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Jumpgate Evolution is an MMO game set in space with a strong focus on space ship battle. It will require skilled piloting and promises to feature some epic dogfights. You can find out more about the basic concepts and features in this Jumpgate Evolution preview. JGE was originally scheduled to be released today but developers NetDevil, with the support of publishers Codemasters, have announced an indefinite delay. In this article we take a look at what is happening and when we can expect to see Jumpgate online.
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The sign up for the Beta is still accepting entries and the response has been massive so far with well over 150,000 people expressing an interest in the game. However NetDevil are still working on perfecting the features and content and will not open the Beta up until they are happy with the state of the game. They explained in a recent press release that the closed “Friends and Family” testing stage threw up a number of issues that they feel have to be dealt with before the game can be opened up to a larger audience. They are determined not to disappoint fans and so they are taking the extra time to make sure the game will meet with a favourable response.
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Beta Test as Demo
This raises an interesting issue about the purpose of Beta testing. Closed Beta tests are less common than they used to be and this is partly because news is often leaked. For an MMO game early bad word of mouth can be disastrous. Open Beta used to be about perfecting the gameplay and even fixing late bugs but it seems that today it is more about marketing the game and building an audience before the proper release. Games need decent subscriber populations in order to succeed.
When you ask fans to beta test a game for free your expectations have to be limited. Some of them are wonderful and identify bugs with detailed steps for reproduction or suggest excellent tweaks to the gameplay or rules while others are virtually useless. Online Beta tests can be very useful but they are no replacement for an experienced QA department. With the potential backlash from a bad Beta test the fear is that the game could sink because of it, even if subsequent changes are made. This is a sad state of affairs, the original purpose of the Beta test is completely lost if this is the case. Instead of garnering useful feedback for last minute tweaks it becomes an early demo.
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The Jumpgate Evolution Beta probably has enough people signed up already but if you want to try your luck here is the official sign up page. The game still looks fantastic and the Jumpgate MMO game promises to be well worth checking out. The footage at E3 was impressive and you’ll find further details of that on the official website too. The delay may be frustrating, and I for one can’t wait for the Beta to start up, but the developers have taken a sensible approach and with so many MMO games going straight down the toilet on release it is commendable that they are determined to provide something that will really impress the fans and build a strong following.