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What’s the Deal with Early Access? - Robert Lashley at MMORPG.com

SBFordSBFord Former Associate EditorMember LegendaryPosts: 33,126
edited April 2016 in News & Features Discussion

imageWhat’s the Deal with Early Access? - Robert Lashley at MMORPG.com

We’ve all seen the glut of games that are begging for your money in the guise of early access but where did they come from? Rob tries to tackle that topic this week.

Read the full story here



¯\_(ツ)_/¯ 


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Comments

  • BitterClingerBitterClinger Member UncommonPosts: 438
    I would disagree that Daybreak Games is a "success". Yes, they managed to create H1Z1, but they mismanaged EverQuest Next and got A LOT of people laid off in the process. So, while the studio may remain "afloat", the flagship is sunk.
  • BitterClingerBitterClinger Member UncommonPosts: 438
    On the larger subject of early access, it has a terrible track record. The majority of games never make it to full release or are 'released' unfinished. However, as you say, we do get some wonderful games, like Darkest Dungeon in the process.

    On the other hand, Early Access can actually hurt game titles. You say not to look for completed games in the Early Access program, but Black Death is not even ready to be exposed to the vast majority of gamers.

    So, gamers watch some footage of these pre-Alpha Early Access games on Twitch or YouTube and they judge the game at that moment. I know, it's early access. Things are going to change and all that, but we're talking about human beings here. First impressions still matter.

    I'm not sure what the rules are around Early Access, but maybe developers should go back to the old NDA system for games that are not yet in open beta. Get the benefit of the players without blowing it prematurely in the hype train.
  • WizardryWizardry Member LegendaryPosts: 18,343
    The article nailed everything precisely on the head.
    Not sure the mention of DBG because imo they have not done a single thing yet,except acquire a failing business.H1z1 was not DBG it was Smedley quick cash grab before the changeover.The ONLY thing DBG has done is take a VERY shallow unfinished H1Z1 and split it into two parts in hopes of scamming gamer's for two sales.

    These ideals now being practiced by developers has allowed thousands of new wannabe upstart developers rise from the ground up.The whole idea behind all these studios now works great for them but does nothing to enhance our gaming experience.

    I can look at any game and instantly sees many ways to improve them,it really looks like devs are selling us not even average effort but instead FAST early access effort which is like less than a year of effort.
    My biggest problem with early access is the monetization,they are treating them like full on for-sale games with full on cash shops.If you have a product that is in the first year of development you have no business asking for money nor selling a cash shop,instead you should be BEGGING gamer's to help test your product.

    Never forget 3 mile Island and never trust a government official or company spokesman.

  • MoiraeMoirae Member RarePosts: 3,318
    Yeah, I stopped buying early access. It isn't worth the headache.
  • RouzukiRouzuki Member UncommonPosts: 66
    Tripwire's KillingFloor2 was my last straw. No more early access for me unless the content that's available is roughly equal to that of a finished game.
  • JoreelJoreel Member UncommonPosts: 148
    I've had some Early Access games that turned into great games in the end, and I've has some that were either "released" to soon or were abandoned when the devs ran out of money. EA is definitely a gamble, but sometimes it worked out great.
  • d_20d_20 Member RarePosts: 1,878
    I've definitely learned my lesson with early access. I will not support that model any more. I'm now wary even of games launching with season passes. There are plenty of old games for me to catch up on while I wait for this mess to sort itself out and for games to actually launch and get their legs.

    This early access BS (customers also to blame, but does not relieve developers and publishers of their responsibility) is a great example of why I don't believe industries can really police themselves.


  • H0urg1assH0urg1ass Member EpicPosts: 2,380
    In ten years we've gone from "Please come test our unfinished game rather than playing the perfectly good game that you're playing now!" to "Nope, sorry, the only way you get to see our glitchy, buggy shitshow of an Alpha is if you fork over $100 bucks for 'early access'".

    It's brilliant is what it is.  It never fails to amaze me how a little twist in wording and bit of marketing BS can make someone believe they're actually missing out if they don't play it early!
  • JimWraithJimWraith Member UncommonPosts: 127
    Alpha and Beta are no longer actual test environments and are now advertising opportunities.

    And then we get the soft release Beta's from Korean companies.

    And now Early Access is a slipshod mess with few gems and piles of crap.

    With inflation being an actual thing, I don't feel too burned by Season Passes as long as they actually provide content.


    I weep for the video game industry.
  • GremeGreme Member UncommonPosts: 66
    From my perspective Early Access/Kickstarter games brought some bad things to gaming industry. By receiving money in advance they moved majority of risk of game making from game developers/publishers to customers, while having no accountability at all, if the project fails. They are simply risking our money now instead of their own. That, as customer, is simply not acceptable for me.
  • DarkEvilHatredDarkEvilHatred Member UncommonPosts: 184
    We are so desperate for the next "Big Thing" to come out and so disappointed at what is currently out right now that we are willing to spend money on games that aren't even released. Developers are taking advantage and this is why Early Access games are able to make such huge profits. It's not because these games are so great or even have such great potential. It's simply due to the fact that just about every MMO out right now is either older than dirt, boring as hell, or the same old, same old.
  • ErillionErillion Member EpicPosts: 10,235
    With the exception of Kerbal Space Program (too cute and too scientific to miss) i have been reluctant to purchase Early Access games. In contrast to that i HAVE supported several Kickstarter/crowdfunding projects - and so far all of them have matured into excellent games or are progressing well.

    To me its a matter of trust and the will to help the drive for innovation.

    The successful crowdfunding projects often originate from teams with well known industry experts (with proven histories of excellence) that want to go into a new direction or revive sadly neglected genres. The Early Access programme however is full of me-too clone projects (Survival Game Nr. 34, Team shooter Number 98, Zombie Apocalypse Nr. 51 etc.)
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Steam_Early_Access_games
    and some dubious development teams (sometimes also with industry veterans - but those more often than not with abysmal track records). Some of those teams dive out of sight of their supporters for many months when the going gets tough. Others aggressively censor their Steam forum boards.

    Personally I have more trust into crowdfunding compared to Early Access. And IMHO the crowdfunding projects are usually much more innovative than the average Early Access title (caveat: there are exceptions to that rule on both sides of the fence).


    Have fun
  • Gobstopper3DGobstopper3D Member RarePosts: 882
    Well done the the article. I couldn't agree more with what was said, which is why I never have and never will back a game being developed. The backers are the ones taking all the risk. If there was one publisher I would love to see fold tomorrow it would be EA. The bane of the industry.

    I'm not an IT Specialist, Game Developer, or Clairvoyant in real life, but like others on here, I play one on the internet.

  • SpottyGekkoSpottyGekko Member EpicPosts: 6,916
    I have supported 2 game projects that offered Early Access, and in both cases the games were actually very playable. But that is the root of the problem for me. The constant changes to the game play and the inevitable wipes become tiresome after a while. I stopped playing both games completely, and they haven't even launched yet.

    I came to the conclusion that my "Early Access" game play will in future be confined to the week before launch, lol

    As for Alpha access, never again.
  • someforumguysomeforumguy Member RarePosts: 4,070
    Early Access only requires common sense and reading comprehension.

    It is not as if ' Finished' games are a safe buy. They can be just as bad as the worst Early Access games. Only have to search this website for all the disappointed ppl who preordered a game before any gameplay was shown.

    I do my homework. And I love Early Access and kickstarter for all the great projects that otherwise would have never had a chance from the mainstream gaming companies.
  • Octagon7711Octagon7711 Member LegendaryPosts: 8,968
    Gone are the days when companies would pay you to test and eval their games. Now you pay to do it. I seldom buy early access what with all the bad ports and shortcuts being taken. If I do it's with the understanding of what you see may not be what you get. From alpha to beta to launch and even a year after, games can go through major changes and look little like what was advertised.

    Gone also are the days of when buying a game meant a trip to the computer store. Now they know they can release a game unfinished and complete it later. Also break up the game into parts and sell those parts as DLC.

    Some players use early access simply to find the fastest ways to level or bugs to exploit when the game goes live.

    Still gaming is still my favorite pastime and I feel lucky to live in a time when I can research buy and play a game within an hour without leaving the house. No more hunting around for the game cd and hoping it still works.

    "We all do the best we can based on life experience, point of view, and our ability to believe in ourselves." - Naropa      "We don't see things as they are, we see them as we are."  SR Covey

  • TheRabidsmurfTheRabidsmurf Member UncommonPosts: 146
    When it comes to multi-player games i think community is factor. Making friends in a alpha game is gold. " we go way back, alphabro!" Or some such. But more often the games never release or people stay in this cycle of early access, chasing the dream dragon.
  • waynejr2waynejr2 Member EpicPosts: 7,768
    Wizardry said:
    The article nailed everything precisely on the head.
    Not sure the mention of DBG because imo they have not done a single thing yet,except acquire a failing business.H1z1 was not DBG it was Smedley quick cash grab before the changeover.The ONLY thing DBG has done is take a VERY shallow unfinished H1Z1 and split it into two parts in hopes of scamming gamer's for two sales.

    These ideals now being practiced by developers has allowed thousands of new wannabe upstart developers rise from the ground up.The whole idea behind all these studios now works great for them but does nothing to enhance our gaming experience.

    I can look at any game and instantly sees many ways to improve them,it really looks like devs are selling us not even average effort but instead FAST early access effort which is like less than a year of effort.
    My biggest problem with early access is the monetization,they are treating them like full on for-sale games with full on cash shops.If you have a product that is in the first year of development you have no business asking for money nor selling a cash shop,instead you should be BEGGING gamer's to help test your product.

    These "improvements" as you call them.  Could they also just be different and not necessarily better?
    http://www.youhaventlived.com/qblog/2010/QBlog190810A.html  

    Epic Music:   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vAigCvelkhQ&list=PLo9FRw1AkDuQLEz7Gvvaz3ideB2NpFtT1

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    Kyleran:  "Now there's the real trick, learning to accept and enjoy a game for what it offers rather than pass on what might be a great playing experience because it lacks a few features you prefer."

    John Henry Newman: "A man would do nothing if he waited until he could do it so well that no one could find fault."

    FreddyNoNose:  "A good game needs no defense; a bad game has no defense." "Easily digested content is just as easily forgotten."

    LacedOpium: "So the question that begs to be asked is, if you are not interested in the game mechanics that define the MMORPG genre, then why are you playing an MMORPG?"




  • BurntvetBurntvet Member RarePosts: 3,465
    edited May 2016
    Often enough, early access is a sham by underfunded game companies that pawn off half finished crap on customers to generate enough money to continue operations.

    When they fail, the customer is stuck with an unfinished crap game that is no longer supported.

    It is one further step removed from pre-ordering games and an even worse deal for gamers.


  • k61977k61977 Member RarePosts: 1,336
    I think a big disconnect here is some people look at early access as alpha/beta access in which it is not suppose to be. Early access in itself is suppose to be a pre-release of a finished product. A reward for people who pre-order to get a head start on a game before they go live. It was not intended to be used as a money grab to be able to work on your game, which unfortunately is what a lot of companies are doing now. Using the term early access when referring to your beta/alpha is unethical because the product is unfinished.

    You could argue that you are getting early access if you are testing the game, but there is already a term for that called testing. I am an older gamer and remember being paid by gaming companies to test games, not the other way around.

    I fully believe in supporting companies that have proven track records but this whole we need your money before the game is even in an alpha has gotten way out of hand. It looks like every company now is asking the consumer to pay to make a game for them so they basically just walk away with the profit.
  • ScotScot Member LegendaryPosts: 14,143
    edited May 2016
    Not everything in an industry conforms to trends with labels like MVP. There has been a trend to make MMOs with less money that started over 15 years ago. Not done to MVP principles but simply cutting what was perceived as frills to give gamers what they thought people wanted.

    In many ways this is just a facet of the same changes that reflects the wider adoption by the gaming industry of practices from other industries. The assumption that if it works in Pepsi it must work in gaming is of cause questionable, but when you create a new business norm the nodding heads of the executives to coin a phrase, make it so.

     25 Agrees

    You received 25 Agrees. You're posting some good content. Great!

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    Now Doesn't That Make You Feel All Warm And Fuzzy Inside? :P

  • LeoTolstoyLeoTolstoy Member UncommonPosts: 28
    "Hey guys, I have this great Steak and Potato dinner I want to serve to you. I have all the potatoes for it, but need just a little more cash to get the steak. I promise once you finally get a taste of this meal you won't regret it!"

    No thx, I'll just have chicken tonight.
  • OzmodanOzmodan Member EpicPosts: 9,726
    edited May 2016
    Personally I think doing early access is a huge risk for a developer. Granted they can milk cash from the playing public before the game is released, but it can have a huge downside to it if there is any form of a negative backlash.

     Take Master of Orion 4, they are charging big money for early access and the general consensus is the game at this point in time is crap. I almost bought it, but I am glad I did not. Will they iron out the major issues and make a decent game, who knows? The initial negative impressions of the early release version will prevent many from purchasing it later. They may have damaged the perception of the game and cost them a lot of potential income.
  • TheocritusTheocritus Member EpicPosts: 7,855
    Early access = "Oh people will PAY for alpha or beta quality?"
  • holdenhamletholdenhamlet Member EpicPosts: 3,766
    I think the rise of this kind of stuff is great for gaming. It allows for games to be made outside of the corporate gaming mill. Anything that promotes creativity is good for gaming. And these Devs have to be creative. Nobody is going to want to buy into something that's already been done.
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