There’s a growing trend where MMO developers are finding ways to monetize beta invites and in today’s episode of Chat Bubbles we want to know what you think about it.

This topic came to mind after last weekend’s Neverwinter beta event. The only players that got their hands on Cryptic’s upcoming MMO were members of the press and anyone who has purchased one of the Founder’s Packs. While the Founder’s Packs come with a smattering of in-game goodies, $60 is a bit steep for a game that will be free-to-play (and download) from launch. To be fair, you can sign up for a shot at getting into one of the Neverwinter beta weekends, but the only way to guarantee access is to shell out some cash.

Other games have done this as well, but with different approaches. Blizzard handed out Mists of Pandaria beta invites to anyone who signed up for their annual pass. Guild Wars 2 gave beta access to anyone who pre-purchased the game, but at least you didn’t pay any extra if you knew you wanted the game. The WarZ allowed people into the alpha test for pre-ordering the Pioneer or Legend packs. Troy recently wrote an article about Dirty Bomb which is another game allowing you to buy into the alpha test. So this is definitely a practice that has become the norm and we fully expect this trend to continue.

MMOs are extremely expensive, so is it necessarily bad for companies to try and earn some pre-launch revenue by monetizing the beta invite process? Are there some approaches you think are fine and others that cross the line? Let us know what you think about buying beta access in the comments below!

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