Comments on: Steam Launches Early Access – But is it the Right Move? http://techgage.com/news/steam-launches-early-access-but-is-it-the-right-move/ PC enthusiasts one-stop resource for high-quality reviews, articles and current technology news. Sat, 01 Aug 2015 17:56:00 +0000 hourly 1 By: Stetson http://techgage.com/news/steam-launches-early-access-but-is-it-the-right-move/#comment-1145 Mon, 25 Mar 2013 03:12:00 +0000 http://techgage.com/?post_type=news&p=19090#comment-1145 Cortex Command
http://store.steampowered.com/app/209670/

It was early access from the developer
http://www.datarealms.com/games.htm
(They still have the info about it being a WIP at the bottom)

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By: Rob Williams http://techgage.com/news/steam-launches-early-access-but-is-it-the-right-move/#comment-1140 Sun, 24 Mar 2013 18:42:00 +0000 http://techgage.com/?post_type=news&p=19090#comment-1140 “The strongest selling point for Early Access is the idea of players participating on the game design and development decisions by giving feedback and helping come up with a finished product that more closely matches the players wishes.”

I’m not sure if I’m alone here, but one of the things I like most about gaming is never knowing what to expect. Even with games I get stoked about, I read as little about them ahead-of-time on purpose, because when I do dive in, I want everything to be as much of a surprise as possible. Buying into an Early Access game and then helping direct it totally rids that feeling of wonder (I think, at least). If you actually participate in an Early Access, I wonder how great the game would even feel after it’s finally released as a final product. You might have had your fill by that point.

“Alpha and beta access has historically been a free access area for those companies who wished to implement early access. So where does the idea to pay for it come from?”

Yup – it’s even worse than Kickstarter, because there, alpha stages are not typically offered to the gamer. Betas are, but we’ve come to expect them nowadays.

“But even ignoring that, we have a potentially more damaging problem; only people who pay will have the “privilege” of participating in the development process.”

Good point.

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By: Rob Williams http://techgage.com/news/steam-launches-early-access-but-is-it-the-right-move/#comment-1139 Sun, 24 Mar 2013 18:34:00 +0000 http://techgage.com/?post_type=news&p=19090#comment-1139 What game was this?

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By: Stetson http://techgage.com/news/steam-launches-early-access-but-is-it-the-right-move/#comment-1136 Sun, 24 Mar 2013 12:54:00 +0000 http://techgage.com/?post_type=news&p=19090#comment-1136 There is at least one game that I know of that was an early access game for over a few years and because of the limited narrow scope of feedback they got, the game turned into a nightmare as far as controls were concerened.

Sure, people who had played if for over 6 months had no issues with the controls, but anyone new to the game on launch quit playing it almost immediately after trying it.

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By: Marfig http://techgage.com/news/steam-launches-early-access-but-is-it-the-right-move/#comment-1134 Sat, 23 Mar 2013 02:25:00 +0000 http://techgage.com/?post_type=news&p=19090#comment-1134 I’m completely opposed to it, but likewise I’m not entirely deaf to some of the contrary arguments.

My main beef is the apparent institutionalization of the idea of paying for alpha access — Something that once was a privilege and companies actually payed players to test their games. This in essence is working as a new, more aggressive, pre-purchase model in which the company starts to capitalize in a finished product way earlier in the development process.

The problem I have with that is that it’s very easy to get it wrong. Marketing strategies can, and will eventually, distort players perception of a game and it becomes easy to herd gamers on screenshots, fancy words and lofty ideas, not on an the actual finished product. A distortion of what a supplier/customer relationship should be about.

The strongest selling point for Early Access is the idea of players participating on the game design and development decisions by giving feedback and helping come up with a finished product that more closely matches the players wishes. But quite frankly there’s many ways to achieve this without incurring in a monetary risk to the consumer. One of them is, hold on to your hats, giving free access to alpha and beta versions; a common practice before. so there’s really no justification for Early Access.

A more insidious argument I hear (and coming from players, of all people!) is that if you don’t wish to participate you are not required to. This is the equivalent of saying to a an anti-cancer supporter that if they don’t like cigarettes they aren’t being forced to buy them. It’s simply disingenuous and intellectually dishonest the thought that an industry institutionalized Early Access business model exists in a bubble and can’t spill out toxic waste to the consumer. A business strategy can eventually become a de facto industry standard — as we’ve seen in the past with DRM, DLCs, pre-purchases, etc — and when it does it invariably tends to evolve and shape itself into a business defensive mechanism that protects business interests above those of the consumer. It’s clearly a case of saying the road to hell is paved with good intentions.

This does mean, that like DLC or pre-purchases, not all will be bad about Early Access. But invariably the general use of these strategies will exist in a context outside — and damaging of — the consumer interests. Call me cynical, but there is absolutely no reason whatsoever to trust the gaming industry on this or any other matter. Even forgetting we didn’t have an history of constant abuse, as consumers we should always remain vigilant and skeptical for our own benefit and that of an industry we wish healthy, but also balanced and serving our interests. (A task that should fall primarily on the gaming press, btw. But that we so rarely see amidst the constant glorification of people and companies over and above their products. But that’s another matter for another debate).

Essentially, we must look objectively at what we are being told here. We are being “offered” the “amazing” opportunity to pay for alpha and beta access. And that will allow us to participate in the game development decisions. Alpha and beta access has historically been a free access area for those companies who wished to implement early access. So where does the idea to pay for it come from? Why exactly should we as consumers see in this a benefit to us? Should we accept that it is a benefit to pay for something when before it was free? What’s the dangerous logical conclusion of this train of thought?

But even ignoring that, we have a potentially more damaging problem; only people who pay will have the “privilege” of participating in the development process. The industry is effectively shifting the idea of who is doing whom a favor. It’s machiavellian to say the least. With clever duplicity, the consumer is being robbed of what was before a leverage tool it had against the industry. If anyone thinks — again, assuming this eventually becomes an ubiquitous practice — we won’t be paying dearly for this loss, they are sadly wrong. When before a company was privileged to have a consumer base willing to participate in development decisions, now players who pay for early access are the privileged ones.

It’s a complete distortion of reality. A joke. The industry is trying to sell us a service that is actually provided by us. And they may get away with it, judging from many of the comments I’ve seen elsewhere. Simply because the vast majority keeps insisting in looking at games as entertainment and constantly refuse or forget to weight this with the fact we are also consumers of a product.

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