Beta Testing, Early Adoption, and the Rise of the Power User

Early Adopters Are Our Heroes

Here at Queal, early adopters are one of the most powerful forces behind the success and acceptance of what we offer. Entire communities have been set up to discuss the ins and outs of powdered food meal replacements, and we are proud to be one of the providers in this market.

We’ve noticed too that other industries are taking notice of early adopters, power users, and their importance in the evolution of products and services companies are offering.

Today, we’ll have a look at, you guessed it, beta testing, early adoption, and the rise of the power user!


(Some) Video Game Developers Are Doing It Right

Beta testing has become common practice in the video game industry, and for good reason. Video game developers, especially the AAA studios, are starting to realise the potential for beta testing, in terms of both marketing and development.

Take the recently-released The Division, for example. A few weeks ago, Ubisoft announced an open beta (a stress test, in fact), which doubled as a marketing tactic and a chance to test the servers. Though not too many features were tampered with following the beta, The Division’s development team was able to preempt any reported glitches and server errors on the final version of the game. Also, the increased online dialogue surrounding the beta, and the game in general, certainly did not hurt the game’s sales.


The Division Beta TestersSource:

The Division’s open beta stress test comes on the heels of From Software’s Dark Souls 3 stress test, which, albeit, did not occur as close to the final release date as The Division’s did. That being said, many flocked to their respective gaming consoles (or PCs, yes yes) to join in on the beta stress test.

However, some beta tests are not always open to the public. As with Dark Souls 3’s beta test, Bloodborne’s (alpha) test was invitation-only. Though no one is entirely sure what the prerequisites were for receiving an invite, many speculate that FromSoftware (also the studio behind Bloodborne) found power users via online streaming communities (Twitch, Youtube) and also via Playstation itself (trophies).


Blood Borne Beta TestersSource:

So, what’s the big deal here right? Well, the trend we see is in fact quite striking. Whereas in the past, many video game developers have relied on professional experts to test beta (and alpha) versions of their games, recently these same studios are having power users, which we could actually refer to as non-professional experts, test gameplay and provide feedback. This is a huge step forward from how things used to be. Studios are finally realising that the true experts of their video games are the players themselves, as opposed to hired professionals, and are thus tapping into their respective community’s knowledge and feedback.

Video games, like many other industries, are starting to empower their users and recognise the potential these early adopters and power users have on the evolution of their product.


Brands As Early Adopters Of New Technology

Now, this is an interesting one. Instead of consumers acting as early adopters and power users of a certain product or technology, brands are instead coming to the forefront and joining the fray. So how does a brand qualify as an early adopter? Well, let’s go over a few examples of large companies taking on typically consumer-related roles.

Oreo, aside from being the addictive, guilty pleasure of my late night hours, is in fact quite the social media pioneer. More specifically, a pioneer of Instagram, Twitter, and Vine. Now, I am well aware that social media platforms, including those just mentioned, have been used by brands for a while now to promote their products and services. However, it is the content that is changing.

Take a look at this Vine:


First, let’s think about the appeal of Vines in general. Vines, which are essentially 6-7 second long videos, have recently become extremely popular within the youth and millennial crowds (and I immediately feel old for saying that). They often portray some kind of funny or interesting situation and are as a result very shareable via other social media channels. Oreo, it seems, has caught onto the trend early.

The Vine, though simple as it is, is great because aside from it obviously being an ad for Oreo, it eschews the traditional method of “here is this thing, buy this thing” in favour of “here is this thing, look what you can do with this thing”. This approach is both refreshing and exciting.

Similarly, Acura has tapped into the appeal of Snapchat to attract and relate to a new generation of consumers. Now, for those of you who do not know what Snapchat is, it is a video and photo-sharing app that deletes content after it is sent/viewed and allows users to make “stories” of filmed or photographed experiences that can be viewed by their followers and friends. It is, as of this very moment, one of the most popular and innovative social media platforms in the world.

Acura runs its own Snapchat, and they have come up with a clever way of boosting engagement and interest. Basically, one of the features on their Snapchat is that they will send every user who subscribes to their channel a fleeting (because images and videos are deleted off of Snapchat) video of a supercar prototype.

Millenium Falcon Ealy Adoption

Frankly, I’d be more impressed if this flashed across my screen, but hey.

And guess what, it works. People love Snapchat, Vine, and other social media platforms and big brands are now starting to really tune into this shift of attention from traditional media sources towards more interactive, fast-paced digital platforms. So hate it or love it, but don’t pretend that you watched that Oreo Vine and didn’t imagine yourself eating a frozen Oreo pop.


A More Integrated View of Business-Consumer Relationships

The gap between businesses and consumers is becoming increasingly smaller. Consumers, especially those dubbed early adopters and power users, are becoming more and more involved in the processes that dictate the final state of products and services, while businesses are tapping into the mindset of their consumers and making efforts to relate to them on more social levels.


Floris Wolswijk

MSc in Industrial & Organisational Psychology. Floris has started two companies before. In his student life, he was President of his Study Association and Director of a Student Strategy Consultancy. He participates in obstacle runs and has energy for two. Getting the right things done is what he gets up for in the morning.

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