The Destiny beta is over. You’ve had time to think about it. Was it worth it?
The Destiny beta suffered from the same problem many betas do. Whenever a beta for a popular game has arrived, marketing, social media, and the press can’t stop talking about it. There’s code giveaways, impressions, livestreams, and leaks. It doesn’t even really matter if you’re playing the beta or not, as long as you’re talking about it, you’re cool.
This is hype. Hype is innocent, it comes from a deep passion for a medium, in this case, games. But hype has a damaging effect on perception, however genuine it may be, and it’s a problem when it’s used as a tool.
The consensus I could find on the internet during the Destiny beta is that it was awesome. It could be the next game that drains hundreds of hours away from everyone’s lives. It was the most exciting experience this year. It was going to be Bungie’s next big hit.
That’s why hype tends to do to us. It makes us want to jump into the club of people thrilled about something because we want to be too. There’s no harm in that, but when you have to take everything with a grain of salt.
Initial impressions are like theories, there’s little concrete examples to back them up. That means that using any comments from a beta as buying advice is unwise. The hype should not determine where your money goes, yet companies will still try to sell you a pre-order in a beta. This is another reason why the concept of a press preview is changing and in some cases, going away. It all fuels hype for no good benefit to the consumer past what he or she could get from trailers or gameplay demos, especially in a time publishers and developers are doing that kind of stuff on their own.
So, when you get access to a beta. Enjoy it. Talk about it. Think about it. But be careful with how you interpret everyone’s reactions. Everyone is excited, and they probably aren’t thinking about whether or not the game is worth buying or playing when it comes out. Just because it feels like you should love it, you should remember that not only is it not a complete game, it’s natural to not have enough information to make a call either way.