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Steam Early Access - Worth The Risk?

Does Early Access work or is it giving developers with alterior motives a platform on which to throw out a dodgy alpha build and leave it there whilst they are busy counting their coins? Who ensures there is some kind of quality control - is it ultimately up to the gamer?

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Jdoki1166d ago

Depends on the developer and the price.

If it's a well respected developer (like Introvision with Prison Architect) then it's worth the risk. Their game is still in Alpha, and yet is better than many final releases I have seen. their previous games have been excellent.

If the developer is unknown, and the price is low then I may take a risk. For example, Darkwood. The KS price was low enough to take a gamble. It has paid off so far.

However, in general I am now extremely wary of KickStarter campaigns and Early Access. I backed one campaign where the dev has gone silent. And another that offered refunds as they realised they had no clue how much to budget and couldn't afford to finish the game made! So neither of these even got to Early Access stage!

But with problems, like Towns - where the dev stopped updating the game, never finished it, and then started talking about releasing a sequel - that experience leaves a sour taste.

There does need to be a better method for people to get involved with Early Access. For example, I think that after paying to play an early access game on Steam, the buyer should be able to get a refund within 7 - 30 days. That would avoid the situation where Steam have to get involved to refund people for broken games. After the 'trial' period expires the funds are released to the dev.

For longer term projects that never deliver, I dunno what the advice is other than 'buyer beware'.

ninjahunter1166d ago

It depends on the person I think. For example I like game development and the process, and watching a game grow and change, so i would enjoy it more than someone who expects a full, bug free game at launch.

WeAreLegion1166d ago

If you do enough research, there's usually not much risk involved.

xX-StolenSoul-Xx1166d ago

I personally won't pick one up and I have not yet to this point. It's like paying for a alpha/beta, unless you truly believe in the product I would not do it.

memots1166d ago

yeah, My backlog is such that i usually steer clear as well. But could not resist picking up Assetto Corsa and Next Car game.

I guess its ok if you already plan on getting the game anyway so that way you get a little taste of it. Right now Assetto Corsa for example almost has all the features of a full fledged game and the mod community in heavily involved so to me this is a win.
Next car game on the other hand is a little slow on the updates and features but gave me a good idea of what is coming and i already own it.

jjb19811166d ago

I bought 7 days to die at 13.49 so I think its worth it once the fully polished game is complete. If they don't finish it I still got my 13.49 worth of gameplay.

Jdoki1166d ago

This is the key to the argument really.

I have paid for a lot of Early Access games, and have already got my money's worth. In fact, in some cases, like Prison architect, I have had to stop playing it as I don't want to be burned out by the time they ever get in to final release (or even Beta!) - but every month more polish is added, and more features.

The problem is, when people don't get value for money and have little option to get refunds... And what constitutes value. I bought Towns, and have tried on a few occasions to play it, so my total hours in the game is quite high - but I never felt the game was complete, and I always walked away with a negative impression. So although I have put some time in to it, I never felt it was value for money at all.

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