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Minecraft Enters Beta

The Word of Notch has word that Minecraft has entered beta testing today, as promised. The update has details on what's new since the game left the alpha stage, and a subsequent update has word on a new version 1.0_01 patch that's now live, and promising another patch tomorrow to address these issues: "Thereís a serious problem getting the client started for some people (especially Mac OSX?). Iíve also heard about weird item duplication bugs with dropped items, and a severe performance reduction."

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47. Re: Minecraft Enters Beta Dec 22, 2010, 07:02 Verno
 
Sepharo wrote on Dec 21, 2010, 22:53:

Really? When I'm promised a one time purchase and all further updates and releases for free, I think of that as a pre-order.

I can't agree because he also allowed free access to the product without a purchase. I'm not familiar with Natural Selection so I can't comment.
 
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46. Re: Minecraft Enters Beta Dec 22, 2010, 05:31 Luther
 
f Notch really wanted to be free of consumer expectations he shouldn't have charged

Oh, they'll have expectations even if you give things away. I've written software for free and have received very angry and unpleasant emails when something didn't work as expected, even when the fault was down to the user not configuring their computer correctly.
Some people just have this unwarranted sense of entitlement and feel it is their god given right to hurl abuse at people who are essentially doing them a favour. I blame their parents.
 
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45. Re: Minecraft Enters Beta Dec 21, 2010, 22:53 Sepharo
 
Verno wrote on Dec 21, 2010, 22:46:
Also I don't understand the concept of a pre-order with access to an alpha/beta.

That's not what Minecraft was really though to be fair to him.

Really? When I'm promised a one time purchase and all further updates and releases for free, I think of that as a pre-order.

To use some Beamer tactics here: Would you guys level the same complaint at the Natural Selection alpha? Should people be outraged that the game is (was) nearly unplayable in it's alpha state? Even though that alpha state was clearly conveyed and the only people who got access were those who pre-ordered the game and were willing to play unfinished product with the hopes of improving it?
 
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44. Re: Minecraft Enters Beta Dec 21, 2010, 22:46 Verno
 
Also I don't understand the concept of a pre-order with access to an alpha/beta.

That's not what Minecraft was really though to be fair to him.
 
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43. Re: Minecraft Enters Beta Dec 21, 2010, 22:36 Sepharo
 
Beamer wrote on Dec 21, 2010, 16:57:
Yes Beamer, dying in a car accident is totally in the same realm as this $15 piece of gaming software. Good god man, no more car analogies. They are never good nor appropriate.

It was an extreme analogy to make a point.

The bottom line is that I'm prone to getting easily outraged at minor arguments. I'll then apply that minor argument to Bluesnew's as a whole and make dumb analogies. Also I don't understand the concept of a pre-order with access to an alpha/beta.
 
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42. Re: Minecraft Enters Beta Dec 21, 2010, 18:27 JohnnyRotten
 
Beamer wrote on Dec 21, 2010, 16:57:
No one is answering what would happen if you bought a game at retail, or from Steam, marked "beta."

Bad attempt at an equivalence. A closer one would be "What if you bought a game at retail, or from Steam, that was marked "Alpha", had repeated, easily found on the sellers website (nearly impossible to miss) references to the state of the game and its development cycle, had a free demo from which to make a determination about quality, and when you wanted to purchase, warned you last time about the state of the game?"*

* This doesn't mention the simple due diligence that the purchaser could do away from the seller's website - reviews, previews, blogs, how to articles, you tube videos, etc. The entire wealth of the internet is there for the buyer who wants to be informed.

Not exactly a black box purchase. The man has done everything possible except come to your house personally to explain what you are paying for.

What would happen if you bought this game and then complained about the state of it? I would say self inflicted ignorance is not bliss.
 
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41. Re: Minecraft Enters Beta Dec 21, 2010, 18:18 JohnnyRotten
 
Creston wrote on Dec 21, 2010, 11:59:
You realize you just confirmed his story, which you accused of being "made up", right?

I read his original comment as going to beta as a reason for changing the ORIGINAL terms of the sale; having reread his post I see that I misread it. The verbiage "the conditions governing the sale" threw me off. I read that sentence as the past tense form. ("the conditions governing future sales" maybe?)

Sorry Ventura. Thanks for the pickup Creston.

 
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40. Re: Minecraft Enters Beta Dec 21, 2010, 17:40 Ventura
 
I'm pretty sure you're just making stuff up. Here is what he said:

Sigh. Alright, here's quotes from his twitter feed, taken from around that time:

The "all updates free" still applies to old accounts. We're taking it out because it scares both lawyers and the board.

Someone asked if people who buy beta will have to pay for updates, and he said:

They MIGHT have to pay, we don't know yet. We're changing it because the promise is scary. But you're safe.

Can't be too much clearer than that guys.
 
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39. Re: Minecraft Enters Beta Dec 21, 2010, 16:57 Beamer
 
Yes Beamer, dying in a car accident is totally in the same realm as this $15 piece of gaming software. Good god man, no more car analogies. They are never good nor appropriate.

It was an extreme analogy to make a point.

The bottom line is that, while people should have reduced expectations due to it being in beta, constantly saying "it's in beta, who cares!?" is wrong.

If Notch really wanted to be free of consumer expectations he shouldn't have charged. He did. That means he needs to fulfill certain aspects. "Buyer Beware" is unfair to throw out here simply because it's tagged as "beta." He still demanded compensation for it.


No one is answering what would happen if you bought a game at retail, or from Steam, marked "beta." Nor are people saying what would happen if Notch decided the game was good enough and launched it full tomorrow and stopped development. What are his ends of this deal? Where does the "beta" tag end the "well, of course it isn't complete!" line?
 
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38. Re: Minecraft Enters Beta Dec 21, 2010, 11:59 Creston
 
JohnnyRotten wrote on Dec 21, 2010, 11:43:
Ventura wrote on Dec 21, 2010, 03:34:
Huh?

When he first started selling the game, he wasn't sure how well it would sell, and had a line about how if you buy alpha, all future versions of the game will be available for free.

The change was made because that promise apparently scared his lawyers (and the board), so by advancing to beta, the conditions governing the sale could be modified.

He tweeted all of this back on 12th December, back when he first announced that Minecraft would soon be going beta. It's not really ready for beta, it's just so that the terms could be changed.

I'm pretty sure you're just making stuff up. Here is what he said:

We will also change the license to remove the line that promises all future versions of the game for free. Please note that this change only affects people who buy the game after December 20, so if you got the game for during alpha, you will still get all future updates for free, despite this change. A promise is a promise

(emphasis his)

http://notch.tumblr.com/post/2175441966/minecraft-beta-december-20-2010

You realize you just confirmed his story, which you accused of being "made up", right?

All alpha buyers will still get all future versions for free, obviously, because that's the condition he sold the alpha under. If he tried to change that, he'd get sued out of business.

However, anyone who buys the BETA (or final), will no longer get all future updates for free. Which is what Ventura's saying. They switched to Beta probably not because the game was really ready for Beta, but because they wanted to stop promising future buyers that they'd get everything for free, which required moving out of alpha.

Which, in the end, is just smart business. If you plan to make this a game for which you'll be developing stuff for years and years and years, letting everyone have it for a one-time ten dollar fee is crazy.

Creston
 
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37. Re: Minecraft Enters Beta Dec 21, 2010, 11:53 JohnnyRotten
 
Beamer wrote on Dec 21, 2010, 10:49:
Expectations ----should be in line with----> reality.

Not expecting people you charged money for a product to demand a certain level of quality != reality.

So it goes both ways.

The bottom line is that asking for money then hiding behind "beta! beta!" is disingenuous.

You know you can play the game for free (web version) before you buy, yes? The "level of quality" issue is a decision point that can be determined BEFORE purchase.

Also, the developer has gone through great lengths to point out the state of the game, and what you are buying. As I pointed out in another discussion: Minecraft is Alpha

One shouldn't blame the developer a failure of the purchaser to do the most basic due diligence (like reading the home page).
 
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36. Re: Minecraft Enters Beta Dec 21, 2010, 11:44 Verno
 
Yes Beamer, dying in a car accident is totally in the same realm as this $15 piece of gaming software. Good god man, no more car analogies. They are never good nor appropriate.  
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35. Re: Minecraft Enters Beta Dec 21, 2010, 11:43 JohnnyRotten
 
Ventura wrote on Dec 21, 2010, 03:34:
Huh?

When he first started selling the game, he wasn't sure how well it would sell, and had a line about how if you buy alpha, all future versions of the game will be available for free.

The change was made because that promise apparently scared his lawyers (and the board), so by advancing to beta, the conditions governing the sale could be modified.

He tweeted all of this back on 12th December, back when he first announced that Minecraft would soon be going beta. It's not really ready for beta, it's just so that the terms could be changed.

I'm pretty sure you're just making stuff up. Here is what he said:

We will also change the license to remove the line that promises all future versions of the game for free. Please note that this change only affects people who buy the game after December 20, so if you got the game for during alpha, you will still get all future updates for free, despite this change. A promise is a promise

(emphasis his)

http://notch.tumblr.com/post/2175441966/minecraft-beta-december-20-2010
 
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34. Re: Minecraft Enters Beta Dec 21, 2010, 11:39 Beamer
 
Again, I ask you guys what you would have done if Gear of War had been released with "Beta" printed on the box.

Everyone here says it was a poorly done port, would having "beta" on it change that for you? Doubtful.




With Minecraft you're a paying customer. This means you have expectations that what you pay for works. You know it'll be changing, you know there will be setbacks, but you assume it'll work. Why? Because you paid for it!

Stop acting like putting "beta" makes all that moot. Next thing you know Ford will start telling you that the Explorers with Firestone tires were just beta versions and that they're not responsible for the blowouts. "LOL guys, you died, but it's a beta what do you expect?!"
 
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33. Re: Minecraft Enters Beta Dec 21, 2010, 11:31 Verno
 
Again, I think the industry has played fast and loose enough with the naming conventions that I think they aren't perceived correctly and that's hardly the public's fault. People can nitpick the definition all day but when we have production software used every day with beta tags because normal users think its cute or makes them feel part of an inclusive community then I think people can be a bit excused for not having the same respect a programmer does for the naming conventions.  
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32. Re: Minecraft Enters Beta Dec 21, 2010, 11:18 JoeNapalm
 
Verno wrote on Dec 21, 2010, 11:09:
The whole "alpha/beta/whatever" software tag thing is a well established trope by now thanks to web 2.0 buzzword sites and so on was my point


Firstly, Alpha and Beta aren't "tropes" - they're an established part of the software dev cycle.

A trope is a cliche or figure of speech. Alpha and Beta are actual conventions...not just some vague concept.

Most words have actual, agreed upon meanings. Failure to understand them doesn't mean you can say they mean whatever you want.

-Jn-
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31. Re: Minecraft Enters Beta Dec 21, 2010, 11:10 spindoctor
 
The purchase was made with full understanding that the product is incomplete, things are broken, things can be added or removed etc. Notch has never tried to hide the fact that it is still in development and still a work in progress. And because he knows that people are trusting him with their money for an unfinished product, he offers it to them for less than the price the final game will sell for. So the customer gets to play the game early and by paying less too, so it's not like only the developer is benefiting from the arrangement.

Notch also updates the game frequently, even 2-3 times a day when something goes wrong. I'm sure this will be fixed soon enough as well.

To expect that an in-development project will have no problems at all, especially when more and more stuff keeps getting added onto it is totally unrealistic and shows how little people know about programming. If you want a completely stable, polished game ready for retail, you should wait for the game to be finished and buy it then for full price. If you pay less for what is clearly stated to be an unfinished product, expect that there will be problems and don't whine when you come across one.
 
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30. Re: Minecraft Enters Beta Dec 21, 2010, 11:09 Verno
 
No, that wouldn't be a trope as it is at least original. A trope is a tired old idea that's been re-hashed a million times.

The whole "alpha/beta/whatever" software tag thing is a well established trope by now thanks to web 2.0 buzzword sites and so on was my point

Also, it's really nice to see an indepdent developer do well. So many buisness types claim that individuals can't make it for themselves. It's wonderful to show them how wrong they are.

I agree but again this does not exempt Minecraft from criticism. Too often when people have complaints about Minecraft I see stuff like "its an alpha/beta/whatever, you knew what you were getting into!" as if that somehow explains away any potential problem people might have. People are allowed to discuss, critique and complain about Minecraft like any other game on the planet, whatever the author labels it does not somehow magically make him exempt from that. I am not claiming an indie needs to be held to the same standards as multi-billion dollar EA but they also don't get a free ride based on their status.

Edit: for example see the post above mine.
 
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29. Re: Minecraft Enters Beta Dec 21, 2010, 11:06 Luther
 

You're voluntarily paying $15 for a game in beta made mostly by one person whose update cycle, development whims, and active forums are open for all to view before purchase.

Absolutely. $15 is a night in the pub, it's not a lot of money. It's an impulse purchase. Notch's development is whimsical. The game is whimsical. That's nice; game development as I know it is ruled by schedules, producers, crunch, quaterly returns, 'shareholder value' and all sorts of other nonsense. As a result, we don't have much whimsy and I for one think this is a shame. It's nice to play something like that, it feels like play.
 
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28. Re: Minecraft Enters Beta Dec 21, 2010, 11:06 JoeNapalm
 

Whether or not you pay for it, Alpha and Beta are still terms that have meaning. The game, up to this point, has been advertised as Alpha - meaning that it's NOT a stable, feature complete, or fully functional release. Whether or not you pay to participate in the Alpha, it does not magically change the meaning of the word.

No one is making you pay for the Alpha. Indy games like this offer a discount on the release price to participate in the Alpha/Beta because they are indy games and therefore do not have the resources for a full-on testing team. It would be idiotic to pay a big dev house to participate in Alpha, but this was a ONE MAN SHOW - he needed funding and a team, so Minecraft enthusiasts could get 50% for helping address both birds with a single stone.

Yeah, Notch made a ton of money doing this, and can now afford a team - and is therefore ending this phase of the project (paid Alpha).

If you participate in Alpha or Beta, and expect a finished, polished game, you're an idiot and don't understand the dev cycle. If you paid for it, KNOWING IT'S ALPHA, and expect a finished product, you're a fool and an idiot.

Do you buy a used car and expect a new one? No, because you knew it was used when you paid for it.

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