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I have asked a question about Watch Dogs today, although the official release date is in two days (27.05.2014). There are, at the moment, four closing votes. I already got the game because my pre-order has been sent out early. Given that I frequently got invaded and invaded myself playing online, many others already have the game as well.

To my understanding, the rule to close questions about unreleased games exists to prevent guessing questions like "Will this game have this feature?" that can't actually be answered or that will change in the time until release.

My question is neither a guessing question nor one about a version not available to the public, like a closed beta. I got it through a regular order, same as everyone else who pre-ordered from certain retailers.

Two opinions from the comments under the question, if this is of importance:

Nolonar: As long as the asker is playing the game already and got it by legitimate means, I also don't see a reason to close the question. To me, closing a question about an unreleased game is meant to prevent people from asking questions that don't even need to be asked if one has played the game at all.

BlueRaja - Danny Pflughoeft: The game was "accidentally" made available early by some retailers. However, it is not "generally available to the public," which is our criteria for whether or not a question about beta/unreleased games should be allowed. Thus this question should be closed

Should this question be closed, and if so, why? What would be the difference to me asking this same question two days later? Should questions not be allowed when they are so close to the release date, where the games are already in circulation?

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If the actual game is out there, that's good enough. The problem is not having questions that can't be answered. If the game is out there, the question can be answered.

This "accidental release" does count as "generally available to the public," as that expression should be understood as opposed to press, QA teams, developer teams and the likes. "Lucky people who got their game early" counts as "public."

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    So as long as you claim your retailer shipped the game early, you can ask about it? I get that it doesn't make sense to deny people who actually got the game early from asking questions, but it seems to allow an easy way to ignore the whole rule about unreleased titles. – 3ventic May 25 '14 at 22:31
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    @3ventic Do you think we should ask for "proof of ownership?" Say, would a screenshot suffice? I think this is such an unusual turn of events - first case in 4 years - that this should not be enough of a worry going forward. IMHO, upon skimming the question, it does seem specific enough to gameplay to seem legit. – badp May 25 '14 at 22:32
  • I don't think there's a practical way to verify it and, as you mentioned, it's rare, so I'm willing to go with this for now. – 3ventic May 25 '14 at 22:37
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    @3ventic I think we should just use common sense on a case-by-case basis. Enough people are playing this game that I thought it was officially released already. I don't see a reason to close questions on it at this point. – Invader Skoodge May 25 '14 at 23:46
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    sigh This seems to be like a difference between people trying to run a sane site where the questions that are asked are answerable, and creating a rule to aid with that... and rules-lawyers who are keen to use their close-vote power based on the letter of the rule, without thinking. – Flyto May 27 '14 at 10:47
  • @SimonW It's part of the downside of having a community run site. It has its advantages, one of which it allows crowdsourced activities, and disadvantages. Either way, disparaging the viewpoints of those who don't agree with you isn't really something that comes off as a good thing to do. Yeah, argue all you like, but what you're doing is coming very close to personal attacks. – Frank May 28 '14 at 20:36

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