A lot of software companies use the whole “beta” thing as a means to get out of any expectation of performance, accountability or merchantability.
And even though they’re sitting pretty, making millions of dollars a year off selling a product which is clearly “released” and funding an entire company, they still leave the beta tag on the product so that they can shrug off any complaints or any responsibility for quality control or even keeping of deadlines or promises.
We’ve seen this in the past with many other “free” products, such as ICQ and Gmail, but never have I seen it so blatantly done as Mojang have done it with Minecraft.
Here’s a company that is actually selling millions of copies of the product to kids, and at the same time, leaving the website broken for days, not delivering to schedules or keeping promises on features, all because it’s not “released”. They have this cute little statement on their website that the product has not been released and may never be actually even finished, so no guarantees.
But the reality of the situation belies the words that are used, because they’re selling bucket loads of copies, and have a current paid user base of just over 3.5 million accounts. At some point you can’t hide behind the “beta” tag anymore, and have to have some responsibility for your uptime, and be careful what you promise people because they expect you to keep your word.
This time has come Mojang.