I have recently registered to participate in pre-alpha testing of the new Humankind historical strategy game. This is a very interesting experience with many parallels to when we (aka “learning pros”) try and get L&D and other learning products tested in advance.
Humankind makes content available to test via the Steam platform but news, community sharing and more are via https://www.games2gether.com/ – thus there is a split between delivery and communication. In some ways this is similar to L&D’s traditional split from marketing/communications and the LMS split from ESN or other coms tools.
Of course the risk is that, particularly a new franchise like, Humankind risks putting potential users/buyers off from the final product. Personally the game looks good and certainly has some nice ideas, even if the combat systems (which seemed to be the main focus of the test so far) seems slow and difficult (to me at least).
Ultimately treating those invited to the prelaunch access as “special” is a great way that L&D can gain traction with the intended audience and develop champions within the organisation. The advantage is in gaining an audience prelaunch, positive word of mouth and more.