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Gamers paying for unfinished products...

JyiigaJyiiga Seneca, SCPosts: 1,041Member Uncommon

This is becoming a subject that is near and dear to my heart. I am someone that has occasionally jumped on a Kickstarter project here and there. Mostly titles that have a sound development team, people with a name in the business that are putting their reputation on the line and more.

Recently though, I find myself more and more frustrated as I flip through catalogues of games, mainly on Steam. It feels like every other title that looks interesting that I click on is "Early Access Alpha". Many of which are from people I have never heard of, companies I have never heard of and are infested to the gills with balance issues and game breaking (and ruining bugs).

I understand that Alpha products are suppose to be buggy, but I can't help feel that developers are taking advantage of players/consumers to some degree.

My question is, why are so many people throwing money at promises now? What happen to Alpha being about internal testing? Worse yet, why are people paying 30+ dollars to ultimately test a game?

I feel like that at some point, a large group of people are going to end up burned by this practice. At some point (and it is already happening) the developer is going to take that money and run. They are going to cease or slow the patching/production process and ultimately, who is going to hold them accountable?

This really feels like a new point of tension.

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Comments

  • muppetpilotmuppetpilot Fort Wayne, INPosts: 163Member Uncommon

    Well I can't speak for anyone else, and I am one of those people who doesn't really get involved with crowd-funding or its ilk.  And I have been burned in the past by pre-ordering games that wound up being awful (Gw 2 being my worst case, personally), so basically at this point I like to think that I wait things out.

    That being said, I can sort of understand peoples' excitement when it comes to new games and the promise they hold.  Although I must say that as far as the subject matter of your post goes, I partially blame developers and publishers (and blog/gaming sites such as this one) for the nigh-unending hype they heap upon many of these upcoming games.  I swear, if I see the words "innovative!" and "groundbreaking!" applied to one more upcoming game.....ugh.

    I am a gamer too, though, and so I can empathize with why some people do the things you're talking about: funnel money into an unfinished product, pre-order games months before release (oftentimes without ever being involved in a beta), "sell" their buddies on buying the game also...I think we all know how that excitement and that hope of something better can grab you.  There are a few games that I love and have played for years, but most games aren't like that.  It's easy to get bored or, failing that, just to basically be ready for something new.  And with the advent of the internet has also come the advent of the aforementioned hype machine, ever ready to chew up even more gamers who have a little money socked away.

    As to specifically why people do this, given the track record of many failed games and the fact that games are almost never what they are hyped up to be prior to release, I honestly don't know.  As I said, I've been burned enough to make me shy away from funding unfinished products and from jumping on the "Latest WoW Killer" bandwagon; I'm old enough to know better.  It's unfortunate, but that's generally what it takes to make someone stay away from this week's Hype Train and stick with what they know.  Anyway, that's my two cents.

    "Why would I want to loose a religion upon my people? Religions wreck from within - Empires and individuals alike! It's all the same." - God Emperor of Dune

  • ReklawReklaw Am.Posts: 6,474Member Uncommon

    Had the same feeling about seeing so many early acces games not only on STEAM but did see the majority there.

    But let's face it we are in a different gaming era then lets say 10/20 years ago. When it goes to alpha or beta already due to forums we know most just want to try the game and not so much for testing but more to see if they like the game. Of course not everyone, but I am almost certain the majority that gains acces for free do so for their own pleasure.

    I don't mind paying for a early acces game if the game already offers something I can't find in other already released games. But also to be honost it doesn't work well for me to test the game because I do feel that because I payed I also should be allowed to just play and enjoy the game. Where with a free Alpha or Beta acces I far more willing and actually like it allot more to do testing.

  • XAPKenXAPKen Northwest, INPosts: 4,895Member Uncommon

    The practice has me concerned as well, but I'm still on the fence as far as how it will work out.

     

    I have 3 theories.

     

    1) Consumers are in such dire need for gaming, that they're willing to take risks to get it.

    2) Consumers have been burnt so many times by big corporate game companies, that risk is just accepted as part of the game purchasing process.

    3) Game buyers have no aversion to risk because they are not careful shoppers.

     

    Or maybe "all of the above".

     

     


    Ken Fisher - Semi retired old fart Network Administrator, now turned Amateur Game Developer.  I don't Forum PVP.  If you feel I've attacked you, it was probably by accident.  Realm Lords 2 on MMORPG.com
  • IylzIylz Burgaw, NCPosts: 107Member
    Don't buy the game till it's released and reviewed, problem solved.
  • TorvalTorval Oregon CountryPosts: 7,187Member Uncommon

    I fund what interests me. It doesn't matter if the game is in alpha, beta, or release. I'm a big boy and understand that pre-release games might not end up how I want. I've been disappointed before (City of Steam comes to mind) and I try and be cautious. I've also funded Planet Explorers and really like how that is shaping up.

    I think funding a risk, and risk taking in general appeals to gamers. Some of the most compelling games I've played have had risk elements. It feels great when they pay off. We're a resilient species and rebound and hopefully learn from our mistakes. What's the loss really? So you spent $20 on a game that didn't deliver. Is that any different than wasting $20 on a meal when you're out in town or buying a movie that was meh?

  • KyleranKyleran Tampa, FLPosts: 19,966Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by ZombieKen

    The practice has me concerned as well, but I'm still on the fence as far as how it will work out.

     

    I have 3 theories.

     1) Consumers are in such dire need for gaming, that they're willing to take risks to get it.

    2) Consumers have been burnt so many times by big corporate game companies, that risk is just accepted as part of the game purchasing process.

    3) Game buyers have no aversion to risk because they are not careful shoppers.

     Or maybe "all of the above".

     

    4) People have plenty of disposable income and don't mind spending it on entertainment, or at least the promise of future entertainment. 

    In my day MMORPG's were so hard we fought our way through dungeons in the snow, uphill both ways.
    "I don't have one life, I have many lives" - Grunty
    Still currently "subscribed" to EVE, and only EVE!!!
    "This is the most intelligent, well qualified and articulate response to a post I have ever seen on these forums. It's a shame most people here won't have the attention span to read past the second line." - Anon

  • TorvalTorval Oregon CountryPosts: 7,187Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by ZombieKen

    The practice has me concerned as well, but I'm still on the fence as far as how it will work out.

    I have 3 theories.

    1) Consumers are in such dire need for gaming, that they're willing to take risks to get it.

    2) Consumers have been burnt so many times by big corporate game companies, that risk is just accepted as part of the game purchasing process.

    3) Game buyers have no aversion to risk because they are not careful shoppers.

    Or maybe "all of the above".

    You're making a bigger deal out of than it is. It's just a few dollars. There is no real loss to the risk. Like I said above, it's not much different than wasting a few bucks on a day out, a movie, a book, music, or anything else. So it didn't pan out. What's the loss?

  • ArskaaaArskaaa KauhajokiPosts: 841Member Uncommon

    DayZ in steam feels like scam. i was totally expeting game be more better, last time i played dayz mod was 1-2 year ago. now i buyed dayz in steam and its worse then dayz mod years ago.

    There is in steam Wasteland 2 Early access 45€

    been think about buying but its just feel like devs stop making game more serious when they get money, they patch so slow them. 

     

    I guess early access games sell now becouse there is not new/interesting games on market.

  • donpopukidonpopuki Dearborn, MIPosts: 591Member
    It's the rising cost of development that's driving the kickstarters and paid alphas. Where do you think companies get $100 million dollars? Plus kickstarters and paid alphas show interest in said game which allows the game companies to go to the bank with proof of return on investment.
  • nariusseldonnariusseldon santa clara, CAPosts: 22,441Member

    I don't spend money on KS, alpha or beta.

    But so what if some suckers want to do that .. it is their money, not mine.

     

  • SnoepieSnoepie RotterdamPosts: 470Member

    i dont mind if i pay for a game that's in alpha.. therefore its alpha..

     

    I do mind if the game is abanded by the company itself because of running out of resources or whatever the problem might be..

    for example the kickstarter fundings.. it will always be a risk..

     

    but then again.. there are also companies that are selling "complete" games which turns out when you bought it. its broken or half the content that is missing from it..

     

    I still dont understand that the game industry has no warranty about buying games. 

     

    Take a look @ darkfall unholy wars... they sell you broken game for 50 dollars and 15 sub..

     

    How they come away with it is beyond me.

     

    There should be an independent company that rates games and give fines to other companies if they sell you broken or half fnished products..

     

    It should be the same when buying a car.. you dont wanne buy car without an engine

  • QuizzicalQuizzical Posts: 14,763Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by ZombieKen

    The practice has me concerned as well, but I'm still on the fence as far as how it will work out.

     

    I have 3 theories.

     

    1) Consumers are in such dire need for gaming, that they're willing to take risks to get it.

    2) Consumers have been burnt so many times by big corporate game companies, that risk is just accepted as part of the game purchasing process.

    3) Game buyers have no aversion to risk because they are not careful shoppers.

     

    Or maybe "all of the above".

     

     

    It's actually much simpler than that:  a fool and his money are soon parted.  Focusing on the particular means by which people who can't manage money waste it misses the point; if it weren't one thing, it would be another and the money would still be gone.

    -----

    Ultimately, it's pretty simple:  if you don't want to pay for an unfinished product, then don't.  I don't, and no one is forcing you to.  If you do pay for unfinished products knowing ahead of time that you're paying for access to an alpha, don't complain that the game is in alpha or didn't turn out the way you hoped.

    But if you think it's fun to get early access to woefully unfinished games and you'd rather mess with that than more polished games, then have at it.

  • AlBQuirkyAlBQuirky Sioux City, IAPosts: 3,828Member


    Originally posted by Kyleran

    Originally posted by ZombieKen
    The practice has me concerned as well, but I'm still on the fence as far as how it will work out.I have 3 theories.
    1) Consumers are in such dire need for gaming, that they're willing to take risks to get it.
    2) Consumers have been burnt so many times by big corporate game companies, that risk is just accepted as part of the game purchasing process.
    3) Game buyers have no aversion to risk because they are not careful shoppers.
     Or maybe "all of the above".
    4) People have plenty of disposable income and don't mind spending it on entertainment, or at least the promise of future entertainment. 
    All 4 are good reasons (excuses?).

    In my opinion, I think Ken's #1 is the majority. Link that to Kyleran's added #4 and you have a recipe for disaster :)

    Publishers and developers listen to nothing except money. The only way to get their attention is by NOT throwing money at them at every chance.

    The trouble lies in getting players to follow suit. If only enough players could just hold back and be patient, I think MMOs (and video games in general) would take a flying leap forward.

    I just do not see this happening anytime very soon.

    - Al

    Personally the only modern MMORPG trend that annoys me is the idea that MMOs need to be designed in a way to attract people who don't actually like MMOs. Which to me makes about as much sense as someone trying to figure out a way to get vegetarians to eat at their steakhouse.
    - FARGIN_WAR

  • JemcrystalJemcrystal Champaign, ILPosts: 1,548Member Uncommon

    I certainly don't fall in this category.  I buy games on sale at Wal-mart about five years after release and only if fifty or more people online and in my circle of real life friends said it was "to die for."  Lolz.  I am soo cheap.  And did I mention picky?

     

    But I would like to see some steal hard facts on this issue.  Crowd funded games that were a success vs. crowd funded games that were a fail.  It is interesting.


  • rbialorbialo WarszawaPosts: 32Member Uncommon

    Nothing new here, move along.

    Exaggerating maybe but you know why I say so? because I was feed up with pre-orders when HOMM4 were sold. When was that - 10 years ago or more?


    I think this is how markets works. You want something, they provide something. You want it faster, they sell it faster. But production cycle takes time. You can speed it up to certain point but then if still hurry it up you fail at quality.

    And it has been like that for eternity. When caveman want a meat they could make a long and complicated hunting for mammoth or go alone and catch a rabbit, but most of the times he got eaten by a tiger. Unfortunately (or maybe not) modern people do not get eaten when the take shortcuts. Maybe thats why we see more and more of this behavior.

      
    B)
  • zastenzasten nowherePosts: 283Member

    There is an old saying that fits here:

    "Fools and their money are easily parted!"

  • ReklawReklaw Am.Posts: 6,474Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by AlBQuirky

     


    Originally posted by Kyleran

    Originally posted by ZombieKen
    The practice has me concerned as well, but I'm still on the fence as far as how it will work out.

     

    I have 3 theories.
    1) Consumers are in such dire need for gaming, that they're willing to take risks to get it.
    2) Consumers have been burnt so many times by big corporate game companies, that risk is just accepted as part of the game purchasing process.
    3) Game buyers have no aversion to risk because they are not careful shoppers.
     Or maybe "all of the above".


    4) People have plenty of disposable income and don't mind spending it on entertainment, or at least the promise of future entertainment. 
    All 4 are good reasons (excuses?).

     

    In my opinion, I think Ken's #1 is the majority. Link that to Kyleran's added #4 and you have a recipe for disaster :)

    Publishers and developers listen to nothing except money. The only way to get their attention is by NOT throwing money at them at every chance.

    The trouble lies in getting players to follow suit. If only enough players could just hold back and be patient, I think MMOs (and video games in general) would take a flying leap forward.

    I just do not see this happening anytime very soon.

    And what about gamers trowing money at the things they enjoy or hope to enjoy?

    Aslong as I have been a gamer there is always risk involved when buying a game.

    I also never fall for hype but just fall onto games that seem fun to me and don't care if the game is popular, has a GOTY or seems to suck for a majority of forum posters.

    There are just a few games like next editions/expensions/chapters/series or DLC's I buy blindly, such as GTA, Assassin Creed, Elder Scrolls, Fallout, Bioshock, The Witcher, Splintercell, Crysis to name a few of them. I can enjoy them all for different or several related reasons. But I have developed more patients over the years of not buying them at release as often many of them either get in some sale point after a few months. And I Always find out I have far to little time to actually play my  bought games. Many of the games I listed above I did buy on release and most of them I played months after I bought them.

    With MMORPG's it's a different story. Atleast the last few years, the setting and it's overall feature's really need to be interesting to me. If het parts I am interest in are lower then the parts I need to play but don't feel interesting to me I will wait to either try the game (trail/demo) or it might become F2P and still have a change to play or atleast try the game. Rift for example suprised me ending up being a fun game. Unfortunaly when I set foot in a singleplayer game that felt much more persistant and alive is when I ended my gametime in RIFT right after nearly 5 months of play.

    I payed for early acces in State of Decay with no regrets, similar with 7days2die also a early acces game and having fun with it even though I do encounter allot more issue's with it compared to SoD. And besides of not having regrets it Always be my own responsibilty.

    Only thing that developers can fail at for me is developing a game that isn't fun to me but that will never mean that those developers s*ck or are bad because I already know that regardless how I might feel about a game there might be plenty of other people who are enjoying that game.

    My problem lies more in people who pay for beta/alpha/early acces and then complain about the game on no-official forums.

    Also like to add I buy a game for me personaly, don't really care about it's company, while certain company's could get the upper hand, it all depends if the game seems fun to meand not what company or how populair or un-populair the game might be.

     

  • TineaTinea North Olmsted, OHPosts: 80Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by rbialo

    Nothing new here, move along.

    Exaggerating maybe but you know why I say so? because I was feed up with pre-orders when HOMM4 were sold. When was that - 10 years ago or more?


    I think this is how markets works. You want something, they provide something. You want it faster, they sell it faster. But production cycle takes time. You can speed it up to certain point but then if still hurry it up you fail at quality.

    And it has been like that for eternity. When caveman want a meat they could make a long and complicated hunting for mammoth or go alone and catch a rabbit, but most of the times he got eaten by a tiger. Unfortunately (or maybe not) modern people do not get eaten when the take shortcuts. Maybe thats why we see more and more of this behavior.

    Good point about pre-orders.  Pre-orders were the way you'd be able to spend money on an incomplete game, but now you get to play the incomplete game rather than just waiting for it.  Then complain about how incomplete it is.

    That sounds pretty harsh, so let me just say that I understand some developers, specifically indie, may not have the backing needed to complete their project.  So I get wanting to support someone you think is worth backing.  But it's a gamble, and when the first big kickstarter or early access fails miserably (has one already?) then maybe people will be more stingy where they throw their money.

    I'm not too impressed with most of the games waiting to be greenlit on Steam.  How many more retro platformers do we need?  In fairness, a new dev may need a stepping stone to bigger and better things but I just can't bring myself to back most of these games.

     

  • DMKanoDMKano Gamercentral, AKPosts: 8,494Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Jyiiga

    This is becoming a subject that is near and dear to my heart. I am someone that has occasionally jumped on a Kickstarter project here and there. Mostly titles that have a sound development team, people with a name in the business that are putting their reputation on the line and more.

    Recently though, I find myself more and more frustrated as I flip through catalogues of games, mainly on Steam. It feels like every other title that looks interesting that I click on is "Early Access Alpha". Many of which are from people I have never heard of, companies I have never heard of and are infested to the gills with balance issues and game breaking (and ruining bugs).

    I understand that Alpha products are suppose to be buggy, but I can't help feel that developers are taking advantage of players/consumers to some degree.

    My question is, why are so many people throwing money at promises now? What happen to Alpha being about internal testing? Worse yet, why are people paying 30+ dollars to ultimately test a game?

    I feel like that at some point, a large group of people are going to end up burned by this practice. At some point (and it is already happening) the developer is going to take that money and run. They are going to cease or slow the patching/production process and ultimately, who is going to hold them accountable?

    This really feels like a new point of tension.

    Depends on the team and game - for example I am backing and involved with Trion's Trove - done by a small team in a large company - all devs are veteran game devs.

    I love Trove alpha and talking to devs in game and on reddit has been awesome.

    To me this one is 100% sure to end up a completed project - great team, open communication, bi-weekly builds/patches.

    Also the lead is Avarem the Dev - the guy who brought us Ancient Pot Warehouse (Vanguard SOH Raid)

     

  • XAPKenXAPKen Northwest, INPosts: 4,895Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Tinea 
    Pre-orders were the way you'd be able to spend money on an incomplete game, but now you get to play the incomplete game rather than just waiting for it.  Then complain about how incomplete it is.

     

    *BIG GRIN*  That's a funny point.

     

    I'm not sure if it is meant to be funny, but I misinterpret communications all the time, so no harm intended if I am here.

     

    Buying incomplete, knowing it's incomplete, and then complaining that it's incomplete does sound a bit hypocritical.

     

    I've been thinking about this topic.  I guess where I stand is "if it is disclosed, it is legit".  I don't mind seeing companies selling alpha to raise capital, as long as it's clear that it's alpha.

     

    Off-topic rant:  On the other hand, selling release quality that should be considered alpha (buggy / broken / incomplete), is something I have a hard time accepting.

     


    Ken Fisher - Semi retired old fart Network Administrator, now turned Amateur Game Developer.  I don't Forum PVP.  If you feel I've attacked you, it was probably by accident.  Realm Lords 2 on MMORPG.com
  • greenreengreenreen Punchoo, AKPosts: 2,101Member Uncommon

    Can't see myself paying to get into early stages so bully for whoever does it.

    I've signed up for less than 5 betas since about 2003. There aren't many games that would make me want to test for them. Yes, I do consider it testing instead of a game preview. Yet to be invited to any I applied for. Waited a year for Warhammer beta, that one ticked me off because at one point they said everyone who is in waiting before x date WILL get inside. Boohiss, I most certainly didn't. The only thing I was in was for LOTRO pre-release thing but they invited me.

     

    I have played a game where the developer was honest that they were still working on it, Wurm. That's a different creature if I know you haven't finished everything but aren't looking for tickets and documentation for problems. Since my RL job is programming, of course I think I can give superior unit testing to someone who works in a different field. Consider yourself lucky if I want to test your game for free, can't see myself paying to do it.

     

    From the people I've talked to in games though who were guild buddies in betas, alpha and beta just seem to be places where people go to get an early peek instead of actually test. So, maybe they don't care at all what I do for a living and it's keeping me out. I would bother them with details when all they really want is hype gossip spreaders. I can say ppl don't take those NDAs seriously in guild chats, who needs to get into a beta, big mouths will tell everything about it whether you ask or not.

  • JaedorJaedor Denver, COPosts: 1,140Member Uncommon

    IMO there are multiple reasons bringing us to this point:
    - Boredom with the current games we have
    - Immediate access, even if it's buggy
    - Access to developers
    - The possibility of influencing development
    - Early cash flow for developers
    - Kickstarter-like opportunities (see above)


    With a history of paying for games and subs behind us, it's not a big deal or a big leap to pay for early access to games that sound promising. As developers get behind it because it's more cash to fund development, it has quickly become the norm.


    As the volume of commentary from alpha players gets louder, what gets lost in all the noise is the old version of testing, the QA and the value of NDAs.

  • darkedone02darkedone02 Louisville, KYPosts: 552Member

    I don't see a problem with what Early Access is and I don't see a lot of companies that are attempting to screw us over. Early Access is like a pre-order except you are BETA TESTING and ALPHA TESTING the game, help get the kinks and the glitches and bugs out of the game and make the game look better before it offically releases at the correct date, it's nothing more then that. I am currently enjoying Space Engineers, Starbound, and Craft The World, which all of those games i've mentioned are in Early Access.

    image

  • MargulisMargulis Glendale, AZPosts: 1,614Member
    Originally posted by Jyiiga

    This is becoming a subject that is near and dear to my heart. I am someone that has occasionally jumped on a Kickstarter project here and there. Mostly titles that have a sound development team, people with a name in the business that are putting their reputation on the line and more.

    Recently though, I find myself more and more frustrated as I flip through catalogues of games, mainly on Steam. It feels like every other title that looks interesting that I click on is "Early Access Alpha". Many of which are from people I have never heard of, companies I have never heard of and are infested to the gills with balance issues and game breaking (and ruining bugs).

    I understand that Alpha products are suppose to be buggy, but I can't help feel that developers are taking advantage of players/consumers to some degree.

    My question is, why are so many people throwing money at promises now? What happen to Alpha being about internal testing? Worse yet, why are people paying 30+ dollars to ultimately test a game?

    I feel like that at some point, a large group of people are going to end up burned by this practice. At some point (and it is already happening) the developer is going to take that money and run. They are going to cease or slow the patching/production process and ultimately, who is going to hold them accountable?

    This really feels like a new point of tension.

    I hear ya - and if you think 30 dollars is bad how bout 100 dollars for EQNext Landmark?  Or 300 dollars for Aura Kingdom?  It goes on and on and is happening more and more sadly.  And why?  Because people are paying for it.  And I think the reason people are paying for it is 2 fold:

    1.  Tying "exclusive" items to these promotions and people don't want to feel like they have "missed out" on anything.

    2.  People are desperate to find their new perfect game.

  • DamonVileDamonVile Vancouver, BCPosts: 4,818Member

    My solution is simple...don't buy the game till it's ready. I don't want to buy an unfinished game, so I don't. It saves me from ever being disappointed or pissed off because it didn't turn out like I wanted it to.

    So far I never feel like I've missed out on anything by not buying in early.  I couldn't care less if someone else does it, or if I'm not the first to play a game.

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