There's really no need to keep bickering over the beta label. Here's why.
(There's not really a TL;DR, so read it or don't.)
Early buy-ins and the kickstarter culture have led to this trend. You can expect it to permeate software development (not just games) for years to come, or at least until people get tired of coming along for the bumpy beta ride. That's unlikely, considering there will always be some percentage of software users who want early access, who are excited about participating in the development process, and who are wealthy enough to pay for early access without worrying about (or regretting) the size of the price tags involved. I once donated to the development of a word processor. Yes, that's right. A. Word. Processor. How off-the-wall is that? It was designed especially for fiction writers to help organize their ideas. There were a lot of donations.
Are semantics involved? Maybe. But definitely not to the degree that's being exaggerated on these forums. The technical details themselves never come with a magical finish line. There's no magical progress bar inside computer code that announces when studios ought to peel their beta labels off. And the "well you're now accepting money" qualification is a qualification that was purely dreamed up by members of this forum community. It has no bearing on the reality of contemporary software development and publishing.
Bear in mind, too, that while it's (admittedly) amusing to see massive publishers like PWE jumping on the gravy train...it IS the same gravy train that's allowing an increasing number of small, independent studios to crowd-source their own development funding, and retain absolute control of their (and their fans) vision, rather than turning to big publishers who all too often seek to subjugate and exploit development studios. You want more stuff like Terraria, Minecraft, Shroud of the Avatar or Star Citizen?
I donated to Minecraft when it was in alpha. It was a bug-ridden mess and there was hardly anything to do. But if you think that's all I was paying for, you're missing the point. I was paying toward the game's future. And you know what? People who say "it's not really investing if you're not getting anything back" are REALLY missing the point.
Please use your head and ask yourself how many times you plan on writing these petty, bitter arguments about monetized alphas and betas over the years to come. Maybe consider adapting instead.
And I'm not just trying to one-up your logic here.
I went through a similar period of grumpy dissatisfaction about ten years ago when I first noticed this tiny, growing trend in the western market, micro-transactions, and first realized the genre would probably become subsidized in some form if the economy continued to tank all around us. (How's that for depressing foresight? What do ya think, is it a blessing or a curse?)
I didn't WANT the genre to become a product, I wanted it to remain a service, paid for by its subscribers. But guess what? Outside of this post, I could probably count the times in the past few years that I've griped about it on one hand. It is what it is, kids.
Your scrunchy-faced forum posts on the NW forums won't change a shift that's occurring within an entire industry. Trust me. I tried it. Didn't work.
[SIGPIC]Captain Electric and the Sapien Spider[/SIGPIC]