Although I feel snapshots are a great way to test out new features and to report bugs to Mojang, I feel like they have decreased the hype of new updates significantly. There is little anticipation or speculation as we already know whats gonna be in the update. What are your thoughts on this ?
There tends to be hype around the snapshots themselves, then a second wave of hype (that is usually smaller) when it's "really here" and people start making mods for the new version/ updated already existing mods and server plugins are updated so the server can update to the newest version. This is a big part of it since server regulars tend to like multiplayer more then singleplayer.
Plus what 1337Walrus said; Every update would be super buggy. That, or they would take MUCH longer to release given that WE act as QA for them by playing and reporting bugs and stuff in the snapshots at a much faster rate than actual QA testers could do because of our sheer numbers
The snapshots have become the hype for each new release: a series of prerelease parties that extend the process (and incidently hide each snapshot's problems under the glow of the next release).
The simple fact that they are done (more or less) to schedule (rather than as each substansive change reaches the beta-test stage) should be seen as proof of the degeneration of the concept into a marketing gimmick.
Fewer 'snapshots' released farther apart (with lettered 'sub-snapshots' as the problems with a change are worked through) with each bringing a particular change (closely related group of changes) to a publishable state would do better service.
MC has a dominate position in the voxel block niche, stong name recognition, and legions of devoted players; who needs hype? (Other than the PR flaks whose 'generate a buzz' job descriptions make this a critical survival issue.)
Less (preferably no) hype, and more effective removal of longstanding & serious bugs would be a far superior strategy.
YMMV, but those of us of a certain age understand that: if "You gotta yell it to sell it" is true, the quality of the product touted is called into question.
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WARNING: I have an extemely "grindy" playstyle; YMMV — if this doesn't seem fun to you, mine what you can from it & bin the rest.