The Curious Gamers Articles

Posted on 24th September 2014 by Wiggin

Curious about: Early Access. Wiggin's Thoughts

Early Access is a new way for developers via Steam to receive bug reports and feedback for games from their customers before the games are released. Developers also use Early Access as a way to fund games in development. Steam states they like to “support and encourage developers who want to ship early, involve customers, and build lasting relationships that help everyone make better games.” You can read more on Valves official FAQ here. Steam Store

Early Access titles can either be free or purchased while the game is in its current development state (varies by game). Some people in the gaming industry consider Early Access as a service that grows the gaming community by having gamers involved in the game development process. To others, Early Access seems unfriendly to gamers and allows developers and publishers to acquire money for an unfinished game.

With many Early Access titles, there is no definite release date or guarantee on what content will be included in the final release of the game. There seems to be no accountability from the developers to regularly update game progress or to finish the game. The Steam Early Access page states “You should be aware that some teams will be unable to 'finish' their game.”

Early Access is successful and consumers seem to be paying for an unfinished product regardless of not being guaranteed a finished game. Customers are encouraged to provide feedback and participate in discussions however there is no guarantee that developers will implement any feedback discussed into their game. In my opinion, there is a lot of blind faith and money given to developers with no consequences for an unfinished product or not delivering on promises other than bad press. For the amount of money gamers are paying for some Early Access games, there definitely should be some form of safety net to ensure that consumers actually receive a finished product.

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