Matt Marinett from PC Gaming Enthusiast writes:
"...it has become increasingly hard not to notice that, on PC, it seems like half of all gaming these days takes place using some variety of unfinished software. Whether it’s the aforementioned extended betas, the Early Access offered through Steam, early development alphas offered to crowdfunding backers, or just simple preview and demo copies, much of our discussion of, and interaction with, PC games occurs prior to those games’ actual release. Gamers have, in a real sense, become co-opted into the development process, providing the services that might otherwise be undertaken by a paid quality assurance group. Naturally, gamers are almost never paid for this, and sometimes, such as with much of the content on Steam Early Access, gamers actually pay for the opportunity."