We're aware of many different ways that developers and Internet
communities capitalize on the high demand for MMOG beta keys. Many
sites require subscriptions or memberships for early access to beta
and many developers have made guaranteed beta keys a part of their
pre-order packages. But recent allegations against FFXIVCore, a large
Final Fantasy XIV fansite under the imperium of Curse network, suggest
that things may have gone a step (or two, or more) too far.
On February 13 a thread emerged on the FFXIVCore forums entitled "Donations for beta keys," urging community members to "discuss." Members seemed to be confused until a post by a regular named Apricoth offered the following:
"Several people were approached to donate with an offer to have access to beta keys when they are made available. Some other folks were not offered this. There are 24 folks that have kindly parted with their funds to fuel Core."
The next day, a post appeared on FFXIV Vault urging members to beware of anyone offering to "sell" FFXIV beta keys. The post quoted a private message from a member named Dex stating, " I am contacting as many site admins as I can to let them know about a proposition made to me by Zyuu to buy a beta key for $100.00." Dex attached what seems to be a screen capture of a private message conversation in which Dex inquired about the possibility of securing a beta key and Zyuu, an admin at FFXIVCore, allegedly replied:
"It's possible that I can add one or two more to my list of people that will get a key earlier. Since I don't know you 100 USD is the least I want. Just remember, there's no ETA when I'll get the keys and I don't want anyone to ask me 'when do you get keys' :) So it's up to you."
There are many legitimate ways to offer beta keys, but Zyuu appears to have been asking for "donations" under the table. Keep an eye on our news for future developments.