Paragon Retail Packaging Could Do A Better Job Explaining The Game Isn’t Finished
Yesterday, Epic Games showed off the retail packaging for Paragon Essentials Edition. You can head to your local store today and pick it up. There’s one thing you should know, though: The game isn’t done.
For those of us steeped in gaming news and culture, paid early access and beta tests are daily occurrence. But for many more casual customers who walk into a store to browse the shelves before purchasing, they might not realize that the Paragon disc in the box doesn’t include a fully finished and tested game.
As you can see in the picture above, the front of the box doesn’t mention the words “beta” or “paid early access.” It also doesn’t explain that Paragon will eventually be a free game.
We asked Epic how it is planning on handling consumer education, as unfinished games at retail aren’t common. A representative explained that the back of the box does have necessary language, though without an image, we can’t judge size or placement.
“Paragon is currently in beta and in paid early access,” an Epic representative told us. “A retail Paragon Essentials Edition will be available in the United States, Canada, and Latin America on June 7, 2016. The Paragon Essentials Edition not only gives players instant access to the closed beta but comes with in-game coins, Master Challenges, skins, and in-game boosts at a great value for players during the beta period and beyond. In addition to retailer education, in-store point of sale and advertising indicate that Paragon is an evolving experience currently in beta. The back of the Paragon Essentials Edition box highlights that it will grant buyers 'Instant Beta Access.'"
None of this is to say that the $60 Paragon Essentials Edition (published by Sony) is a bad value. It’s quite a good value if you know that the game still has some time before it’s “released.”
It includes $60 worth of currency, five hero master challenges (including a skin, experience boost, taunt, and a Master skin), five additional skins, and five rep boosts that last for three wins. You can read more about Paragon in our previous coverage.
Update: A reader has provided us with the back of the Paragon Essentials Edition box. You can see that "Instant Beta Access" is one of the bullet points.
I don’t mind publishers and developers experimenting with new monetization models, but the language needs to be clear. Customers that read game sites are more informed than the average consumer, which might lead to problems when people bring this home.
Sony, which is publishing this version, can’t control in-store education and communication. Some kind of mandatory sticker or different packaging prior to release should make the game’s unfinished status clear on the front of the package.