Buy­ing soft­ware while it’s in beta – good idea?

Future Music - - ADVICE -

By its very na­ture, beta soft­ware isn’t fin­ished. The beta pe­riod refers to the fi­nal de­vel­op­ment phase be­fore a fi­nalised re­lease, which means that, although it might be pretty much there, it hasn’t been signed off. Typ­i­cally, the beta will be given to a se­lect group of users, who’ll test it and pro­vide the de­vel­oper with feed­back, or opened up to the pub­lic so that a wider group of peo­ple can try it.

In most cases, mu­sic soft­ware doesn’t go on sale un­til the beta test­ing is con­cluded, but there are times when you’re given the op­por­tu­nity to pay for the full ver­sion prior to it be­ing re­leased, usu­ally with the in­cen­tive of a hefty dis­count. This might sound risky, but as long as you’ve been able to down­load and test the beta and are pretty much sat­is­fied with it, it’s not too much of a gam­ble. The soft­ware al­most cer­tainly isn’t go­ing to get worse by the time it’s fin­ished, so you might see it as a no-brainer.

Of course, the op­po­site is also true: if you test some soft­ware and dis­cover show-stop­ping prob­lems, it doesn’t make sense to shell out un­til you’ve had the chance to find out if they’re go­ing to be re­solved. The de­vel­oper might as­sure you that any is­sues will be fixed, but we’d ad­vise wait­ing to try the demo of the fin­ished prod­uct be­fore hand­ing over any cash.

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