Need for Speed Rivals - E3 Demo

Need for Speed Rivals is the newest iteration of the popular EA racing franchise.  I had the opportunity to play the demo while at E3 on the PS4.  The NFSR demo area had three bays, with each bay comprising of three cops and three racers.  For you non math majors out there, including me, there were a total of nine racers and nine police officers.  The nine racers can go about their business competing in various races while the police officers can initiate a police chase at any time.  This is a pretty cool feature implemented into NFSR. 
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Metal Gear: Rising Demo

Metal Gear: Rising Demo was just released yesterday January 22nd for the United States & Canada and January 23rd for everyone else. Make sure you go ahead and check it out now!!!

Also If you would like to catch me playing the demo and kicking some ass, check out my video below.

Phantom Out

Dead Space 3 Demo

Christmas may be over but EA is giving gamers a belated holiday gift. As of January 22, 2013 you can get a demo of Dead Space 3 for Xbox 360 and Playstation 3 via there respective networks. Although if you are a 360 owner you have the option of going to and signing up for early beta access (while supplies last, expires 1/14/2013 @ 11:59 PM PST, stupid lawyer speak). The demo not only includes the new planet that you crashed on, which is of course teaming with Necromorphs, but it allows you to play co-op as either the reluctant Issac Clarke or the new character Sergeant John Carver. Wow, someone for the military is actually stepping to help this time. What radical thinking? If you find the game to be what you are looking for then look forward to the full game on February 5th in North America for the 360, PS3, and PC. If you are in Europe then don't worry, you only have to wait until February 8th.

This Weeks Geek - Beta? Demo? Bema?

In this day and age all triple A games are expected to have a demo or a beta before it launches.  Gamers are expected to have a chance to play through a small portion of a game before they have to actually commit money to it. I know the demo and beta is nothing new, but the ease at which they are accessible is. The question then becomes, what is really the difference between a beta and a demo, especially an open beta that seems to really blur the line? That is the focus of This Weeks Geek.

A beta is traditionally software that is nearly complete, but not quite there. The main code has been completed, but there are still bugs. These bugs can range from graphical glitches to game balance issues. The creators will invite a group of people to start playing the game, and in exchange they get bug reports. These reports are then used to improve the final game. This is very important as a company normally cannot afford as many in house testers as they get from a beta. The result is (traditionally) a more polished game at release.

Now a demo, in the past, has been part of a released game. Developers take a level or two from the completed project and make it available to everyone. People can play and make an informed decision of a game before it even comes out. I don't think I even need to explain why it is great that you get to test a game before buying it.

So the differences seem pretty clear cut, or at least they did until the advent of the open beta and pre-release demo. Open beta's are near release versions of the games that anyone can play. Most people, even though it says beta on the title, expect these to accuratly reflect the final product. And while the product claims to be in testing, you will be hard pressed to find a bug in an open beta. Their may be precious balance issues that are found this way, but mostly it is a marketing gimick to promote the game.  In this sense the beta feels more like a demo.  Then you have the pre-release demo, as seen most recently in Kingdoms of Amalur and Mass Effect 3. While both of these are good demos, they have bugs. While you are supposed to playing an example of the finished game, it seems like they are using this as an excuse for us to find said bugs, and hope they are reported (or at least they look for the complaints on forums, we gamers love to complain). An example of this is the Mass Effect 3 multiplayer demo where your characters abilities will not be on the quick bar when you change to a new character while in a lobby.

Now I am not saying there are not dedicated betas and demos out there. Most MMO's have demos that allow you to play a portion of the game, and then play to continue. And Diablo 3 is under a closed beta which is constantly being changed and balanced. But I am saying the line is becoming blurred. What does it mean for the future? When will a beta actually be nothing more then a marketing gimmick (more so then they are now)? Or am I looking too deep into this and I just need to sit down and play more games?