Steam early access isn't designed to protect the customer. Here's a few suggestions on how Valve could improve the service.
The author provides some pretty awful suggestions. First off, you're paying for unfinished games to a) support the developer and get the game released. You need to be aware of this before dropping $30 on an alpha release of a game. Most of the games that I've backed on Kick Starter or Early Access I treat as a pre-order with an optional demo. "if you put your game on early access you have one year to finish it or show some type of significant progress. The kung fu fighting rabbit game Overgrowth has been in development since 2008 & been on early access since 2011 I believe. How is this acceptable? Once we pay for access these devs should be held to fulfill their project otherwise we get a refund." The whole damn point of these early access type business models is to remove the publisher from the picture and have gamers directly fund the game. When you introduce arbitrary requirements like a one year deadline, suddenly you have an artificial publisher in the picture, which means rushed development and a less polished final game. The biggest resource in game development is time. Games take lots of time to make. The whole reason Overgrowth exists is because people have been pre-ordering it for alpha access for years. The developers are fully funded already, so all they have to do is make the game (and take as long as they feel they need to to do it). If you don't want to buy alpha/beta versions of a game, there's a simple solution: Don't do it. Only do it if you understand and accept the risks involved.
i agree well said
I'm sorry but why do people act like they are forced to buy early access games? I really don't get it. They can charge whatever they like and finish when ever they finish. YOU spent the money and YOU knew the risks and for some reason that ain't fair. Well tough, grow up. If Early Access has done anything its show me just how many morons exist in this world. Its beyond simple: 1. You are NOT forced to purchase these games. 2. These games are NOT complete. 3. These games may never be complete...EVER. 4. Just to be absolutely clear, you are NOT forced to buy them. I have a better suggestion for Valve, get smarter Steam users.
If you don't like it, don't buy it. Problem solved. If people want to pay for early versions and support indie devs, let them. I just think that there should be away to filter out all early access games entirely. Just like it's done with DLCs (there once was a time where I couldn't find anything on Steam's frontpage as the page was cluttered with DLCs; it's the same with early access games now.) But this is a separate problem with the clunky Steam UI rather than the early access program and it deserves its own article.
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