From Sonic Retro

A prototype is a stage of design before the final one. Prototype video games are created during development for playtesting and bug reporting purposes. Usually, a prototype game doesn't leave the developers' offices, but occasionally one finds its way out and onto the internet.

Prototypical stages

  • Pre-Alpha: Only used in certain games for very early development
  • Alpha: All the development up to beta
  • Beta: All major game modes and features are closed; game is now being heavily tested for bugs by SOA's QA
  • Final/Gold: Finished and sold product

Examples of well-known prototypes