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Are Early Access Games Ruining Industry?
Verun  posted on Oct 09, 2014 7:27:14 AM - Report post

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originally posted by HHDropbaud

I've purchased many early access games so far, and I have no regret purchasing them because I was purchasing them on the INFORMED basis all early access = highly Beta and uncompleted.

Plenty of early access games have play ability but not all. People jump in blindly expecting a fully playable game with no bugs. It's early access!

Now if it wasn't for the early access or kick starting of some of these games we wouldn't have a chance of games we do have that are of good quality from these independent developers. It's a good change up from the standard and waiting periods between triple A titles.

I'm the same as you. I inform myself thoroughly before I get an early access game. I bought quite a few until now and did not regret any.

Without early access many indie games would not be possible, especially if the early access comes through gigantic platforms like Steam. This means so much more financial freedom for developers and it can even safe a game that was previously struggling in that department.

Just take fantastic indie games like Project Zomboid. The name sounds like nothing and if it wasn't for Steam Early Access most of the current fanbase would not exist.

Early access (not only the Steam version) also almost always means, that the players can actively help with how the game develops by giving early feedback.

DragonStryder  posted on Oct 10, 2014 4:59:05 PM - Report post

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i purchased quite a lot of Pre-Purchase games,

some i regret and some i totally do not regret,

so it really depends on the game itself. Promising good things and give ****ty things, ye that sucks.

Promising good things and give good things....

AdmiralThrawn  posted on Oct 11, 2014 1:20:19 AM - Report post

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originally posted by Neo7

Another issue I see is related to patching. The game Starport Gemini 2 has left Early Access status into a full game status. I believe they are now at the 2nd version of patch 1.0002 (and giving 0x90 quite a headache). The fact that they needed a do over on a smaller patch is not a good sign.


I'm not quite sure if I understand your point here (I have so much trouble these days extracting meaning from the things I read...) but it reminded me about a complaint, for lack of a better term, that I have about early-access games.

Because early-access games usually come from smaller or less experiences devs (When was the last time Blizzard or Valve or... I can't think of any more AAA developers I adore... released a game before they finished it?) they often lack a sense of their own capabilities as developers. Most AAA devs suffer the 'If we can, we should' condition because they're all insane, but smaller devs suffer the same issue because they don't know any better. And unfortunately for smaller devs, they also lack the skills or resources to get the unnecessary done right and it saps resources from the rest of the project.

Also lack of Q&A. Why anyone would skip this baffles me; it's your best tool for not shoving your foot down your own throat in this industry.

originally posted by strydentlord

This is actually a really interesting discussion in the Australian context. The Australian consumer watchdog, the ACCC, is currently suing Valve down here for a somewhat related reason.

Under Australian consumer law, you are entitled to a full refund if the product:
a) doesn't meet described specifications.
b) is broken.

Valve's response to the lawsuit is that a digital download game product cannot arrive broken, because you can simply verify cache/redownload, and that its specifications are clear and understandable enough that isn't a reason why it should be forced to hire a dedicated Refunds Officer (also required under consumer law).

This is definitely an area Valve needs to improve on. From this end of the spectrum, it almost feels like Valve has zero quality control protocols with regards to what ends up in their store. I’m sure this isn’t actually the case, but since we the consumers cannot see what Valve does to a title before letting it out the gates, they may as well do nothing, from our perspective. And it’s not an isolated concept, either. Air Control, Stomping Land, Infestation: Survivor Stories (formerly The War Z), Castle Story, and others… These are games that should NOT be on the Steam store. Games that deserve grades below ‘inferior quality,’ games abandoned by their developers, developers who outright lie about what they plan to deliver, developers who attempt to censor anyone who gives them less than glowing praise…

I get Valve, and it’s a valid point, when they say that quality control of someone else’s project isn’t their concern. However, quality control of their own damn storefront is. They are the sole gatekeeper for the Steam store and they need to exercise that power. Right now they appear to not care what gets through and that makes them culpable when someone buys crap from them.

originally posted by B4Marc

Absolutely, that's why the price is lower

Only sometimes. Some devs put a massive premium on being able to play with the alpha and beta versions of their stuff. Star Citizen, if I read their website properly, starts beta access at USD$40… and it can go up to several thousand if you want all the ‘early access-exclusive’ ships. Planetary Annihilation was USD$90 for alpha access and approximately USD$65 for beta.

For what it’s worth, I can’t remember any other games or devs that do or did that, but I’m sure they’re out there. Sure some game makers charge less for early access because there’s less there but that isn’t always s true, and even when it is you could still be getting less than your money’s worth.


My take is that early access gaming is just as hit-and-miss as AAA gaming releases. There are gems, there are decent or average bits, and there’s crock. Kerbal Space Program, 7 Days to Die, Mini Metro, Star Citizen, Elite: Dangerous… these all are (so far, at least) success stories in early access. They’re progressing, they’re fairly sophisticated already, they have strong levels of completed features already, and the devs seem to be working within their limits.

Contrast with the games I mentioned above, all of which were insults to customers. The same, of course, is true of AAA games. GTA V was glorious. The Last of Us received nearly universal acclaim. In contrast, Battlefield 4 was so broken that, as strydentlord mentions, people levied a lawsuit against EA for it. Ubisoft’s Silent Hunter 5 would be the crown jewel of their sub sim line… if it wasn’t a total crock. Watch_Dogs was half the game Ubisoft promised it would be.

[Edited by AdmiralThrawn, 10/11/2014 1:23:18 AM]

[Edited by AdmiralThrawn, 10/11/2014 1:24:57 AM]

Chikushodo  posted on Oct 11, 2014 4:39:30 AM - Report post

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I use the following methods before going for a game I want to support on kickstarter.

1. See if I like the genre or style.
2. See lots of videos on it if available.
3. Read many articles or whatever I can find about it.
4. WAIT, WAIT, WAIT. Patience pays off if you wait and see how it goes over time.
5. If all else feel good, spend little money to just get the game, instead of spend more to get those extra pointless features (i.e. you pay 10 more dollars to get say, a t-shirt).

Simple. So far it worked out for me like a charm. It also works out for me when buying games on steam. It also worked out for me when choosing CoD franchise (I wasted practically little to NO money on that junk).

Last but not least: Learn to control your hormone. Yeah hormone! THAT thing that makes you want to have something because you are on the hype train...yeah that one! It will save you frustration AND money. Be calm, observant, and do your research before you buy a game. Problem solved...at least most of the time.

BTGbullseye  posted on Oct 11, 2014 5:17:07 AM - Report post

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I notice quite a few people complaining about games that are "never released"... To you I would ask, did the devs ever give an official release date, and how long do you wait before saying that it "never released"?

I know there are a few games out there that are still in E/A after 3-5 years, but I constantly see progress in the programming... I wouldn't call these games "never released", yet many do.

In short, if you paid money for an E/A game, you got what you paid for, regardless of their release date, or lack thereof. If you didn't get a satisfactory game out of the deal, suck it up and quit whining about it, we've all made bad decisions in our lives, you just ended up making one with a small amount of money.

TL;DR, dislike Early Access from experience: Quit whining about bad decisions you've made with Early Access games, and learn from your mistakes.

TL;DR, dislike Early Access without experience: You don't have to purchase it when it's E/A... Quit trying to remove purchasing OPTIONS that many are NOT upset with.

TL;DR, like Early Access: Keep on being awesome.

(disclaimer: I have purchased over 2 dozen different Early Access games, and have been disappointed by nearly 1/4 of them, but I can find no logical reason to complain about taking a calculated risk and losing)

[Edited by BTGbullseye, 10/11/2014 5:21:30 AM]

kosdemojen  posted on Oct 12, 2014 2:12:46 PM - Report post

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I've purchased a good half dozen to a dozen indie games. Some early access others not. My mindset purchasing these games has always been in the same boat as purchasing any game.

If you can't afford to be disappointed, do the research or don't spend the money.

I regret nothing.

SunDawn  posted on Oct 12, 2014 10:51:11 PM - Report post

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In my opinion, early access is not the really damaging the industry. Broken promise is.

We have seen also some AAA developers have pre-release, which costs a lot, which also fails to delivers. The biggest debacle is EA's newest Sim City. Also Rome Total War II who is very messed up in the beginning, and took a lot of patches to get it work right.

Yes, some early access are do bad, but some don't. That's why I won't be backing any Kickstarter projects, because sometimes the sales page is really different from what we get. Even if I buy early access, I buy those that already have been reviewed by other people. There are still some good Early Access today, like Space Engineers and Prison Architect.

Both are Early Access, both are not finished yet, but the developers keep working on it, there are times that Space Engineers added new features every week.

So, it's not Early Access that is bothering me. It's gaming companies that sometimes renege on their promise.

Marlboro_Reds  posted on Oct 16, 2014 11:47:45 AM - Report post

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Stomping Land was a lot of fun for me at the release day (where I bought it). I was happy about it's current, pretty stable build (from my opinion). The game sure had potential and I hope the developers will make their way back to the game. But of course projects like Stomping Land make me wary of "Early Access Games".
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