With all the hype surrounding Destiny, anyone and everyone who acquired a beta code has played it. Now that the beta is completely open to the public until July 27, I can’t help but feel that the people who pre-ordered Destiny to play it early got swindled.
Decisions about how betas will be offered to the public aren’t made on impulses and whims. Therefore, since both Activision and Bungie knew about making Destiny’s beta open to the public in advance, it seems underhanded that they wouldn’t announce this plan to the public prior to the beta. It looks especially crooked when we were told the exact opposite because beta access was originally limited for pre-orders only. Even if this strategy wasn’t planned—a hypothetical so ridiculous that it rivals the moon landing being faked—it’s enough to make it seem like a plot to increase pre-orders.
At first, I didn’t mind giving Bungie giving beta access to those who pre-ordered. After all, it’s better than doing nothing. Bungie will be able to fix some bugs and early adopters can have an idea of what they already they agreed to buy. Then I realized that pre-ordering has a spin-off of the foot-in-the-door phenomenon aspect to it. By already putting down $5, the average consumer will be more content with something he/she already partially purchased. Even if someone’s slightly underwhelmed, they’ll probably give the game the benefit of the doubt until launch. There aren’t many that will go to the nearest Game Stop (even more so in July, when there’s barely anything worth buying that’s not downloadable) and cancel a pre-order.
The honest procedure would have been to let gamers know the beta would be open to the public, let those who pre-ordered play a few days early and release codes at a modest pace—that way the servers won’t implode—to everyone else. Let the game speak for itself. Chances are there would be a spike in pre-orders after the beta from those who were impressed with it. Transparency will have a lot less gamers feel betrayed and ripped off once the final product is released and increase consumer confidence, which tends to be a positive thing to have for an industry (but then again, I’m not an economist).
To be fair, I’m one of those people that avoids pre-ordering with only a few exceptions. With that said, if you like going to midnight releases, by all means, go for the games that are either part of your favorite series or from a developer you trust unconditionally. Otherwise, only pre-order those niche games that won’t stay in stock for very long, like something from the Zero Escape series (my fingers are still crossed for the third game). On the other hand, if you actually pre-order a game just because there is a unique skin and a weapon that the game developers initially scrapped until Game Stop asked for exclusive pre-order content, then you’re playing right into the publishers’ sales strategy.
From what I played, the Destiny beta was fun, but it isn’t worth pre-ordering. Activision knows it’ll need to ship millions of copies to stay ahead of the demand, so there won’t be a shortage of physical copies. Since there won’t be any shortages, there’s absolutely no need to pre-order, unless you’re a diehard Bungie fan. Despite it being a fun beta, it doesn’t live up to the hype (but how could it with the massive expectations we had).
To Bungie’s credit, at least the public has an idea what they’ll be getting. Every game needs either a beta or a demo before the actual release. This way, we can see the tip of the iceberg before we choose to sink the Titanic. Bungie may have graced us with that formality—unlike Watch_Dogs—but lying to us in order to boost pre-orders is still pretty low.