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Pay money to beta test Elite: Dangerous

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Become a legend(ary twat)!

Elite, the space trading game from days of yore is one of those games I grew up playing despite not really understanding how economies work, though it was Frontier: Elite II’s open-ended world  that really grabbed me by the fuzzy plums. I’m glad then, that Elite: Dangerous’ Kickstarter attempts have succeeded, and that it’s finally getting a third sequel. I’d actually love to get in on the game’s beta – but there’s no way I’m paying $150 for the privilege.

To access Elite: Dangerous’ beta, you’re going to have to pay up. $50 gets you in to the beta, while $150 gets you access to the premium beta, which also nets you a copy of the game when it’s finally out, and all of the game’s impending DLC.

“The start of the Premium Beta phase is another exciting moment in our development—from today we have over 10,000 additional people playing the game,” Elite creator David Braben said in an announcement (via PC Gamer)  “This is a significant and sensible step-change with which to test the next level of scaling of our cloud-based systems and servers as we move towards the very large numbers of people we will eventually have playing.”

Something has gone very wrong in the world of videogames. When I was a young lad, companies paid people money to test their games, making sure that they were fit for public consumption, and weren’t bug-riddled messes. They were called QA testers, with business cards and everything. In this patch-happy internet-connected era, there’s far less impetus on developers to make sure their games actually work. Or on paid quality assurance, because it seems that users themselves are no expected to pay for the privilege of finding bugs.

I understand that in this age of Kickstarters, it’s a way for developers to get in extra funding and users probably like feeling special through their early access, but it’s deplorable. It is of course not the first game to charge users for beta access, nor is it likely the last.

But it bloody well should be.

Last Updated: June 2, 2014


  1. Admiral Chief Kilo

    June 2, 2014 at 12:02

    PASS, oh so very much PASS on paying THAT


  2. FoxOneZA

    June 2, 2014 at 12:05

    Polyphony have being doing it with GT and that turned out successful so why so why not?


  3. RinceofFuturePast

    June 2, 2014 at 12:05

    Wow, that is taking the proverbial piss.


  4. Dutch Matrix

    June 2, 2014 at 12:14

    So they want me to pay in the area of R1700.00 to test their game for them? HA AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHHHAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHAAAAAA
    I will not even pay that for a final release Mass Effect game. Unless Jennifer Hale dresses up as Commander Shepard, delivers it to my door and tells me how awesome I am for doing this….


    • Hammersteyn

      June 2, 2014 at 12:17

      You want her to dress as a dude?


    • Wyzak

      June 2, 2014 at 15:27

      Not with that attitude no 😛

      It’s a reward for very long fans of the series with very fat wallets. I kick-started the standard version and I’m patiently waiting for it to be released sometime.


      • Dutch Matrix

        June 2, 2014 at 15:34

        Is he a very long fan???


  5. Hammersteyn

    June 2, 2014 at 12:16

    This is like visiting a new Disneyland only the rides are still not yet tested,but you pay to test them.
    *Please sign this waiver before getting on said ride.


  6. Iblis Bane

    June 2, 2014 at 12:22

    Crazy. 😀 I’ve been a long time Elite fan, a player of all similar games (Vega Strike, X, etc.) and this will almost certainly be awesome. 😀 Not paying to beta test though. And certainly not paying R1500-odd even for a DLC (they’re already planning paid DLC) inclusive version of the final game.


  7. Sageville

    June 2, 2014 at 12:25

    I was all eager to try this…. until I saw the price for a bloody beta?

    Normally you pay people to do beta testing, not the other way around, so officially, they can go suck a lumpy fart outta my ass.


  8. Galbedir

    June 2, 2014 at 13:08

    While the game itself looks freaking AMAZING and I do very much want it eventually…I wont even pay $150 for the final release with any expansions that follow. Bring the price down, or ill have to give this a miss.


  9. Alien Emperor Trevor

    June 2, 2014 at 13:08

    $50 is pre-order cost of final game, then $80 includes beta access, then this $150 monstrosity includes all future dlc. #justsaying

    I’ll wait until it’s on special anyway 😉 Looks good though – loved the cap ship battle video they released a few months back


  10. Andre116

    June 2, 2014 at 13:08

    Ahh….I still remember Elite II. The whole game fit on 1 stiffy…that’s 1.44Mb for you youngster out there! It was insane…the whole freaking galazy on one stiffy!!! It had planets and with cities and space station!

    Ok, I’m going back into the shadows now.


  11. Ultimo_Cleric N7

    June 2, 2014 at 13:25

    Are they mad. No really, are they absolutely nuts?


  12. Rags

    June 2, 2014 at 14:18

    Its called backing. You are not a QA tester, you just get to play the game before anyone else and give feedback if you want to help shape the game. You don’t have to submit any detailed reports.

    And $150 is not that much considering you get the game and all DLC which is at least worth $100.

    So no, their 200 man strong team consists of QA too.

    And considering how many have given well over $30 000 to back Star Citizen, yeah there is a market for that.


    • terryfried

      June 3, 2014 at 11:22

      Funny how elite gets all the flack. It is one of the cheaper games. If you divide money raised by no of contributes the average is £60 if you check your average star citezen it is £100.

      The final game price of end is just£35, so what’s the problem.

      If you don’t want to invest and test don’t there are plenty who do. And if it was cheeper they would have too many testers in too little space on the test server.


  13. Phoenix_Dfire

    June 3, 2014 at 09:46

    The alpha and beta backers are helping to get the game written. They paid that cash because they wanted Elite Dangerous because no publisher would touch it or they demand so many changes that it would not be the game the developer wanted. When was the last time you saw a decent space sim? That would have been the X series before rebirth and that’s because publishers think we all to dump to handle a game with a little complexity.

    No one is asking you to pitch in at the level and if you wait a few months the full game will be available at a much reduced price. Frontier are a small (in size) independent development house so the have to use this kind of approach if they’re going to get a game which models the 400 billion or so star systems in the galaxy. What you really have to worry about is if the big publishers who can afford the testing, try to follow this model for the next rubbish fps.


  14. Mendes!

    June 3, 2014 at 10:27

    I bought the premium beta the other day… and yes although $150, or rather £100, to me was a lot of money, I’d just been paid, I’d been watching far too many videos of the game and I’ve been waiting for it for almost 30 years… 30 very long years, so I thought why not, in this case it’s a small price to pay.
    And lets not forget £35 of that goes to the full game, another £35 for all the DLC of which I suspect they’ll be some completely awesome content. And the last £30, in my eyes goes, goes to a small and dedicated team of developers who are taking advice of the fans to shape a game we all want and not what shareholders think we want.
    If I can help in some small way to make that game better by giving my backing and helping iron out a few bugs then in this instance I don’t mind paying. It really is a privilege as the game is already completely stunning.
    If I’d been forced to pay this to test the next COD or Battlefiled game I’d have been upset; on many, many levels and not least the fact that we all pay for these ‘complete’ game and end up testing them anyway, until the inevitable 2 or 3 patches are released. But I wasn’t forced, I could have waited for the actual release rather blowing one nights pub money on it.
    If charging for the Beta to raise additional funds means it’ll hopefully be as bug free as possible rather than rushed out unfinished by the Shareholders then I for one support that decision.
    There’s nothing for anyone to be annoyed about, if you don’t like paying for the beta, then don’t, wait for the full game. IT WILL BE WORTH IT!


  15. sweetcheeks

    June 3, 2014 at 16:18

    Meh… Premium Beta was a $150 kickstarter reward. They did the right thing in making it available to people that missed the kickstarter campaign for the same price that backers had to pay. I didn’t hear about the kickstarter until after that it was over so I’m glad that they’ve opened it up and I wouldn’t expect to pay less than the kickstarter folks… I didn’t “pay 150 to play a beta” I backed the game with a $150 contribution and I get early beta access, a full copy of the game, and all of the future expansions for free.


  16. lokokokode

    June 7, 2014 at 17:38

    You’re absolutely right. Its the same with EQN Landmark. People were even cheated by saying they can keep their ressources, gathered in closed beta, but weeks after they changed their mind. And yes, you had to pay for alpha, closed beta etc. So, its like u said, people were payed some while ago but now companies are even raising money with finding their bugs… stupid world isnt it?


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