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Guilty Gear Strive beta and the “early access” drama

Just yesterday another little drama has entertained the small fan community following the incoming Guilty Gear: Strive open beta, due an unwanted “early access” leak.

Let’ s summarize the situation a little: Guilty Gear Strive has its release date set on April but, due to its focus on the “new” rollback nectode, will have an open beta for testing a variety of connections from this 19th to the 21th of February. Preordering the game seems to give a day in advantage, same as being a selected streamer or content creator (but only in Japan...for now).

While everyone is waiting and studying every detail of the previosly released trailers and guides, one single tweet stood in the sea of twitter: a combo video by UFOranges.

The “shameless” culprit

A Filipino player, he doesn’t particolary stood up as an influencer, having (originally) around 200 folowers on twitter and 2000 on youtube, with views ranging from 250 to 3000. Most importantly, he’s currently the ONLY ONE to have claimed or having shown to possess an early copy of the beta of Guilty Gear Strive, almost a week before than anyone else

This doesn’t seems anything approved by Arcsys, as they are still currently releasing game content, and no official position or comment has yet been released.

It appears, however, that other people have an early access copy, but are probably forbidden to share content: here’s a clear example, even after correcting his “bad typo” (yeah, right)

While this kind of move doesn’t seems new, it natually caused a lot of reactions, especially from content creators with big following talking about the game from the day of its reveal. Even historical top Japanese players are in the blind from where this came from.

All clues lend us to think that this person wasn’t supposed to share any content of Strive, even if how he could gain a copy before anyone else still remains a mistery.

This comes not as a good new, as giving out early access copies has revelead already to be a bad move, as shown when Tekken was about to release its new Season pass and the european division gave access to it to some european guy before anyone else, causing rage from the community and being called out even by the director of the game itself

If you are called shit by the director of the game you are promoting, you probably fucked up

Early access copies and influencers are a big part of marketing and a game’s success and are impossible to ignore, especially the impact of streaming and twitch.tv.

Arcsystemworks is trying to market the game a lot in the west as well, bringing into consideration not only rollback netcode (as internet connections were not seen as an issue in Japan by the words of the developer themselves), but estetic and marketing as well.

We have also to consider that, by the words of the creator and director of Guilty Gear, Daisuke Ishiwatari himself, at ArcSystemWorks they “are really good  I think at making games but in terms of selling the games we haven’t really figured that out just yet“. Those new approches can be actually good, as we already have seen previously, but can lead to some bad pubblicity. Adding some raw, terrible mistakes (like the wrong pricing of Guilty Gear Strive in Russia and Brazil), that could lead to a weaker launch of the game, witch could result in weaker sales and players engagement for events, leagues or whatever kind of esport support they will create.

In the end: this seems to be a small accident, and won’t probably have (hopefully) any big ripercussions: but for a game trying to reinvent itself and make a big move into the current generation, especially for a genre seen as niche as fighting games, Arcsys really needs to be more careful about its next moves or risk to end up like a certain, different game.

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