So recently it was brought to my attention that currently there is a Early Access trend happening on Steam. If you don't know what I'm talking about, then here is a quick rundown on what is happening.
Since the first few successful Early Access games, such as DayZ, Kerbal Space Program, and tons more, game developers have begun to think that Early Access equals profit. And because the world is greedy for money, developers (but not all
developers), have jumped onto a seemingly endless train ride known as the Early Access trend. Now hoping that you understood that, let's talk about it even more...
Before I talk about the cons of the Early Access trend, I will list the pros when it comes to Early Access games from a gamer's point of view.Pros
- Open development, the gamers that have chosen to buy an Early Access game, have essentially chosen to help create the game.
- The changes, Early Access games usually have updates every few weeks or so, and one giant update every month or so. Saying that the game is developed based on the community suggestions, means that those updates will more than likely have major changes. Ranging from new game mechanics, new stories, new look, and others. This can make a game continually interesting.
- The gameplay, every once in a while an Early Access game will be completed enough to a point where the game is playable, and on an even more rare occasion, the game will actually
I can't really think of anymore possible pros to Early Access games from a gamers point of view. With that said, let's take a look at the pros of Early Access games from the developers point of view. Pros
- More exposure, because gamers help during the development of the game, they tend to talk about that game more, make videos about how great it is, take PewDiePie for an example; which makes others want to buy and try the game, which then on repeats. If you haven't noticed it already, the Steam frontpage is littered with Early Access games. With that said, your game will more than likely end up on the frontpage, bringing more players to the game.
- Profit now and
later, when Early Access games do succeed, they get a massive amount of cash before the game is even close to a beta stage; let alone an actual finished
game. Oh! I can't forget to mention the possibilities of DLC's and promotional lore.
There are a lot more pros for the developer's side, but I can't list the many others without sounding completely bias. Now that the pros are done, let's talk about the never ending list of cons... oh how I've waited for this... Cons
- The "benefits" or Early Access Packs, you know what I'm talking about. Almost every Early Access game I've seen has had one or usually more rewards for buying the game. This is one of the most overused lore tactics used. Promising to give Early Access players with a hodgepodge mix of benefits that will more than likely be useless or become purchasable in the future.
- Development hell, this is when a game is so terrible that it gets stuck in a never ending cycle of game changes that ultimately create more bugs in the game.
- The time it takes for the game to actually finish, if it ever does, Early Access games have a habit of milking the time they spend in the Early Access stage. Mainly so they have an excuse for the countless issues that are present in their game.
Again, there are countless other cons to this Early Access trend. There are tons of articles out there, so go and do some searching if you want to learn more about the cons and pros.
Now here comes my opinion based thoughts, so no complaining about this part of the post, okay? Alright.
So in my opinion, all this Early Access trend is doing, is creating an excuse to monetize unfinished projects on vague promises of future greatness. Which isn't
okay.. It's also teaching a bad game marketing strategy, if you could call it that. I can only think of a few possible outcomes to this. First, the game releases on Early Access, and doesn't do so hot, causing the developers to sink more money into their game then their game will actually payback. Another possible outcome would be that it discourages indie developers from releasing their games, and we would no longer have games like Unturned and others, one of the very few Early Access games that I enjoy. Another thing, a lot of games that started as Early Access, game from as much as 1-3 years ago, are still
in Early Access. *cough.. cough*
Pointing a finger at DayZ, a game that has been Early Access for a little over 2 years
... really? Same thing goes for 7 Days to Die, Grim Dawn, Rust, and countless other. Think about it, would you be as excited to play a game when it's officially released, after playing the game 2+ years before? I sure wouldn't.
Anyway, this topic is very controversial, and everyone is entitled to their opinions. I just thought it would be interesting to see what everyone here has to say about it.