Halo 3 Stridency

There was a lot of bitching and moaning going around yesterday about the lack of Beta access through _Crackdown_. A lot of angry folks sounded off just about everywhere they could, with some even (quite literally) calling for blood. Angry words were spoken (and written), and folks basically just plain made asses out of themselves. It was a bad day to go foraging through discussions boards on any Halo-related site looking for news and updates; most of things that could be read would make your eyes bleed.

There is an entitlement mentality here that I simply don’t understand. Bungie, as the Halo producer, owes the consumer nothing. Zero. Zip. Zilch. That’s the truth, plain and simple. They don’t owe us a thing. Now, granted, they _do_ want to make money. And we’re fortunate that Bungie is a company that actually cares about its customer base enough to continue to support Halo 2 three years after its initial release with new maps, fresh matchmaking lists, and more. But they certainly don’t have to – you’d be hard-pressed to find another video game company out there that does the same. Bungie wants to produce the best quality game possible – they make more money when they do because their customers are happy.

But they don’t owe it to us. We’re lucky and blessed that they opted to even let us _have_ this sneak peek into Halo 3 via the Public Beta. It’s cool and awesome, but again, they didn’t have to do it. They could have just opted to conduct the beta-testing phase completely in-house, the way it’s usually done. Instead, they chose to let their fans and consumers have a say about what works and doesn’t work, what they like and don’t like. It’s a smart move on Bungie’s part because it allows them to produce a game that will be that much more marketable.

And the public beta if _free_. Did you catch that part? It isn’t costing us a dime to play. A lot of folks griped about the fact that they paid $60 for the Beta invite. In point of fact, this is incorrect. These folks paid $60 to buy and play _Crackdown_ – it just happened to have the Halo 3 Beta invitation included. (Much thanks to Stuey for loaning me his copy of _Crackdown_ for a few weeks.)

And remember that the Halo 3 Beta _is_ technology, and we all know how often technology tends to get mucked up. Complaints were made that Bungie should have tested things before the release date. You folks don’t think they didn’t? Please bear in mind that the _Crackdown_ delivery system relies upon more people than just Bungie Studios. There is an entire network of folks in the Xbox Live community who have to do their parts to make this all happen. And Xbox Live updates have been pushed since _Crackdown_ was released to stores, so things were bound to change somewhere along the way. We should count ourselves lucky that it was _only_ the _Crackdown_ folks who suffered the loss of a whole day (omigosh!!!) of Beta goodness.

Here’s the kicker – Bungie is making up for the loss of _one_ day by adding an additional _four_ days to the end of the Beta – which, in my opinion, is a lot more grace than most of these whingers deserve. Was not being able to download the Beta immediately as scheduled frustrating? Sure, it was. Was it disappointing? No doubt. Does that give folks the right to be evil and obnoxious and mean-spirited toward a group of people who are, effectively, giving us a gift? No certainly _not_.

Bungie is doing us a great service with this Beta. Sure, they get to use all the data gleaned from it to produce a better product, but we get to enjoy the awesomeness three full months before the final release. So, suck up your frustrations, Timmy, swallow those harsh words and remember to thank the nice folks at Bungie for letting you play with their toys when you really don’t deserve the honor.

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