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The Year in Video Game Alphas and Betas

We’ve evolved quite a bit since the glory days of demo discs in magazines. In this day and age of online games, there’s a need for preliminary testing prior to game releases. Early access game content is the best way to do this, hence the rapid emergence of alpha and beta trials that we’ve seen recently. Today, we’re going to chat about several of the alpha and beta trials that took place over the course of 2014.


Destiny Alpha/Beta

Part of the reason why Destiny was such such a huge success was due to the game’s very successful Alpha and Beta trials. Activision didn’t sell Destiny purely on hype, but by offering up a sample of what was to come. Sure, the end result may have fell short of expectations for many, but players who committed to the game early (especially long before its release) have found it more difficult to pull away. The Destiny First Look Alpha and Beta were very instrumental in people becoming addicted to the game’s core mechanics, which were truly Destiny‘s main attraction.


Project Spark Beta

Stockpiling user generated content for a brand new IP isn’t easy by any means. The folks at Team Dakota and Skybox Labs were able to weather this daunting storm by conducting a nice long beta, giving those granted early access a chance to fill community of Project Spark with games and other innovations. Even Linkin Park was among the first to use the beta in a creative manner, debuting a music video within the game’s engine.

Elder Scrolls Online

Elder Scrolls Online Beta

One thing can be said about the Elder Scrolls Online beta: it either made or broke the game for many consumers. ESO is an MMO that came a few years later than it should have, and this was clearly on display during the game’s entire beta phase. That’s the great part about betas though–they make the games better for release, and help us buyers make a decision to buy it. At the time of the beta, $15 per month was a tough price for anyone to justify.


Evolve Big Alpha

The Evolve Big Alpha was a great way to reward players for their patience, considering that the game was originally meant to come out last October. Even with Evolve operating quite polished as is, the alpha test went off as alphas typically do on the Xbox One and PC–helping Turtle Rock Studios obtain the feedback necessary to improve the game. The PlayStation 4’s alpha was unfortunately cut short due to Sony Computer Entertainment releasing firmware 2.0 right before the alpha went live, rendering it unplayable. Next month, an Evolve beta will take place on the Xbox One, PC and PS4 leading up to the release of the game.


Heroes of the Storm Alpha

Blizzard’s upcoming MOBA title Heroes of the Storm has been in alpha for a while now, and the closed group of testers have helped tremendously in balancing the game. Heroes is in a unique place when it comes to alphas because it is a free to play game. While you may see other games conduct one or two week betas so that they don’t exhaust their player base before the game’s release, Blizzard is actively working with their community to shape the game to where it needs to be before sending it out into the public. It also helps that the game is an immense amount of fun at the same time, though I’m sure the alpha has a lot to do with that.

What was your favorite video game alpha or beta of this year? Let us know in the comments below.

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  1. BetaTester says:

    They are not on this list, but I really enjoyed the Bloodborne and The Tomorrow Children alpha tests. Bloodborne was dark, difficult and beautiful while The Tomorrow Children was weird and very addicting. 

  2. Sean says:

    Starmade! Awesome spaced based sandbox game still in alpha and available on Steam!

  3. CaptMalcolm says:

    Firefly Online went beta!!!!
    I wasn’t invited, but it was still there.  Shiny!

  4. Stan says:

    I want play evolve and a new dust  514 game by ccp for Eve online.

  5. Larry says:

    Is that fist pic Nova?