What is Closed Beta? Open Beta? Terms Explained
MMORPGs go through testing cycles like every other game. Terms like Closed Beta and Open Beta get tossed around in the MMO universe pretty often, but not everbody knows what these terms mean. What exactly is closed beta? What's open beta? Here's a quick rundown of popular MMO development terms / beta testing terms:
Alpha – This is typically the earliest form of game testing and the most “exclusive”. Typically, Alpha Testing is limited to only a handful of users, usually conducted internally within the studio itself. True alpha testing is never done publicly.
Closed Beta – Closed beta testing precedes open beta. Closed beta tests in MMOs and MMORPGs are typically small in scale and often require beta keys. Players should expect characters to be wiped after the conclusion of closed beta testing. Cash shops are typically not open during this phase of testing. Availability of beta keys varies greatly by game, with some MMORPGs not even requiring beta keys for closed beta while others are extremely exclusive. Sometimes game publishers undergo “pre-closed beta” testing, which is usually the same as closed beta, but even more exclusive.
Open Beta Testing – Open beta follows closed beta and is typically the final round of beta testing. The last remaining bugs, glitches, and other issues are usually addressed during this phase of testing. Characters are typically NOT wiped at the end of open beta testing and is sometimes seen as “full release” by some, as there are no restrictions to the number of beta testers. Anyone who wants to play a game during open beta can. A free to play MMORPG usually launches its cash shop during open beta and has more content available than it did in closed beta.
Commercial Release – Commences upon the completion of open beta testing. Games in commercial release are expected to be much more stable and polished than beta. Cash shops in MMORPGs are always available upon commercial launch. Expect more features and content available during commercial release than any form of beta.