What Does a Game Going Gold Mean? Explained

Going gold!

Image by Bethesda

Image via Bethesda

With new releases happening all the time, you may have come across the phrase before from developers: a game “gone gold.” Gamers and game developers share a bit of jargon, most of which found its roots in the early days of gaming, back when everything was on a disk, and the cloud was just something in the sky. Over the years, gamers have gotten closer to game devs, learning the processes and jargon that come with a game’s release. By passion, we’ve come across “going gold” as a phrase commonly used in game development. What is it? And what does it mean for a brand new game soon to release?

What does a game “going gold” mean?

Image by Bethesda

Going gold, or going gold master, is game development slang for being ready to ship. When a game gets to the final bits of development, it’s typically copied to a master disk that is ground zero for all copying and pasting and boxing, and shipping from then onwards. Going gold means the game is done, ready to go out to the world. So if a game you’re anticipating, perhapsĀ one by Bethesda, goes gold, then that means it’s dropping soon. This isn’t too big of a reveal for games with a set release date, but for games with none, this is the canary in the coal mine.

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Another reason going gold is vital in the video game development industry is that for a game to go gold, it has to pass a specific set of specifications. In other words, it’s a quality check. Not just any game, unprepared or unready, can have a going gold status. It needs to be polished work, free of detrimental bugs that would make the entire thing unplayable. It doesn’t necessarily have to be perfect, but it does need to be clean. Good enough for a gold status seal of approval.

Games typically don’t go gold if they aren’t ready. So you’ll likely be pleased to know that since Starfield went gold, it’s without any game-breaking bugs. To give you some perspective on the standard for going gold, Cyberpunk 2077 went gold initially before being stripped of that status and delayed due to the game-breaking issues in the game. With that in mind, you can at least rest easy that Starfield won’t have any bugs on the same level as Cyberpunk 2077 when it first released.