Dual Universe is not the first MMORPG to charge a sub for a beta – let me just state that upfront. So today’s Daily Grind isn’t meant as a referendum on that game but on the overall practice.
For example, who remembers Pathfinder Online? It’s still a going concern, believe it or not, and it was one of the first to try charging a sub long before a semblance of launch. The Frankengadget article I’ve just linked is one Justin penned six years ago, and I remember the outrage at the time. We were at the peak of Kickstarter back then, and even then, people were mad as hell.
Have things changed? Maybe we’re more inured to it now, but that doesn’t mean we’re more likely to whip out our wallets for a beta. I don’t even want to pay a flat fee for a beta. Heck, if I’m honest, I don’t even really want to play a beta, just as I don’t really want to read a half-finished book unpaid unless I’m proofing for a friend. It’s absurdity – I’m happy to pay for release products, not pay to test them. Why are we like this?
On the other hand, DU’s beta sub is cheap, and if a game’s gonna have a sub, I like that pricepoint. What do you all think: Should MMOs charge subs for beta? What do we expect an MMO to have before we’ll start paying into it, and would you actually pay such a sub?