Killzone 3 caught a little game-journalist flak earlier this year for offering a “beta” that was, for all intents and purposes, a polished demo rather than a beta. Discussing plans for Gears of War 3, Epic’s Rod Fergusson recently weighed in on this trend at StrategyInformer.
Money quote: “For me I think it has to do with people moving from PC to consoles.”
Basically, he’s arguing that PCs require some basic familiarity with hardware and software maintenance, but consoles are a black box to most users; console users therefore expect all products to be finished products, even free “betas”. In a literal sense, Fergusson is suggesting that console users are just plain ignorant.
I think it’s obvious that PC owners tend to have more troubleshooting savvy than console owners, but his overall argument is a little too reductionist for my taste. Still, the most interesting part to me is the first line (quoted above). Who is “people”? The PC market is still here, and it’s doing pretty damn well (if recent digital sales figures are any indication). The real problem might be that the developers have moved to consoles – not the users.