They were pressed to release the beta "early" because they promised on multiple occasions that a beta would be released before the end of 2013. Really, they'd said 2012 but were unable to put it out. The issue of the pressure is really Chucklefish's own making, as they decided on their own that opening up pre-orders with a promised beta release date was a good idea.
It's not really fair to blame the "first world spoiled bratz" for demanding a contract be properly executed.
I disagree with this sentiment, as Pre-Order is just clever name for investment. In the real world, products are often invested in before they're even created. This is exactly what's happening here, and reviewing it before the finished product has a chance to be shown isn't in good practice.
However, that only applies a little more loosely in the digital world. One thing people need to take in here though is that this pre-order can be canceled at any time, and the money you spent buying the game has gone to funding its development (as the team is rather small) and works just like an investment.
Keep in mind, if you don't like the game, Steam's terms of service requires that they refund you upon request since it's still technically not released and early access.
So the review was indeed premature.
So are we not supposed to formulate an opinion based upon the released content? I would think that a review before a finished release would be preferable. It's like feedback...the game devs can take into consideration what the review says if they want and address any issues before releasing their finished product. Then, when the product is finished, there can be a second or finalized review.
TBH, the whole issue of whether or not you are supposed to review the game before its finished or not is stupid. If a game dev releases any content, they should expect people to form opinions based upon the released content. It has absolutely NOTHING to do with any sort of "investment" on the part of a consumer...a review is simply someone's opinion of a product based upon the information available to them. Period.
They have no business buckling to their demands. The impatient are mostly likely not going to be shareholders, brass, or someone with a gun to their head. Look at Apple and how secretive their operations are with products and yet they have legions of fans demanding constantly (part of their success is that they build something that has a very good chance of living up to the hype they put out before letting the public in on it).
The instant the product is in distribution, unfinished or not, it will be criticized from all directions whether the developer likes it or not and it's ammo for reviewing later states (Look at the development history for Windows Vista and Windows 8 and the criticism they received the moment both went into public beta for the mother of all examples of this).
[Edited by moderator Neo7, 1/26/2014 6:40:43 PM]