In her Question of the Day, Spinks asks if players who pay to play are more invested in their games of choice.
I would definitely say this is the case of the Guild Wars 2 beta, which has necessitated paying $60 upfront in order to experience the game before release.
There is a certain contingent of MMO players that are fiercely loyal to their titles and, for whatever reason, wish newer games to fail. Some use open betas to demo games and if they don’t live up to expectations, attempt to create a negative current against a game or actively grief other players in public channels.
A paid-for beta filters out these voices – everyone who is playing GW2 has a vested interest in its success. This creates its own challenges, as opinions have to be taken with a grain of salt. Would all of these bloggers that invested $60 do so again, now that they have seen the content? Or would they just feel foolish for admitting that they were wrong to do so?
Either way, betas are now firming in the marketing domain, and I believe the days of being able to play a beta and then cancel your order are truly over.