Author Topic: "Early Access" Games  (Read 1338 times)

Wolftrap

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"Early Access" Games
« on: May 07, 10:36 AM »
I was just reading through a story on the creators of "Towns" abandoning their unfinished game that they had already sold to 200k + consumers. Got me thinking a lot about game companies who charge full price for "early access". I've always been on the fence about this, on the one hand you get to play and test a game earlier than usual but on the other hand you could argue that they're charging you to test their game for them.

I paid early access for Starbound and had to deal with them resetting my characters a couple times but overall it wasn't too big of a concern but then again the game was only $15 dollars and I was feeling lucky. I'm not sure I'd ever dish out a full $40-$60 on games like ARMA3.


So What do you guys think?
Is paying for early access a sleezy business practice that we shouldn't be entertaining anymore or is it something that should be moreor less  up to the consumer?

Rybec

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Re: "Early Access" Games
« Reply #1 on: May 11, 10:51 PM »
Really, it's the new trend after things like DLC of something that should've already been included has happened.
A good example of a poor turnout is DayZ.
I played the mod nearly at release and enjoyed playing with many of my friends. A standalone is rumored and everyone's hyped.
It comes out and isn't all that great but there's room for progress. The head of the project (Rocket) then says "Hey mates, I'm going to step down and go climb mountains and enjoy the mountains of money you all gave us for an early release!"

bVork

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Re: "Early Access" Games
« Reply #2 on: May 12, 08:42 PM »
I don't place a lot of stock in "potential." When I purchase something - early access or otherwise - I want to immediately get my money's worth.

Minecraft is the shining example of early access done right thanks to two key things. First, it was priced relative to the amount of work done. I didn't feel bad about spending $10 for the alpha because there was enough there that I would have been satisfied with my purchase had Notch just up and left for Bali or something tomorrow and completely abandoned the game. And that brings me to my second point: even as an alpha, Minecraft felt reasonably complete. The core of the game was present and it was already functional.

But most early access games on Steam are not like that. You're expected to pay full price for something that is nowhere near complete and often barely even functional. There are numerous basic issues with Towns, especially AI pathfinding and tasks, that simply don't work. To extend the Minecraft comparison, that would be like if all the creatures in the game never moved. It's that bad. There's more to Starbound, but they're still not anywhere near the point where I would consider paying for it. (I own it, but it was a birthday present.)

I'd also like to differentiate between Kickstarter and early access. Kickstarter is careful to use the term "donation" to refer to pledges, and I think that is exactly right. When I donate to a Kickstarter, it is because I want to help somebody realize their goal, not purchase a product. The rewards are secondary. So why is that different than early access? I'd say because of the context: Steam is a retail environment. It's the difference between a PBS pledge drive (where the rewards are invariably overpriced) and a $100 CD in a mall. The first is a conscious act of charity. The second is trying to get people to pay a lot for very little in return.

Wolftrap

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Re: "Early Access" Games
« Reply #3 on: May 13, 08:20 AM »
Really great post bVork. I never really though about it but I'm definitely sharing your opinions. Good breakdown of the Donation/Early Access as well.