The Battlefield 3 beta was not supposed to be a marketing tactic. It is an open beta and open betas tend to be filled with problems. What he’s saying is that it was a failure because it brought bad press to the game since it contained many glitches and bugs. Well duh, that is typically what betas contain; glitches and bugs. That is the point of a beta and as far as I’m concerned it was a success since many of these glitches and bugs have been reported and will more than likely not make it into the final released of the game.
Open betas can only make a game look bad because they are not complete. That’s how it’s always been with this kind of thing. If the game worked perfectly and had no issues what the hell would the point be in launching a public beta rather than just launching the game? A beta is not just to find the small trifle issues in a game like gun balance. That is what patches are for. It’s purpose is to find the massive game breaking issues that plague the most recent build so they don’t make it into the final product. Developers often have no way of knowing these problems even exist unless they put out a public beta. No developing team would put out one for their game if they were sure it didn’t contain any game breaking issues.
The only reason it brings games bad press these days to have bugs during the beta of all times is because the term ‘beta’ has been skewed by misuse as a new word for ‘demo’ (as far as marketing teams are concerned). An open beta like this is a stress test of sorts. That is not a demo. A demo has to work properly and already be wiped clean of flaws so people may properly try out the gameplay. That’s not to say that this was not also supposed to let people try out the gameplay like a demo, but that was not the primary goal. I guarantee you though, no game would put put itself on display during it’s beta phase as very few games will look appealing during that time because of problems with the game that need to be ironed out.
You can’t call the Battlefield 3 beta a “marketing failure” because it didn’t have anything to do with marketing in the first place and it was going to contain gameplay problems simply by definition as a beta. Everyone’s claims of “It’s a beta” are entirely warranted. It doesn’t matter how flawed the build is when they launch it. It certainly could have been better but in case you haven’t noticed the more complex a game is the harder it is to iron out all the flaws with it.
When it comes to a game like Battlefield 3 Dice cannot possibly do all the testing on their own to know where the issues are and people should start getting used to finding more bugs and glitches in open betas as games become increasingly more complex and sizable. That is something no developer can escape and bad press or not it is a vital step to the development of a game. It is idiocy to chastise them as if they shouldn’t have put out an open beta at all. If you think this beta was bad you clearly have never played the Hellgate London beta. At least the players of BF3 were able to get the game running at all. Weird looking player model issues are hardly something break a sweat over.
If there had been no beta at all then you would only deal with these issues on launch day and that would really bring them bad press. It doesn’t matter if they piss off some of their fans in the process. The opinions of people who clearly don’t understand game development should not impede the progress of a potentially good game.