Elite: Dangerous "Premium Beta" Access Costs $150

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Elite: Dangerous "Premium Beta" Access Costs $150

Elite Dangerous Beta

Frontier Development is opening its $150 premium beta for Elite: Dangerous up to 10,000 prospective players.

Elite: Dangerous look like it's going to be a pretty cool game. That said, we're curious as to how much you'd be willing to pay to play it early? While you could probably find some enthusiastic fans who would insist that the experiences would be priceless, the game's makers at Frontier Developments have been able to come up with a number: $150. That, at least, is how much the company intends to charge the 10,000 players it plans to allow into a recently announced "premium beta."

Players who buy into the beta will gain access to single and multiplayer modes taking place in five star systems "covering a 200 cubic light year volume of space." The Premium Beta will also include automatic access to all future beta stages, all "major" DLC packs after the game's release and, of course, a copy of the game itself.

"The start of the Premium Beta phase is another exciting moment in our development," said Frontier CEO David Braben. "This is a significant and sensible step-change with which to test the next level of scaling of our cloud-based systems and servers as we move towards the very large numbers of people we will eventually have playing.

While that's all well and good, it's hard not to look at the beta and wonder why Frontier feels the need to charge players to essentially test their game in progress. Granted, the $150 price tag is a tad more affordable than the $295 it was charging Alpha access, but even then there's just something about this that rubs me the wrong way. What do you guys think?

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So, they're charging people to basically work for them?

W

T

F

If this was physical work, there would be all kinds of labor law violations taking place here. No thanks.

Paying for alpha/beta has always rubbed me the wrong way. It's a service the players perform for the company. Though lately it's gotten to be more of paid demos.

But the pricing model comes from at what donation amounts that access was granted if you donated to it on kickstarter. It's not the only, or first game that's had exhorbitant alpha/beta costs, but yeah it's pretty shitty.

That said I pledged 20 to the kickstarter, and I'm eagerly awaiting my digital copy once it goes gold. They're a bit off on the delivery time though(estimation was march 2014).

in this democracy you vote with your dollar. unfortunately, it seems there are a lot of fools with too many dollars.

Thought this was ridiculous, then I saw the alpha was $300... Here's a good idea, lets all pay 6 times the price of the game for 1/10th of the product. A product that we know little to nothing about with no reviews. Never trust pre-orders or paid alphas/betas anymore, too many will leave a bad taste in your mouth.

A sucker is born every minute.

This isn't any shock to me. After Planetary Annihilators priced their Alpha for a 40$ retail game (which was supposed to reach full release 6 months ago but still hasn't) and Elder Scrolls Online had its limited edition plus the 15$ monthly fee, and that both had their defenders, nothing shocks me anymore, because developers know they can get away with it.

This is the problem in a society where half the population is of below average intellect and the means of sending messages is threw money, get enough people to throw money at something, and it will act accordingly, regardless of weather the idea is one worth attempting.

I honestly hope this project crashes and burns to send a message to others who would try it to use the same business model. Lord knows we need more to after PA and DayZ didn't fail and showed there is no logic in economics.

I kickstarted the game, at Alpha level (200 - GBP). I don't regret it, as I know that I helped fund the overall process, and have greatly enjoyed playing the various releases as they've come through. Is it wrong for some people? Well - if you can't afford it, or aren't that fussed with the game, or don't want to help finance something - yes. Was it right for me? Definitely.

I honestly don't understand the hatred thrown against something that is a business choice. People don't have to support, they just need to wait for the game to be developed. The Alpha/Beta/Kickstarter process is for those who want to see the game be produced, who believe in the authors talents, and wish to submit something back into the process that gave them previous (very enjoyable) games.

Anyway - I'm off to fly my Sidewinder for a bit. There's Cobra's to take down... it's amazing how many people think they rule just because they've got a MK-III :D

I think it's a perfectly acceptable way to raise money, as long as they're being honest about the content that's available to beta players. I also think it's silly, in that I would never pay that much for the privilege of playing during beta. The only way I see this hurting me is if a publisher decides to push back a release date in order to get more players to cave to temptation and buy into a beta, but if that's not happening then props to the players that feel this much loyalty to a game.

(leaving)

I want but...

image

Food money Redlin, food money!

Ehhhh, I've already put in quite a lot of money into Star Citizen. I'm not saying I won't pick up Elite upon launch but I'm not made of money and I'm already going to be doing the alpha/beta test thing for SC.

As for the value of the 150 pass? Well, I suppose it depends on how much the DLC later in the life cycle of the game adds up to. If in 8 years the DLC is worth more than 150 bucks, I would say its a fair deal to buy into it now. No way to know for sure though.

150$?!? Why would you ever pay that much for a game that's not even out... -Looks at my Star Citizen purchases- Ooooh yeah.

Wow! So these twits have actually figured out a way to be even more abusive to QA staff than EA? Well done! I mean this is absolutely Machiavellian. It essentially counts on a certain portion being incurably stupid. And then using those people to avoid having to pay for actual testing staff under the guise of "pay obscenely to play Beta". I can't wait to see how Jim Sterling reacts to this one?

They are damned if they do and damned if they don't. The price'll be to keep it exactly in line with what the Kickstarter backers paid for their relevant tiers of access; they would have a much bigger PR catastrophe on their hands if non-backers were able to get in at premium beta (and originally alpha) access for less than what the backers put up.

Daaangerous!
The game is so daaangerous!
Take away my money,
Throw away my time,
You can call me interested
But this deal's not good for me.
image

I seriously want to know how much profit these developers are getting through kickstarter.

1.The development costs are paid partially if it doesn't already cover the full costs.
2.non-backers have to buy the game at the local standard rate full price.
3.Now they are profiteering on "beta" access.

Are they in deficit with their local take away? Did they have to buy so much pizza/Chinese/Fish&chips that they have to stoop to EA's level of consumerism?

They could probably make much more quick bucks by selling hundreds of thousands of $15 beta keys, but they want to limit the beta audience to a core fandom instead of letting too many random gamers butt in and make an early judgement about the game because they re too lazy to even realize that it is a beta.

SO essentially they're asking you to pay $150 for the game... and all the DLC that will be released for the game (of course there's no real certainty any dlc will be released or if the game will be any good). Say what you want about the indies on Steam's Early Access but at least none of them have the stones to pull this crap. So seriously.

The idea is that things like alpha, and beta are supposed to cost less as an incentive to invest early.

Ehm. Isn't this old news? They are charging these high prices for 1,5 years now...

That said, these prices for testing their game rub me the wrong way. They should pay us for testing it instead of making suckers out of their loyal backers.

The number one reason paying for a beta is intolerably stupid is confirmation bias. Yeah, you heard me.

The guy who shells out $150 for a game isn't going to be as critical of said game. He's going to look for the good bits and downplay the bad. He's not going to be objective in his evaluation of the game because he's already invested heavily in it.

Open betas for games should be FREE. Any payments before-hand should give extra benefits, but the basic experience should be free to test.

This doesn't apply to alpha. During alpha you work with a small community of loyal testers to iron out the major issues and get the game to an acceptable level. However, beta should be available to the widest possible market so that your zealous fanbase doesn't overlook stuff that it has gotten used to, but which might be incredibly annoying features for newcomers.

For example, if you make an MMO that has a rubbish tutorial, the only way that will become apparent is when you get new players in to test the game. The guys already playing know how to play and will overlook the bad tutorial completely.

Charging for a beta is just an extremely elitist thing to do and I don't agree with the way early access games are completely neglecting the large testing phase that is crucial for ironing out issues. Just because your fanbase paid for the game doesn't mean they get exclusive access to it during beta.

Keep in mind this doesn't apply to every game though. I don't think every game is entitled to an open beta. If the game wouldn't have had an open beta test under normal conditions, then keeping it relegated to the community is not a terrible idea. However, Elite is a massively multiplayer game and it NEEDS players to test it thoroughly before release.

I get the impression from the various forums I frequent that a lot of the people who object to the cost of Beta Access to Elite:Dangerous have already spent similar amounts on spaceships in Star Citizen. But then RSI have always been far better at marketing than Frontier Developments, who suck at it to put it bluntly.

That being said, I agree that charging for alpha and beta access is not a good thing, but since Minecraft turned it into a business model, I guess we're stuck with it.

Since there doesn't seem much in terms of defenders for this, I'll throw my at into the ring.

Ahem...

They need to eat.

No seriously. 1.2 million pounds is not a lot of money for video game development. Staff cost money, money that is normally provided by investors or publishers. That staff needs to be paid enough to make their jobs worthwhile (be able to pay rent, buy some food, pay off their bills, etc.[1]).

Equipment costs money, some of which can be mitigated by reusing prior equipment, but there's still the costs of upgrades and maintenance.

Work space costs money, especially if you have special needs such as extra power consumption.

And on and on until you're out of operating costs. You can cut as much as you want, but cost cutting can only do so much.

[1] and that's if they're single and have no kids...

Zontar:
This is the problem in a society where half the population is of below average intellect...

Ummm, that still leaves the remaining half of the population at average or above average intellect which should balance things out which means this has little to do with intellect. Further evidence of this is that people with lower intellect tend to earn less and thus have less funds available for such purchases (because food and rent comes first).

The Gentleman:
Since there doesn't seem much in terms of defenders for this, I'll throw my at into the ring.

Ahem...

They need to eat.

No seriously. 1.2 million pounds is not a lot of money for video game development.

They listed on the stock exchange shortly after the Kickstarter. While they don't have the ridiculous reserves of RSI they are not short of money. Many consider that the KickStarter was at very least partly to demonstrate to the potential investors that their company was worth investing in. Which is why some people find the DLC and the continued high cost of alpha and 1st and 2nd round beta access rather obnoxious.

Kuala BangoDango:

Zontar:
This is the problem in a society where half the population is of below average intellect...

Ummm, that still leaves the remaining half of the population at average or above average intellect which should balance things out which means this has little to do with intellect. Further evidence of this is that people with lower intellect tend to earn less and thus have less funds available for such purchases (because food and rent comes first).

That may be so, but there seems to be a significant portion of that part of the population with disposable income to spare, given how well games which by all economic logic should have failed miserably have thrived (DayZ, for example, remained the #1 most sold game during the Winter Sale, despite being a full priced game that was massively overpriced and barley fuctional).

Sounds like the same thing with Planetary Annihilation as in it would not be fair to the backers if they priced it lower then what backers paid.

I don't get irritated about early access schemes. I like early access a lot; project zomboid, star ruler, and don't starve being great examples of why sometimes it pays to get on board with an interesting game and interact with the devs. If they set up kickstarter levels and beta players had the 150 level to get beta, then well, thats fine.

But note that this isn't the new call of duty doing this, its not asscreed or prototype, its a weird niche game involving space combat simulation. Not a console market game. Elite isn't really my thing. If paradox was going to make a space-exploration themed europa universalis, though, you bet your sweet asscheeks i'd pay in 150 or more to get at that kind of niche title.

It is to be expected as stretch goals in a kickstarter project. Nothing to be mad about. It is not like anyone gets employed as tester and has to report in, it's just a earlier access goody with the option to give feedback while still in development. People these days, complaining about stuff that doesn't even matter...

Zontar:
A sucker is born every minute.

This isn't any shock to me. After Planetary Annihilators priced their Alpha for a 40$ retail game (which was supposed to reach full release 6 months ago but still hasn't) and Elder Scrolls Online had its limited edition plus the 15$ monthly fee, and that both had their defenders, nothing shocks me anymore, because developers know they can get away with it.

This is the problem in a society where half the population is of below average intellect and the means of sending messages is threw money, get enough people to throw money at something, and it will act accordingly, regardless of weather the idea is one worth attempting.

I honestly hope this project crashes and burns to send a message to others who would try it to use the same business model. Lord knows we need more to after PA and DayZ didn't fail and showed there is no logic in economics.

I agree and also think you have a very positive outlook on the population if you think it's only half of them.

However half of the population can't be under the average coz the average would be much lower than :)

Anyways, i never understood spending more money on a game than what the retail price would end up, especially these alpha/beta crap, i mean it's not like you will get it faster? If they really need testers all they need to do is ask, why would i want to pay 3 games' price for it? I'm sure there are plenty of enthusiasts around who can't help with the coding buy happy to testplay for you, you don't need to rip them off too. Not to mention the whole idea behind kickstarter is that you already pay in advance to "get the game made for you", skipping marketing and distribution and retail and all the other stuff that's basically half of a retail game's price...you should get a discount not a higher pricetag.
I think some people are so in the need to be a part of something they jump on the bandwagon and commit all the way just to feel included.

Paying for alpha/beta has always rubbed me the wrong way.

I have no issue paying for Alpha and Beta access in fact some of my most played games prison architect and KSP are Alpha and Beta products but the pay off for me is that I pay a lesser price and get to play some great games early. That's the thing though I do some of the developers job for them so I pay a lesser price. It's what's happening here that is the digusting side of this early access coin. They are making it out like you pay a premium price and the price is that way way above the price of a new game and you get to be one of the very lucky few to play their buggy Beta game.

Plantery Annihilation was another one that did the stupidly high price for the honour of early access and I really do not get that

I really don't see what the issue is. Obviously, if you're willing to pay the entry fee then you've got to be really excited about the game and interested in seeing it as it develops. Plus, if you do pay the fee, you get the completed game when it launches plus all future DLC. In total, the price probably isn't all that bad compared to what you would be paying all told anyway if you bought the game at launch price and then bought the DLC as it released.

This limits the beta to, in some ways, what Betas actually were originally instead of just the paid demos that they have become. This beta is a locked environment for testing except it allows really dedicated fans to get in to that locked environment early.

Will I be paying $150 for access? Hell no. In fact, I can't think of any games off hand that I would pay that much for early access to as I prefer to wait until the game is complete even if the game is one I highly anticipate. That doesn't, however, mean it's a bad idea even if it's not for me personally.

Premium Beta my ASS, David...

Astalano:
The number one reason paying for a beta is intolerably stupid is confirmation bias.

Best comment in the thread imho.

Absolutely, 100%, spot-on. We invite people specifically to test our code on the basis of their PC setup, their community involvement and a few other criteria which have bugger-all to do with how healthy their bank balance is. We try to get as many new people with as many different hardware configs as possible who are enthusiastic, but have no vested interest in blowing sunshine up our behinds. We don't want to be told 'it's great!' when it isn't, but we've lost sight of that fact due to tunnel vision/assumptions.

However... this team wasn't born yesterday either, and I'd wager you an early-beta-pre-access-gold-level-alpha-sneak-peak to Star Citizen that they have a second set of testers that fulfill the criteria I mentioned above.

This is fund-raising. I have no problem with that; it would just be more honest to call a spade a spade, instead of hiding behind 'make the paradigm, assist us in making the best product we can, be part of the revolution' kind of b/s I'm more used to hearing from corporations. I'm putting words in their mouths, but that's what they're doing.

I'm still going to buy it when it's finished though because, you know, Braben!

Thats 1.5mill right there. Seriously what is happening to games lately? Between the free to play games that actually charge people 10x what games used to cost, and the "pay for early access 5x as much) games, it's getting a bit crazy. I have more then enough games as it is, and all this price gouging etc is making me rethink buying many of these games.

I knew it, I knew this would happen eventually. Charging people to play test your game is the biggest scam in gaming along with paid alpha access.

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