(Topic ID: 130305)

When did shipping beta code become standard?


By NJGecko

4 years ago



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    #1 4 years ago

    If this has been discussed already, ignore...

    Reading up on Kiss and following the nice regular Facebook updates (awesome by the way!) it looks like Kiss is going out the door with .92 code or something similar.

    Stern is officially labeling it beta code.

    I know in the past games shipped with code that needed some tweaks. That's been common since Bally/Williams days. My ROM burner is testament to that. But I'm very surprised to see that Stern is going through major iterations of the code at the factory with games already being delivered. Officially calling it beta code means that they acknowledge the code isn't done.

    When did that become OK? Like officially sanctioned OK, not just "people buy machines with some holes in the code, but Stern said they are working on it, and the game shipped with a final code build" OK? Like people are paying $4k+ for a machine that is being delivered with beta code OK?

    Maybe I'm off base here, but as a consumer that kind of irks me.

    #3 4 years ago

    I know that thread, but I think Kiss is the first time they are shipping games and actually labeling it as beta code (unless I'm mistaken).

    #4 4 years ago

    Oh OK. Maybe this is advice by Stern's council/lawyer? It is the first I have heard of them officially calling it that.

    #5 4 years ago

    TWD rolled out with very bare code, and Star Trek also was very bare in those first videos.

    Those 2 come to mind immediately. So, no I don't think its a new thing. There will be software updates every week or 2 for the first couple of months.

    #6 4 years ago
    Quoted from frolic:

    TWD rolled out with very bare code, and Star Trek also was very bare in those first videos.
    Those 2 come to mind immediately. So, no I don't think its a new thing. There will be software updates every week or 2 for the first couple of months.

    That's not the point I'm after. We all know that the code was early. The first time someone played it it was pretty evident. But now Stern is actually calling it beta. So they are officially recognizing that it's not finished. That's a big shift.

    Think of it in cell phone terms. You buy an iPhone. It works out of the box, right? Sure. Maybe there is room for some tweaks which is what software updates are for, but it works. Would you be OK buying an iPhone if it was labeled as shipping with a beta version of iOS? It's a change in marketing.

    #7 4 years ago

    I think labeling it beta is a great idea - it tells folks that "we don't consider it complete either, so stay tuned".

    #8 4 years ago
    Quoted from NJGecko:

    That's not the point I'm after. We all know that the code was early. The first time someone played it it was pretty evident. But now Stern is actually calling it beta. So they are officially recognizing that it's not finished. That's a big shift.
    Think of it in cell phone terms. You buy an iPhone. It works out of the box, right? Sure. Maybe there is room for some tweaks which is what software updates are for, but it works. Would you be OK buying an iPhone if it was labeled as shipping with a beta version of iOS? It's a change in marketing.

    Calling the code beta is largely a semantic issue as games have been shipping with unfinished code for years. I think it is reasonable so people will understand the code is still a work in progress. I would rather see games shipped earlier with early code than not have them available at all until the code is finished. Sure back in the 90s games shipped with finished code, but back then installing updated code was much more difficult. That gives people the option of buying the game early and updating the code later vs just waiting to buy when the code is finished.

    As for the cell phone analogy every new major iOS has had issues that don't get fixed until the X.1 or X.1.1 revision. On the day the phone is release to the public the OS isn't labeled a beta, but such versions are available to developers beforehand, which is pretty much anyone who pays a $100 fee. If new iPhones were available earlier with a beta OS with the understanding that the OS would be updated later I'm sure people would be lined up to buy it.

    #9 4 years ago

    Buying a Stern game within the first 6 months of release should be called the Stern Early Access Program (ala Steam)

    #10 4 years ago
    Quoted from twenty84:

    Calling the code beta is largely a semantic issue

    I agree. The Stern release model is well known to us now. The factory production schedule rules everything, and games will ship as they are manufactured, not when software is ready.

    I suppose if anything, if the term "beta" is new, it at least acknowledges that the software is early and there is no expectation that it is final.

    #11 4 years ago

    After the lay offs in 07 08 it became standard before than not so much. At least in my eyes sans WOF

    #12 4 years ago

    IMO, I think Wrestlemania forced Stern to release KISS earlier than expected.

    You can always do what I'm doing with KISS: LE already bought and I'm waiting to open it in the Oct. - Dec. timeframe. It's my recovery gift to myself due to rotator surgery. The way I see it, the excruciating pain I went through (I'm on day 23 post surgery) and 6 month recovery I'm facing, that I deserve to treat myself. lol

    #13 4 years ago

    well atleast now with the newest Spike Board System, it takes u minutes to install new code then before on the SAM board system which could take an half hour to update code on.

    in the early days we had to use Rom burners.. that was an pain in the butt, now just take out ur USB stick.. but i feel that there should be an option in the future that the game looks out on the internet once every week or so to check if there is an new update and if so.. the game update will perform on its own without the need of the operator in place.. that should be the future

    #14 4 years ago

    Better than waiting 2+ years for a game to ship. Thank the pinball gods for Steam! I mean Stern!

    #15 4 years ago

    The issue with beta code being on it when its shipped is that the "Pro" model is geared towards operators but not many operators will ever update the code. It would of been better to ship Premium/LE's with beta code where they'd end up in an home environment where updates are more likely to occur. Of course there are many reasons why they prob ship Pro's first including less toys/less testing etc.

    #16 4 years ago

    I'm good with it. Having them ackowledge it as a beta code ensures future updates.

    #17 4 years ago

    Just a few games are going out with .92 I believe and think 1.0 is why they have been calling release code which is probably a week or so away in town for launch parties and when major shipments go out.

    #18 4 years ago

    I think it's two fold...

    1) As some speculate above and on other threads, the quick timeline of KISS announcement to KISS shipment seems quick and may be due to Wrestlemania's struggling sales (I can't say for certain that WWEWM is struggling as I don't have the sales numbers but from the reaction online and from other players I know, it doesn't seem like WWEWM is being made hand over fist at the factory). Calling it Beta may be another way of saying "hey, we needed to start selling SOMETHING in 2015 if you guys like buying NIB machines!". (Again, pure speculation)

    2) By calling it Beta they're giving themselves an out for all the crap they get here and elsewhere about not having full code at release. The "where's the code" movement, Stern may not acknowledge because it's a waste of their time, but they certainly are aware of it. Now they have an out. YOU are choosing to buy something with Beta code. It's not slipped in there behind all the shiny bells and whistles. They're being transparent, and leaving it up to you to decide if you want to spend $5-9K on something with Beta tagged to it so when people inevitably complain, they can say they were transparent about it.

    From there Stern can only face grief from customers if the code isn't updated in a timely manner. Players may want machines and accept the Beta code for a certain amount of time, but if Stern sleeps on the code and pretends like it will just be that code for the forseeable future, they may struggle to sell NIB games to those who don't like that type of business model.

    #19 4 years ago
    Quoted from NJGecko:

    Officially calling it beta code means that they acknowledge the code isn't done.
    When did that become OK..?

    When we started buying games that didn't even exist.....(sarcasm...I think...).............Joey

    #20 4 years ago
    Quoted from NJGecko:

    When did that become OK? Like officially sanctioned OK, not just "people buy machines with some holes in the code, but Stern said they are working on it, and the game shipped with a final code build" OK? Like people are paying $4k+ for a machine that is being delivered with beta code OK?
    Maybe I'm off base here, but as a consumer that kind of irks me.

    All software has been like this ever since broadband was mainstream. It's not just pins.

    PC games, console games, GPS devices, smart phones, blu-ray players, HDTVs, AV receivers, cars, and so on.

    Part of the reason is that you have easy access to updates. The other reason is software is quite complicated these days, and it's more important to get it out the door, rather than leave it languishing in development for years.

    #21 4 years ago
    Quoted from ForceFlow:

    All software has been like this ever since broadband was mainstream. It's not just pins.
    PC games, console games, GPS devices, smart phones, blu-ray players, HDTVs, AV receivers, cars, and so on.
    Part of the reason is that you have easy access to updates. The other reason is software is quite complicated these days, and it's more important to get it out the door, rather than leave it languishing in development for years.

    But, again, that's not my point. I get that software is often a living entity. It's there and can be updated. It's the official labeling of shipping a product with "beta" software. That's the difference. It may be the same level of completeness that has been standard in the past, but now it's officially recognized as unfinished.

    #22 4 years ago

    I know what you're saying. But do you even buy NIB?

    #23 4 years ago
    Quoted from TheFamilyArcade:

    I know what you're saying. But do you even buy NIB?

    Bro, do you even NIB?

    #24 4 years ago

    As a software engineer I really don't get it. All software is post ship patched these days so I understand that part of it. At the same time code for a pin should be really simple, I think Stern is just cheaping out on talent or the software development process.

    #25 4 years ago

    I know that Stern has shipped pro models across sea (they often get them first) with Beta code before.

    #26 4 years ago
    Quoted from TheFamilyArcade:

    I know what you're saying. But do you even buy NIB?

    Yep. I've unboxed a Metallica, WoZ, Star Trek LE, Tron, Luci...

    #27 4 years ago

    Avengers had the worst code out of the box. The scoring did not even work during multiball.

    #28 4 years ago

    At NASA we launch billion+ dollar probes and rovers to other planets with beta software all the time. There are months or years of flight time until it arrives at its destination in order to finish the software and upload it remotely.

    #29 4 years ago
    Quoted from NJGecko:

    But, again, that's not my point. I get that software is often a living entity. It's there and can be updated. It's the official labeling of shipping a product with "beta" software. That's the difference. It may be the same level of completeness that has been standard in the past, but now it's officially recognized as unfinished.

    Ok, if you're talking about slapping an official "beta" label on a product, it was trendy for a while. It was like an early sneak peek. Users had the opportunity to try something new and offer feedback, and developers got free beta testers.

    Heck, on steam, there are alphas and their "early access" program.

    http://store.steampowered.com/earlyaccessfaq/?snr=1_200_200_Early+Access

    -2
    #30 4 years ago

    beta 'code' has been 'shipped' since the first piece of 'code' was written.
    (in fact for the longest time, Google's software development motto was "always in beta", and frankly, their code quality shows that is still the case)

    Software has bugs. ALL software has bugs.
    Deal with it. Im sick of people on this site acting like they have been personally wronged because some pinball software didnt do exactly what they thought it was supposed to do.

    #31 4 years ago
    Quoted from btw75:

    I think labeling it beta is a great idea - it tells folks that "we don't consider it complete either, so stay tuned".

    this.gif

    #32 4 years ago
    Quoted from Evan55:

    Deal with it. Im sick of people on this site acting like they have been personally wronged because some pinball software didnt do exactly what they thought it was supposed to do.

    And I'm tired of Fanboyz supporting a Manufacturer who shipped a "production" game with beta software. Simple fact is in NO INDUSTRY do the consumers allow manufacturers to sell us something which is incomplete to the point of barely functional. You don't buy a TV if it isn't capable of changing channels. You don't by a Blue Ray player if it only plays a few titles. You don't buy a Console with only one game written for it.

    The simple fact is shipping KISS with a "beta label" is well... flinging sh1t at us the consumers of their product.
    Stern deserves no credit giving this a beta label - they need to seriously get a reality check.

    #33 4 years ago
    Quoted from DevilsTuner:

    After the lay offs in 07 08 it became standard before than not so much. At least in my eyes sans WOF

    Pretty much when SAM system came out and USB updates happened.

    #34 4 years ago
    Quoted from barakandl:

    Avengers had the worst code out of the box. The scoring did not even work during multiball.

    Same with XMen Magneto Multiball - sure it scored but it never counted towards your total.

    #35 4 years ago
    Quoted from ZenTron:

    The issue with beta code being on it when its shipped is that the "Pro" model is geared towards operators but not many operators will ever update the code. It would of been better to ship Premium/LE's with beta code where they'd end up in an home environment where updates are more likely to occur. Of course there are many reasons why they prob ship Pro's first including less toys/less testing etc.

    I suppose that's true, but it's certainly to the operator's benefit if they do. We get the latest Sterns around here and the Op always updates to the latest code. When he does, it revives interest in the game for awhile and he makes more money.

    #36 4 years ago

    When did updating with USB become possible on Sterns?

    #37 4 years ago
    Quoted from DutchTommy:

    .. but i feel that there should be an option in the future that the game looks out on the internet once every week or so to check if there is an new update and if so.. the game update will perform on its own without the need of the operator in place.. that should be the future

    This is such a non-issue for me. Installing/shipping a machine with a $10 wifi adapter and having to configure it just to check for updates that happen once a year at most (and then never again after a few) is pretty worthless to me.

    #38 4 years ago
    Quoted from joelreeves:

    When did updating with USB become possible on Sterns?

    I think it was World Poker Tour. It started with SAM system games. I remember WPT and Pirates being pretty bare when we first put them on route. The "ace in the hole" didn't work for shit.

    Brian

    #39 4 years ago

    All I know is that I'm not paying that kind of money to be a beta tester.

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