xbox game preview

It has been a long running joke among new generation console owners that us gamers who purchase day one edition games are basically beta testers. Games come delivered in either physical or digital packages, with bugs, with issues and with things that need fixing.

This was never more true than at the end of 2014 when Ubisoft had a bit of a nightmare with their releases. Assassin’s Creed Unity was in the firing line for graphical glitches, game saving bugs and downright sloppiness. The same can quite easily be said of CD Projeckt Red and their release of The Witcher III: Wild Hunt in May of 2015.

So the decision from Xbox HQ to begin to deliver half finished titles to gamers via the medium of the Xbox Game Preview Program is a strange one. Now, it must be said I’ve never understood the draw of Steam Early Access and the like as when I play a game, I want to play the finished article. I’m well aware that said finished article may contain numerous bugs, but at least things aren’t going to change too much; it will always be the game that the developer had in mind to deliver to the masses.

The Xbox One Game Preview threatens to wipe all of that out.

Whilst I fully expect the smaller indie developers to make the most of the program, asking Xbox One gamers to help them discover the bugs and work the game to the vast majorities liking, I don’t want to be a beta tester. I want the dev to point the game in the direction of where it is meant to go. I want them to take all the credit – it’s what we pay them our hard earned cash for. It should be up to them to deliver a product that has been played, QA’d and fully tested prior to it going live onto the marketplace.

As someone who grew up navigating the galaxy in the search of narcotics in the original Elite, I was always casting a wistful eye over in the direction of those PC gamers who were able to check out Elite Dangerous; never enough to go and ditch my Xbox One for a PC, but there were times when I wasn’t far away from that thought. And so when I heard that Dangerous would be making its way to Xbox One, my heart skipped a beat and I jumped up with excitement. Come Monday 15th June 2015 at approx 18:30 hours BST, that excitement quickly withdrew from my veins when it was confirmed Elite would be one of the first titles to make use of the Game Preview.

Why do we need it? We don’t need to help point the game in the right direction – the PC version is already up and running – we should just be taking exactly what they have and porting it over, making it completely console friendly in the process. Are we just being used as Beta testers who are paying for the privilege? I fully understand that a trial period will be available for each and every game added to the preview scheme, but hey, why not just drop us all a free demo of the full finished game instead? Then we can decide whether we want to buy something or not.

Part of the draw of new games is the excitement it brings when everyone gets the chance to experience the title for the first time and at the same time as their friends around the world. Part of that is lost with the arrival of the Game Preview.

Do Xbox One owners need or want the Xbox Game Preview Program? Each to their own on the need front, but I’m taking a stab that the vast majority of us just want to play games, earn Gamerscore and have an enjoyable time.

Something that a bug-ridden half-finished preview title cannot bring!

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Justin Plunton
Justin Plunton
7 years ago

I can see a number of benefits to the game preview program.

1. You can support the game development, as i mentioned, some great games just through lack of funding have been completely scrapped. this could possibly be the difference of having the game and not even knowing about a game. In a sense its basically Kickstarter but with a little extra bonus of being able to play. Is Kickstarter a bad idea?

2. A lot of developers listen intently to feedback, because of this the community can help shape and change a game for the better.

3. Unforeseen bugs like the Payday bug could be avoided (still waiting for them to patch the damn game)

4. To my understanding these are full games they are just time locked until the release date. Not just one level tailored to be really cool whilst the rest of the game is pants and either poorly done, just not as exciting after the first few mins/hours of the game.

5. While it doesn’t interest me, some gamers would be very passionate about a game and would love to see the games progression. I have only played one game early access and that was DayZ, It was pretty cool actually seeing patch notes to see what was being added, new guns, cars, equipment and alike, almost like a free DLC every few weeks.

I am sure there are many other benefits i haven’t thought of. I personally doubt i’ll take part in any unless there is something really nice, but it’s definitely not a bad thing which appears to be the general aura of this write-up.

Neil Watton
Reply to  Justin Plunton
7 years ago

Just wanted to pick up on point number 4 because unfortunately that isn’t the case.

Each game comes with a note in the description… ‘This game is a work in progress. It may or may not change over time and may not release as a final product. Please purchase only if you are comfortable with the current state of the unfinished game’.

Whilst I should suspect the vast majority of the games in the Preview WILL release, there is a chance that, for your money, you will get nothing more than what is included at the time of purchase. Possibly seeing you pay for nothing more than a demo – maybe even a demo of something that is never released?

Massive thumbs up for your second point though. That is possibly the main attraction for sticking anything in as Preview.

Justin Plunton
Justin Plunton
7 years ago

Quite narrow minded, pedantic and frankly shows your age. if you don’t like it don’t take part… simples

Some developers are only a very small team… look at Minecraft as one example when it started just 1 guy developed that… how long would that take for him to beta test all of that himself. Lets not even mention the cost to make these things, while i understand the larger companies should have their act together the smaller ones need all the support they can get, it could be the difference between the game being released or scraped.

Also exhibit A… Payday has just been released, the Crime.net feature does not work on all consoles, i myself suffer from this, it works on my partners console but not mine, it’s just not something that can be comprehended without a larger number of users giving it a go.

I honestly think this is a ridiculous write up by a younger gamer and should be removed from the site as to not ruin the rep and content of the site which i read often.

Neil Watton
Reply to  Justin Plunton
7 years ago

Thanks for your comment. Whilst I know many a site that would swiftly block or remove the negativity, I’m more than happy to let it flow. I’m also more than happy to keep the post live on site…mainly because it a) is an opinion, b) is pretty well written – if I may say so myself – and c) isn’t a write up by a younger gamer…although where age comes into anything I really don’t know.

However, I must completely disagree with much you’ve written. Much like you disagree with my point of view.

The point you make about not having to take part stands true. I’ll never go out there and tell people what is what. If some decide to get involved in the Preview program, then that’s completely their call. It doesn’t however stop me from asking the original question as to whether the scheme is actually needed. I for one, wish it wasn’t around.

As for Payday…are you saying all games should go through the Preview scheme with gamers buying something just to check they actually work as intended? What an absolutely hideous thought.

Glad you like the rest of our stuff though 🙂