in the field. I recognize that.

But the reason I'm motivated to write this post is that I am eternally curious about words and the meaning behind them. The etymology of words and phrases and the history of their usage in culture is especially interesting. If words mean different things to different people, it makes it much more difficult to communicate.

It's really at the root of understanding other people, to understand how and why they used a certain word instead of another.

Edit: I just talked with some guys on IRC about this topic. One of them, Tuta, brought up a good point. Calling it a "Closed Beta" could be more of a marketing strategy since people are more likely to play a game which they've been invited to if it is in "Closed Beta", because it implies that it's more exclusive.
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Re: Closed Beta vs Open Beta

Post by BigBuddha » 04 Dec 2012, 21:15

Well I just had a quick look on the meanings of "open" and "close". Source at hand: Oxford Advanced Dictionary :D
closed: limited to a particular group of people; not open to everyone
open: not blocked by anything
open to s.th.: to be available and ready to use
If we put this together and combine it with the beta stage (I suppose we all agree on what a "beta stage" is, so we don't have to define it further) we can conclude the following:
A Closed Beta is limited to specific amount of people, therefore it is not accessibe for everyone. An Open Beta has no limits regarding testers, therefore it must be available to everyone, therefore it is not blocked by anything. Now, what do we have here? Something in between, in my opinion. It is not available to everyone, blocked by the fact that we have to pay for it (as Cerovan argued). On the other hand it is not limited to a specific amount of people. Sure, it is limited to the people who already pre-ordered or won a key, but this limit is not fixed, it increases everday, therefore no limits and (at least in theory) an infinite amount of testers.
We probably need a new term, the "Closed Open Beta" for our case here :D

I'm aware that the Oxford definitions given above are not the best and I tried to get some philosphy on the meaning of "open" and "close", but I couldn't come up with anything in a short Google search :D

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Re: Closed Beta vs Open Beta

Post by eyebo » 04 Dec 2012, 23:38

Thanks for your post BigBuddha. :thumbsup:
BigBuddha wrote:Now, what do we have here? Something in between, in my opinion.
Yeah, I think that's about right. It still feels "open" since anyone who wants to can participate. But I suppose in the strictest sense it is something between open and closed.
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Re: Closed Beta vs Open Beta

Post by Cerovan » 05 Dec 2012, 12:07

Maybe we should invent a new term (like Semi Open Beta or Limited Beta) but technically (on our side) it's not an Open Beta because there is a barrer to access to the game ^_^

You can call the first round of the Beta "VIP Beta" for example. But it's my personnal view on this topic :mrgreen:
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Re: Closed Beta vs Open Beta

Post by banjee » 05 Dec 2012, 16:20

Or just say goodbye to adjectives and call it what it is: Beta. :roflol:

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Re: Closed Beta vs Open Beta

Post by Cerovan » 05 Dec 2012, 16:23

Yes i can too :mrgreen:
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Re: Closed Beta vs Open Beta

Post by Mandark » 05 Dec 2012, 17:22

I'd say that an Open Beta is free for absolutely everyone (who has a PC/console ofc.)
However, the Storm beta cannot be acquired by everyone (for example, those who don't have the possibility to pay for it), so that makes it Closed beta imo. It's just like a concert, i'd say.
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Re: Closed Beta vs Open Beta

Post by eyebo » 08 Dec 2012, 20:06

I see it can be looked at from many different perspectives. ;) Thanks for the input guys. It definitely gives me a broader view.
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