Would you care if they decided to shut down the Steam Early Access idea?

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Posted by BisonHero (6054 posts) 9 months, 22 hours ago

Poll: Would you care if they decided to shut down the Steam Early Access idea? (247 votes)

Yes 33%
No 61%
Results only 6%

I'm realizing I don't, because I sort of don't see why I should go along with it? I'm fine when it's something like Skulls of the Shogun's early access, which was a more or less finished multiplayer beta (sort of like Starcraft II has done in the past), but all of the games that just have parts that say "yo dawg, this part ain't done so nothing happens when you click on it" just seem...shoddy? And like the game is probably hurting itself by giving first impressions that are so rough around the edges?

Unless your game idea is so captivating (like Minecraft or Day Z or something) that even though it's unfinished it is still amazing for players to engage in, I feel like it's kinda just a desperate bid by the devs to get more money to fund development while ultimately hurting public perception of the game in most cases, and hurting word of mouth in the long run.

Would you care if they shut it down? What are your experiences with early access games?

#1 Posted by davidwitten22 (1708 posts) -

yes I would care, in the sense that I think it would be a great idea. Too many people on Steam aren't smart enough to read that the game is an alpha and are paying money for a poor, unfinished game that they didn't expect.

#2 Posted by bushpusherr (760 posts) -

As long as devs are transparent about what state the game is when they are asking money for it, I don't see anything wrong with it. If it's not your cup of tea, then just wait until the game is further along or released. I would be interested to hear some more developer stories about how going "early access" changed their process, whether that be in terms of actually getting the funds to continue development, or if it negatively effected buzz, etc.

I do think they could probably be a bit better about alerting you when a big change has gone through or something. I don't mean from the dev standpoint, from what I can tell a lot of their updates are usually available if you are ready to look for them. But I might appreciate something like how they let you know when new DLC is available for a game you have, maybe have something pop up that's like "hey new updates have come to an early access game you've purchased." That would help remind me to go back and take another look at those games.

#3 Edited by RonGalaxy (2846 posts) -

I havent used it, so Im not totally sure. I guess it depends. I like the idea of riding along for the development process, but doing so increases my chances of getting burned by a bad purchase, as I'd be jumping in completely blind of what the game could end up being.

In the end I probably would miss it. It gives devs, who have an interesting idea that couldnt be funded any other way, a method for bringing their idea to fruition.

#4 Edited by mlarrabee (2875 posts) -

I'd like it if they did.

I understand that having a few thousand paying testers and design consultants is very helpful to developers (I've made a few games myself), but I don't think art of any kind should be picked at like so many peas on a child's plate.

"I painted a forest in the background. Do you like the forest? Are the trees too dark, maybe I should add a bit more green? And does that woman's dress look right? That crease in her sleeve looks correct? OK, I'll be back in a week to fill in the sky."

I don't like unfinished movie screenings either.

EDIT: I'm completely fine with 'never finished' games like Minecraft being sold while in beta.

#5 Edited by CornBREDX (4757 posts) -

I haven't bought early access games and while I see why developers do it, I am not a fan. Not against it either just don't care for it.

#6 Edited by ArbitraryWater (11423 posts) -

Eh. I'm fine with unfinished stuff as long as what is available resembles a game. That alpha build of Might and Magic X, for example, is entirely playable once you get past the part where it's clearly unfinsihed. But hyper-early pre-alpha stuff? Maybe not.

#7 Edited by Barrabas (325 posts) -

I'm fine with early access, but I just wish the early access games didn't intermingle with actual releases on the store front. I'd like to keep them completely separate from one and other. Maybe something like the greenlight section, but just a little less buried and forgotten than greenlight.

#8 Edited by BisonHero (6054 posts) -

@barrabas said:

I'm find with early access, but I just wish the early access games didn't intermingle with actual releases on the store front. I'd like to keep them completely separate from one and other. Maybe something like the greenlight section, but just a little less buried and forgotten than greenlight.

I'm sure basic consumer psychology says if you don't put them on the Steam home page with all the other games, users would just NEVER buy them because it would be several more clicks away to even find them.

#9 Posted by Barrabas (325 posts) -

@barrabas said:

I'm find with early access, but I just wish the early access games didn't intermingle with actual releases on the store front. I'd like to keep them completely separate from one and other. Maybe something like the greenlight section, but just a little less buried and forgotten than greenlight.

I'm sure basic consumer psychology says if you don't put them on the Steam home page with all the other games, users would just NEVER buy them because it would be several more clicks away to even find them.

They're only several more clicks away (instead of 1 easy obvious click) if your store page is terrible. But if your argument is based on the steam store page being kind of terrible I might not disagree.

#10 Posted by CaptainCody (1505 posts) -

A part of me likes the idea that a developers' vision is maintained when not interfered with a consumers opinion on it, whether or not it's beneficial. As well as the fact that I don't their being incentives for developers to be lazy and slowly push a game because they already have early access sales, finish your game.

#11 Posted by RoarImaDinosaur (191 posts) -

Early Access is a great way to bridge communication between the consumer and the developer in an effort to help better a game and even better help understand game development cycles. I think early access should be free for everyone or at most a premium service that allows you to try all the games out. Charging for unfinished games on a few promises can potentially hurt the consumer and to me they are the backbone of the industry. If it weren't for us they would not be in a job developing games most likely.

Sorry for sounding so entitled but you know in your heart it's true.

#12 Posted by BisonHero (6054 posts) -

@roarimadinosaur said:

Early Access is a great way to bridge communication between the consumer and the developer in an effort to help better a game and even better help understand game development cycles. I think early access should be free for everyone or at most a premium service that allows you to try all the games out. Charging for unfinished games on a few promises can potentially hurt the consumer and to me they are the backbone of the industry. If it weren't for us they would not be in a job developing games most likely.

Sorry for sounding so entitled but you know in your heart it's true.

Yeah, you make a lot of points I can agree with.

#13 Posted by Butler (384 posts) -

As someone who misses the concept of demos I for one hate the idea of paying for early access. Demos that were on disks back in the days of magazines and demos that were freely able to be downloaded on more current systems highly influenced my purchasing of a game. Any game that puts out a free demo gets few points in my book.

Paying for an unfinished product doesn't jive with me.

Don't they know how to sell drugs, the first taste is always free.

#14 Edited by Pie (7035 posts) -

I feel like this is the way a lot of games are going and that rejecting it would be a bad move by steam. It's just early at the moment and both consumers and devs are still figuring stuff out

#15 Posted by kablui (45 posts) -

I like the early access thing, to me it's more or less like kickstarter, and the pro/con discussion feels very similar between the two.

People not being able to read the huge "this is alpha/beta == unfinished" message box do not impact the validity of this for me at all - if you buy shit with so little time investment beforehand that you don't realize what it is you are buying.. not really a thing to complain about to other people, its not that they maliciously hide the status of those games.

I'd rather get rid of the grave that is greenlight - or rather replace it with something working better for the devs, its a shame how may good games seem to starve during the greenlight process..

#16 Posted by Cameron (595 posts) -

I've purchased several early access games and I think it's a good idea as long as the developers are up front about the current state of the game. I bought Prison Architect because it's in a state that's perfectly playable now and continues to get better with every patch. It's also really nice to have Steam automatically grab all of the updates, it's fun to have a new build of a game to fool around with every month or so.

That said, I'm sure there plenty of shady projects on early access that will turn out to be terrible games or just never get finished. I wouldn't mind if Steam added another purchase confirmation page that alerted users that they are buying an unfinished game and accepting the risks that come along with that. I can't imagine how someone could miss the big blue box on the store page, but people seem to.

#17 Posted by Scampbell (486 posts) -

@kablui said:

I like the early access thing, to me it's more or less like kickstarter, and the pro/con discussion feels very similar between the two.

People not being able to read the huge "this is alpha/beta == unfinished" message box do not impact the validity of this for me at all - if you buy shit with so little time investment beforehand that you don't realize what it is you are buying.. not really a thing to complain about to other people, its not that they maliciously hide the status of those games.

I'd rather get rid of the grave that is greenlight - or rather replace it with something working better for the devs, its a shame how may good games seem to starve during the greenlight process..

Totally agree, the Kickstarter comparison is very fitting. Plus, you wont have to deal with PayPal. Though to me it seems best suited for sandbox games or other games with a high level of replayability.

#18 Edited by ajamafalous (11821 posts) -

I've bought a couple early access games. I think any complaints that players have can be aimed directly at the players themselves, considering they're playing a fucking early access game.

It's there for people that want to use it and can be ignored until the game releases for those that don't.

#19 Posted by Darji (5294 posts) -

If by early access you can actually share opinions which also will be considered for the final game than it can be something really cool. Right now I am heavily debating if I should go Early Access for the Might and Magic X Legacy game or not. I really want to support this game and maybe even help make it better through feedback. And of course I will get the full game later on as well.

#20 Posted by alanm26v5 (435 posts) -

My main issue is the space it takes up on the front page and new release list. So many times, I've gone "oh hey this sounds neat...oh it's not done yet." The only game I've bought from early access was Mercenary Kings, and that's only after a quick look and the fact that it was $5 cheaper than it will be on release. That being said, I messed around with it for a day or 2 and haven't touched it since, waiting for it to be released proper.

#21 Posted by ttocs (761 posts) -

I think the Steam early access stuff isn't being handled correctly. They need to break it out from the other main releases and treat it like they would demos. I also don't think they should charge full price for the early access. Maybe charge 75% since you are buying into an unfinished game (which may never finish) and since you are taking on part of the risk, you get it cheaper.

#22 Posted by The_Ruiner (986 posts) -

Nope...I don't buy unfinished games. Especially when they usually give no official release date.

#23 Edited by Darji (5294 posts) -

@ttocs said:

I think the Steam early access stuff isn't being handled correctly. They need to break it out from the other main releases and treat it like they would demos. I also don't think they should charge full price for the early access. Maybe charge 75% since you are buying into an unfinished game (which may never finish) and since you are taking on part of the risk, you get it cheaper.

They do not charge 100% because of that reason. You get a cut because you spoort the idea and their product. You don't pay the same amount people have to pay at release.

#24 Posted by spraynardtatum (2529 posts) -

I think it's a smart idea but Early Access games should never be displayed with completed games. They should be in completely different places.

#25 Posted by Chaser324 (6264 posts) -

I like the Early Access program in concept, but I do feel like Steam and some developers might need to adjust the way they're handling things.

On the Steam side, I'm not sure if dropping those new Early Access games right into the New Releases list alongside full complete games is a good idea. I think these games are better left in a separate section. People that are interested in playing unfinished alpha/beta releases will find that stuff and developers/publishers will point interested people in the right direction. When those games are completed, then they can go into the New Release pipeline.

Moderator
#26 Posted by c_rakestraw (818 posts) -

I like the idea and see the value in it, but I have no interest in buying unfinished games. Would much rather wait for it to be in a more complete, stable state than hassle with whatever little oddities occur during development.

#27 Posted by Morningstar (2128 posts) -

Not a big fan. It makes sense in some cases, but it's spreading like the bloody plague.

#28 Edited by GERALTITUDE (2862 posts) -

I find the very concept revolting. You pay alpha and beta testers, they don't pay you.

#29 Edited by UncleBenny (421 posts) -

I kind of wish they would just put all the early access stuff to a separate section sort of like Green Light. I have zero interest in any games that are part of early access and I don't see why those should be in the same section as games that have gone "gold"... or whatever that term is called.

#30 Posted by ttocs (761 posts) -

@darji said:

@ttocs said:

I think the Steam early access stuff isn't being handled correctly. They need to break it out from the other main releases and treat it like they would demos. I also don't think they should charge full price for the early access. Maybe charge 75% since you are buying into an unfinished game (which may never finish) and since you are taking on part of the risk, you get it cheaper.

They do not charge 100% because of that reason. You get a cut because you spoort the idea and their product. You don't pay the same amount people have to pay at release.

Is it that way for all games?

#31 Posted by GrantHeaslip (1504 posts) -

I can't figure out the appeal of Steam Early Access. If it's a game you really want to play, why not wait until it's actually done rather than spoiling your first experience with an unfinished build? And for that matter, there's so many games out there to play -- why spend your time and money on betas? I understand the program if people are being given Kickstarter codes or something, though I don't really get why people gamble on Kickstarters either.

At a higher level, I don't agree with the way consumers are being encouraged to get involved (financially and otherwise) in game development. I feel like a lot of money is being wrung out of platitudes and undeserved good will, while the reality is that stuff like Kickstarter gives consumers practically zero rights or recourse. We all agree that money-down pre-orders are lame, so why are donations for game prototypes and paid beta access okay?

Yes, people (should) know what they're buying, so in that sense it's nobody's fault but theirs if they don't get what they expected, but that's not how most of the rest of our consumer economy works. We take it for granted, but in first-world countries, there are fairly strict, legally actionable regulations about stuff like false advertising and not delivering a promised product or service. If a Steam early access or Kickstarter is sold based on the implication that the game will continue on a certain path and it doesn't, as far as I can tell, people are SOL.

#32 Posted by NoelVeiga (1063 posts) -

I find the concept conflicting. Yes, it's shifty to charge for an unfinished game. Yes, it's annoying to not know what you're getting when you buy into it. Yes, I have found myself with some duds. At the same time, it's good to let people in on what an unfinished game looks like...

I really don't think Early Access as it is now is the best idea, but I think there's room for something like it. I guess I don't have an answer for the poll...

#33 Posted by RobotSquad (213 posts) -

It has tainted the store a bit in my mind. I much prefer the idea of it being a marketplace for actual, finished products. Now it's just a stew of games in various stages of development.

#34 Edited by GeekDown (1170 posts) -

I would never buy an Early Access game since I really don't like the concept of it. Games should only be released when they're finished and if they are they should be a free beta or demo. So no, I wouldn't care if they shut it down and I wish that they do.

#35 Posted by TheRealMoot (335 posts) -

I have bought into a few early access games that are "Nearly finished" or "90% complete" and have not seen updates in months and it feels like I've been suckered out of my money. Can't play some of them, my save gets erased periodically and I have no idea when they are going to fix the problems. If they shut down the Early access program I'd feel a little better about some of my dumb purchases. It's my fault for buying them in the first place, not steams or anyone else's.

Forgive me if buying into Minecraft early on tempered my expectations.

#36 Edited by Lego_My_Eggo (969 posts) -

Dev can get money early in the development of a game to keep funding the game, and i get a game that gets better and more features keeping me playing for longer then i would have. So long as they are honest about the state of the game being sold, and where they plan to go with the game its ok.

#37 Posted by ZeForgotten (10397 posts) -

I would, I've had great time helping people out, knowing that's why I bought into early access in the first place.
But I could see people wanting it gone when it's based on the majority of steam users who visit the steam community as well

"OMG! WHAT IS THIS! I PAID FOR A GAME NOT A BROKEN BETA!" .. Well no, it's probably pre-alpha or early alpha, not broken beta or even a full game, you absolute mong. Go play in traffic or something, at night. wearing black clothes only.

Personally, I enjoy it though.
If people buy into it expecting early access to the full game, then, well they deserve to have that money taken from them.
Sucks to be them, hope they don't reproduce, kill the genepool.

#38 Posted by crusader8463 (14412 posts) -

I don't play early access games so no. I play games in several sittings and very rarely do I feel the desire to come back to it. I don't want to play a half broken unfinished game because by the time the full product comes out I won't have any desire to play it. I honestly wish Steam had a way to hide early access like they do DLC. If they do I never noticed.

#39 Posted by ZeForgotten (10397 posts) -

I don't play early access games so no. I play games in several sittings and very rarely do I feel the desire to come back to it. I don't want to play a half broken unfinished game because by the time the full product comes out I won't have any desire to play it. I honestly wish Steam had a way to hide early access like they do DLC. If they do I never noticed.

Scroll past them, problem solved.
Or use them as a reminder as to what game is coming out later on.

Though the "half broken unfinished game" part made me chuckle a little.
I bought Shadow Warrior and Saints Row IV just to name a few recent games. I wouldn't exactly call those games "perfect" or "not broken" in some areas, and I paid a hell of a lot more for them than all the Early Access ones combined, so I dunno.

#40 Posted by mikey87144 (1649 posts) -

Early Access is a pretty good idea so yea I would care. You don't have to buy them and when you click on them it spells out to you that the game isn't finished. Bethesda should do this with their next RPG. Put it on the store as early access and iron out more of the bugs before launch.

#41 Posted by BisonHero (6054 posts) -

@ttocs said:

@darji said:

@ttocs said:

I think the Steam early access stuff isn't being handled correctly. They need to break it out from the other main releases and treat it like they would demos. I also don't think they should charge full price for the early access. Maybe charge 75% since you are buying into an unfinished game (which may never finish) and since you are taking on part of the risk, you get it cheaper.

They do not charge 100% because of that reason. You get a cut because you spoort the idea and their product. You don't pay the same amount people have to pay at release.

Is it that way for all games?

It definitely isn't that way for all games. For example, Nuclear Throne, which seems rad, is actually charging more for Early Access than they intend to for the final version, sort of like Kickstarters where "beta access" is a reward tier higher than the price of the game.

“By buying Nuclear Throne you can support Vlambeer and the rest of the team while they're working and livestreaming the development of the game. You'll receive a new build of Nuclear Throne pretty much every week. After launch, when all the live development is over, the game will be available for slightly less than the Early Access price.”

The game is $13 to get into the Early Access version, but I'm guessing it'll be $10 when the final version is released. Nuclear Throne is a weird case, but I think it is fairly standard to also just charge 100% of the final price of the game. Some games do charge less than the final price of the game.

#42 Edited by Dagbiker (6939 posts) -

Yes. The problem is that there is a very clear lack of quality control. But even for finished games they have lost quality control.

For instance, Gnomoria, is great, I bought it months ago, and I loved it, version 0.9 just came out. I bought in at v 0.6

But so far I have invested in Gnomoria, Intersteller Merines, and Planetary Annihilation. So far I feel only 1 out of those 3 investments have provided a return. And im going to wait until I get a full return on investments until I invest more, at least in long term with Valve.

#43 Posted by RazielCuts (2911 posts) -

Nope, because I feel if you're the type of person who wants beta access and 0.X builds of games you can usually find that on a developers site.

Now on the other hand for developers, yes, as it gives them awareness for their product on a platform like Steam so people can see it where they might not of otherwise. Before Early Access you'd only be aware of a game until it was fully released on Steam and even then it may fall under your radar. Now it has time to build buzz and developers can take in essential funds aiding development and to a lesser extent gain feedback until its release.

#44 Posted by chiablo (893 posts) -

The only game I feel has benefitted from Early Access is Don't Starve. The developers.created new content every week and even released really cool trailers showing off upcoming content. I would play it for a few hours and quit in frustration, but every time I saw a new content trailer, I'd dive right back in.

Now we've got games in early access that barely feel like games. They're in the most early stage of alpha and buggy as hell.

I would at least like to see games that are functionally playable, but adding content that is significant enough to make me want to continue playing. I'm not paying you money to be a beta tester for your buggy game.

#45 Edited by BisonHero (6054 posts) -

@chiablo: Yeah, that's kinda what I was thinking when I made this poll. If your game isn't some kind of weird, sandboxy thing (Minecraft, Don't Starve, Space Base DF-9, Kerbal Space Program, etc.) where user feedback/requests can significantly influence development, then it just seems like users paying to be QA testers, except instead of being professional about it they're going to yell a bunch in the forums and tell everyone the game is broken. Yes, yes, everyone should be mature and realize the game isn't done, but there are a bunch of children and teenagers on Steam who act very impulsively, so plenty of people clearly are not going to give a game a break because it isn't done yet.

So for example, State of Decay being in Early Access is fucking weird. Like, guys, your game is out on XBLA, so is the PC version done or what? Is it that hard to add mouse and keyboard controls? I can't imagine user feedback is going to be particularly relevant to that game, other than "it crashes, dawg, fix it fix it fix it fix it". Or like, Prison Architect, you've been in Early Access for like a zillion months, but c'mon, you're a prison management sim. Those have been made before. You can look at how real prisons work. I don't think you desperately need to expose it to players to get their feedback. And then there are about forty $10-$20 games in Early Access from developers I've never heard of that are maybe OK, but are maybe just running low on capital and so desperate for more money that they're semi-shipping an unfinished game.

#46 Posted by Tordah (2469 posts) -

Personally, I have little to no interest of ever purchasing an Early Access game. My backlog is huge enough as it is, no need to waste time playing unfinished games.

#47 Posted by Dezztroy (771 posts) -
Or like, Prison Architect, you've been in Early Access for like a zillion months, but c'mon, you're a prison management sim. Those have been made before. You can look at how real prisons work. I don't think you desperately need to expose it to players to get their feedback. And then there are about forty $10-$20 games in Early Access from developers I've never heard of that are maybe OK, but are maybe just running low on capital and so desperate for more money that they're semi-shipping an unfinished game.

Except that you know, Prison Architect wouldn't be in development and the developer would no longer exist were it not for them doing early access (both on Steam and off).

Also, Prison Architect is basically a one-man project.

Have prison sims been made before?

#48 Posted by Mcfart (1538 posts) -

Being a beta tester's apparently a pretty shitty job.

Why would I want to pay out-of-pocket to be one, without getting paid in return?

The idea's stupid.

#49 Posted by J12088 (434 posts) -

The Devs should be made to set deadlines and be transparent about it all. Some early access games have been left like that for what seems like forever. I'd love to buy kerbal space program but it's been early access for forever are they ever going to actually finish it? If they go bankrupt do i get a refund?

The whole thing seems shady and if devs are counting on it to fund there game it could get nasty.

#50 Edited by JoeyRavn (4946 posts) -

There is obviously a market for it, as people actually buy games that are on Early Access and, for the most part, developers do support their products. Even if it didn't appeal to me specifically, why should I be so self-centered as to want the service closed? Give people more options and allow them to choose how they want to buy and play their games.

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