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Steam Early Access FAQ warns games might not finish

Steam Early Access FAQ warns games might not finish

Steam recently pulled Earth: Year 2066 from its Early Access program partly because it was not looking like a professionally conducted product.

The FAQ section for Steam Early Access has been updated to warn customers that some games may never see a full release.

This further clarification comes in the wake of several instances of development on early access games stopping before they have been completely finished.

’ You should be aware that some teams will be unable to 'finish' their game. So you should only buy an Early Access game if you are excited about playing it in its current state,’’ reads the FAQ. ’It’s up to the developer to determine when they are ready to 'release'. Some developers have a concrete deadline in mind, while others will get a better sense as the development of the game progresses.’

The FAQ also points out that Early Access is not the same as pre-purchasing a game and whilst it does give access to the full game, it can only guarantee the game in its current state of development.

The most recent example of Steam Early Access disappointment was shown by Earth: Year 2066 which was removed from Steam in May. The game was flagged up by users as being derivative and amateurish with art assets being taken from other games and developer Killing Day Studios removing negative feedback from its Steam page.

Development on building strategy title Towns which was released on Steam before Early Access launched but under similar circumstances also stopped last months, leaving the game in a perpetual unfinished state.

The early access model whereby players get access to an in development title and then receive constant updates as work continues was most effectively pioneered by Minecraft which had a famously long alpha test and saw regular content and bug updates. Some notable titles currently going through the Early Access program on Steam include Wasteland 2, The Forest, Prison Architect, Sir You are Being Hunted and Hack ‘n Slash.

14 Comments

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Corky42 5th June 2014, 13:06 Quote
This feels like buying a pack of peanuts, only to find out it has a warning saying it may contain nuts.
I guess some people need protecting from them selves :D
dstarr3 5th June 2014, 15:02 Quote
There should be an internet campaign to remind people not to feel too entitled when spending money on Kickstarter, too.
Noxvayl 5th June 2014, 15:13 Quote
I don't know why people seem to think so little these days. Perhaps they always thought this little, it just wasn't as noticeable. Anyway it is a problem that needs addressing, if people took a little time to think we could save ourselves a lot of trouble. For the sake of our culture we need to amend public warning signs to include the word "Think!"
theshadow2001 5th June 2014, 18:07 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Corky42
This feels like buying a pack of peanuts, only to find out it has a warning saying it may contain nuts.
I guess some people need protecting from them selves :D

Surely the analogy is to buy a packet of peanuts only to find out It has a warning saying it may not contain nuts
Corky42 5th June 2014, 19:39 Quote
Maybe. I was thinking more along the lines that it should be obvious that early access games could be a work in progress or may never get finished.
mi1ez 5th June 2014, 22:18 Quote
I'm surprised this wasn't already stated somewhere to be honest.
CrapBag 5th June 2014, 22:21 Quote
I've never quite got the idea of paying someone to make and finish a game with no guarantees or any come back.

There's no way in hell I'd do it.

If someone needs funding for a game get an investor or two or maybe go on dragons den.
somidiot 5th June 2014, 22:25 Quote
I'm hoping Planetary Annihilation gets all the way through development. I've been rather squeamish about getting into any Early Access game, didn't want to play it half baked. Although I played in the Supreme Commander beta so ..... Of course I didn't pay any money then. I did end up buying the game when it came out.
dstarr3 5th June 2014, 23:28 Quote
Well, sometimes Early Access games reach a point in their development where they've already become worth their asking price. The majority of Early Access games aren't at that point, but as a project nears completion and more and more content is added, it becomes more and more worth its asking price. And eventually, there comes a point where a game isn't finished, but even if development were to stop where it's at, the game could still be considered worth the price. Look at Crashtastic or Next Car Game. Still Early Access, but still way more entertainment included than what they're charging for already.
XXAOSICXX 6th June 2014, 06:54 Quote
If you were to pre-order an unfinished, still in alpha or beta, unreleased game with a playable demo (like Battlefield 4! Ba-dum-tsss!), which many of us on here have done over the years I'm sure (and through Steam, no less), and the game doesn't end up getting released...you get your money back.

But Valve...clever (sneaky) sods that they are... rename "playable demo" to "early access" and tell people they might never get a finished game, and suddenly the everyone on here is saying how stupid we all are for thinking we might actually get a finished product.

www.brainwashed.com
Corky42 6th June 2014, 07:56 Quote
Early access is nothing like a playable demo, or at least not in my eyes it isn't
A playable demo is normally indicative of the final game, early access is like getting access to an alpha build that maybe nothing like the finished game, if it even gets finished.
XXAOSICXX 6th June 2014, 08:22 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Corky42
Early access is nothing like a playable demo, or at least not in my eyes it isn't
A playable demo is normally indicative of the final game, early access is like getting access to an alpha build that maybe nothing like the finished game, if it even gets finished.

Nothing like it? You get to play a part of the game that isn't completely finished before the game is ready for release. The two things are similar in all respects, save perhaps that the early access build might be LESS complete than the playable demo - which is not a good reason to not offer refunds on what is still, essentially, a pre-order.

To state that the two are nothing like each other is preposterous, and shows what a damn good job Steam/Valve have done of convincing people to hand over their cash for unfinished products. EA would be proud!
Corky42 6th June 2014, 09:41 Quote
Not in all respects at all, one represents the final game, the other is still in development.
Noxvayl 6th June 2014, 10:00 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by XXAOSICXX
If you were to pre-order an unfinished, still in alpha or beta, unreleased game with a playable demo (like Battlefield 4! Ba-dum-tsss!), which many of us on here have done over the years I'm sure (and through Steam, no less), and the game doesn't end up getting released...you get your money back.

But Valve...clever (sneaky) sods that they are... rename "playable demo" to "early access" and tell people they might never get a finished game, and suddenly the everyone on here is saying how stupid we all are for thinking we might actually get a finished product.

You are missing a very important difference in the systems compared, one is backed by a publisher that supports multiple games (playable demo) and the other is an indie development platform that allows people that have no recourse to development funds to get some money in to help them sustain their lives while they try to create the game they want (early access). The reason this difference is important is that you deal with the publisher when you pay for an unreleased game to get a "playable demo" and are likely to hold that publisher accountable if they do not deliver on their promise which affects other games from unrelated developers; to protect their other investments they have no choice but to provide refunds.

When dealing with a developer of an early access game you are not paying for a soon to be finished product, you are paying for the game as it currently is with the expectation that your support of the developer will help them achieve their goal. You expect that the game will be finished, there is no guarantee and the agreement you accepted does not mention that the game will be finished.

The principle involved with the different systems is very different despite the product being similar. Your purchase agreement for a pre-order with early beta access is designed to make sure you get a finished product which is not possible without a publisher behind the development team. Your purchase agreement for an early access game has zero guarantees, you have nothing to appeal to if you don't get what you expected because the agreement is different. What people in this thread are saying is that it is stupid to assume the agreement is the same and I say it is ridiculous to expect the agreement to be the same because you have cut out the middleman. As much as we vilify publishers they provide some nice safeguards for customers that can not be expected when dealing directly with a developer.

If you want to have a more democratic and direct publishing system where customers deal directly with publishers then you need to be ready to take on the responsibility that publishers currently take on for you. If you deal directly with a developer you need to understand that the money you hand over is done in good faith, their is no legal safeguard to protect you. Your choice must be made very carefully. If you don't want to take on that responsibility of choosing where your money goes carefully then don't deal directly with developers, stick with the existing publishing model that serves your needs better.
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