What is ‘going gold’ in video games and is it important?

What-Is-Going-Gold-In-Video-Games-And-Is-It-Important

Going gold in video games is not a common concept known to many players. Even then, more confusion is arising from new games due to different issues.

Cyberpunk 2077 went gold recently, which meant the game is ready for publication. Even then, many are casting doubt that going gold in video games means anything. Sentiments to this are partially correct, but only with some titles.

Going gold can be a good thing

It’s rare for gaming companies to announce if their game went gold or is “going gold.” Even then, many are still confused about what it means for the games they love.

Going gold in video games is industry-speak for a completed game. To be specific, a video game is gold when it’s ready for publication without any unfinished areas. This event means the game is good enough to start printing copies.

During generations where physical versions were prevalent, publishers will create a master copy. The master copy will be the basis for all the subsequent mass production copies. When a game is gold, development is finished and it’s ready to sell.

For games like Cyberpunk 2077, this usually means that the release schedule can’t move anymore. The advent of digital storefronts made distribution easier. Games that offer physical copies are few and far between, which means lower publication time.

Even then, going gold became something problematic in modern gaming. Players can trace this in the advent of digital storefronts like Steam and their mainstream appeal.

Gold does not mean finished

Going gold in video games does not a lot these days. Depending on the level of executive meddling, a game can go gold in an unfinished, buggy state. This happens when the release date is cutting it too close, and the publisher won’t move it.

In some cases, some games go gold if they stayed in the development cycle too long. If the devs expect years to fulfill their vision, they will likely cut a ton of features. Devs will also close off unfinished areas of the game and push them as DLC.

A big victim of this problem was No Man’s Sky in 2016. At the time, founder Sean Murray declared that the game went gold. At launch, Hello Games received severe backlash from a barren video game.

The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt also went gold but went back on many promised features. Players were angry at launch, but it took very little time for CD Projekt Red to remedy it.

In a world where first-day patches are common, going gold in video games don’t mean as much anymore. Even then, CD Projekt Red likely learned from their mistakes, hopefully.

Featured image courtesy of Cyberpunk 2077/Twitter

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