According to Epic’s Rod Fergusson, console gamers often don’t have the same level of technical knowledge as their PC counterparts.
Fergusson, executive producer on the Gears of War games, says that closed nature of consoles makes beta testing rather difficult. He feels that console gamers have a certain expectation of how good a game will be during its beta, and that can make it hard to get any useful data.
Fergusson said that PC gamers tended to be more hands on with their hardware and have a greater degree of technical knowledge. He thought that they also understood that a beta wasn’t a representation of the game’s final quality, and actually enjoyed being part of the design process. As betas spread to consoles however, the amount of technical knowledge declined, because where PC gamers were used to installing their own components, consoles were closed boxes. He added that console gamers often didn’t get the idea that the purpose of a beta was to test an unfinished product.
Getting useful data is going to be especially important to Epic in a few weeks, as it plans to hold a beta for Gears of War 3 in April, and will use players’ comments to refine and improve the game’s multiplayer before it comes out in the fall. Epic’s Cliff Bleszinski said that getting good feedback from the test was vital, as bad multiplayer in Gears 3 would kill the series.
Unfortunately, part of this misconception about betas among console gamers is down to the developers themselves. It’s not uncommon for access to a beta to be doled out as a reward for purchases or pre-orders. Access to the Gears 3 beta, for example, was granted by either purchasing the special edition of Bulletstorm, or pre-ordering Gears 3 at GameStop. With that arrangement, where players have effectively bought their way into the beta, it’s hardly surprising that they should be expecting something pretty polished.
Source: Strategy Informer