I like "Red vs. Blue." It proves that the adages from "Office Space" apply just about anywhere.
One of those adages that continually crops up with regards to stupid acts that you opt into is that you shouldn't opt into them because "you are a God-damned idiot."
Dave Perry, you are a God-damned idiot of the highest power.
In an interview with Next Generation, Dave Perry feels that it's time for customers to take the role that testers have traditionally had. He thinks that with 3,000 customers testing the game, he can get the same coverage that he'd get with 30 testers.
Let's start with how he's right. Based on my experience with external betas, 3,000 testers are pretty much the equivalent of 30 contingent testers...because only 1% of participants in external betas ever actually file any bugs. Most of the people on external betas just play the game and keep their feedback to themselves, or don't even bother installing the game.
Now for where he's fatally wrong: coverage, accountability and finances.
First off, it will be difficult to impossible to get any sort of coverage for the majority of your code. Your customers want to play the game, they don't want to go through and remap every single control or try to beat the entire game without fighting anyone or alt-Tab for an hour straight or let their machine sit in a soak test for seventy-two hours. Lord knows developers don't want to test their own code, and even if they do test their own code, they won't do an effective job. Besides, having your developers stop and test goes against your cost-saving credo, as most developers cost two to three times what your testers do.
Second, accountability. I really hate to put it this way, but with a QA department, you have a decent set of scapegoats you can use if you ignore enough bugs during your endgame. What are you going to do, point at your customers who paid $60 for your game and say, "It's your fault the game is broken, you didn't test it when you had the chance!" Your customers would burn you in effigy, as they should based off of this proposal alone. That said, if the only reason you have a QA department is so you can blame your failure on them, you're going to fail regardless.
Finally, finances. You think it's cheaper, but you still have to pay people to go through all of their feedback, verify their bugs, interact with the community, etc. Not to mention the whole Fair Labor Standards Act thing, which was used quite effectively against AOL when they tried to use volunteers to do their work for them.
So, to sum up. Customers can't test effectively, won't test effectively, and will eventually ask for payment for working for you. Meanwhile, you'll release a glitchy product that will have bad enough word of mouth that it won't sell enough to cover the expenses you incurred in creating it. In other words, you're behaving like a God-damned idiot.
Stop it, or we'll tattoo it on your forehead to remind you.