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Lets talk about Early Access.

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  • kjempffkjempff Member RarePosts: 1,629
    My opinion on this is that the problem is that consumers have the wrong expectations - Because they are uninformed about what early access means.
    You can not demand nor expect anything in terms of quality or playability because you did not buy anything, you supported a project with a donation. The promise to get the game once it finishes and to test it early is what you get.

  • AeliousAelious Member RarePosts: 3,521
    As long as the company is being honest and up front about what they are selling and produce stated product, customers are responsible for what they buy.

    That said, in my opinion I think any company selling EA needs to have a roadmap with milestones for future features/improvements that they are held accountable for. If people want to pay full price for something that isn't yet realized they should at least demand to know what that product is supposed to look like... since they have already paid for it.
  • UngoodUngood Member EpicPosts: 2,757
    Pemmin said:
    Ungood said:
    Ideally.. IMHO.. Early Access should be that point between Beta and Launch, that players get in a bit early to get a head start in the game.

    But as others have said, currently it is just a term used by game companies to get money for an unfinished product.
    we already have a term for this its called "head start". the developers have at least been pretty consistent with there word smithing.
    The fact that the OP made it clear that Early Access could be anything from unplayable sludge to what appears to be a finished product.. I am going to disagree on any kind of term constancy by developers.
  • MadFrenchieMadFrenchie Member LegendaryPosts: 8,483
    edited December 2018
    I get the reason companies do early access. It's really a way to fund development and it clearly works so it is a brilliant strategy.  People may think others are dumb for buying into them, but why does it bother you with what someone else does? 

    if you think EA is pathetic, then don't buy the game, not sure why people complain, its not like it influences your life. 

    Cryomatrix
    That's false, though.  It does influence the market in general, of which we all have to engage in if we want to continue our hobby.

    image
  • AmatheAmathe Member LegendaryPosts: 5,719
    It comes down to transparency. For example, if the game is a mess, and they disclose that fact, and someone is ok with it being a mess and still wants to pay for EA, that's ok to me. But if it's a mess and they make it sound like it is good to go, then that's more of a scam.

    EQ1, EQ2, SWG, SWTOR, GW, GW2 CoH, CoV, FFXI, WoW, CO, War,TSW and a slew of free trials and beta tests

  • mcrippinsmcrippins Member RarePosts: 1,413
    I think the problem is that it can be incredibly hard to determine what state an 'early access' game is in. Some games are between beta -> release, while others are in alpha state. No idea wtf a pre-alpha release is supposed to be. Anything before alpha isn't supposed to be playable. There needs to be a way to clarify what we're buying.
    Maurgrim
  • Panther2103Panther2103 Member EpicPosts: 5,259
    Early access can be okay, it works for some titles. Others completely milk the status, and release it on EA, just to get a second chance upon "release" to get more players.

    I think that if the company is upfront with the status of the game at the moment, and have a development outline or some form of communication with the players who are currently playing, then it can work as a tool for devs to further development in the correct direction, who may not otherwise have that option (smaller studio or something).

    Otherwise it's used too often to bait people into buying unfinished products that may never be finished. I've bought quite a few Early Access games that have never been finished and I can't get refunds because it's been longer than 2 weeks. I liked the idea so I supported it, and got burned. 

    MadFrenchie
  • ShaighShaigh Member RarePosts: 2,007
    If your gameplay is fun even though its unfinished and buggy it make sense selling the product to people that are willing to assist you while building the game.

    The problem happened when it went from gaming enthusiasts buying into your alpha/beta to a point where a game could become a commercial success long before it was finished.

    At this point we have publishers pushing out release trailers for early access games because most often the peak sales is when they launch as early access and not when they release the full game.

    The full launch should be the most exciting period of any game, that's never the case when it comes to survival sandboxes.
    The cynic knows the price of everything and the value of nothing.
  • IselinIselin Member LegendaryPosts: 12,901
    When all is said and done, I'd rather have a game that is buggy and missing features labeled as EA than launched as released... looking at you FO76.

    How long a game is in EA before full release is situational and I give studios with a tiny staff producing a large, complex game a lot of slack in that regard. The larger more established studios not so much.
    MisterZebubConstantineMerus
    “Microtransactions? In a single player role-playing game? Are you nuts?” 
    ― CD PROJEKT RED
  • MadFrenchieMadFrenchie Member LegendaryPosts: 8,483
    edited December 2018
    Early access can be okay, it works for some titles. Others completely milk the status, and release it on EA, just to get a second chance upon "release" to get more players.

    I think that if the company is upfront with the status of the game at the moment, and have a development outline or some form of communication with the players who are currently playing, then it can work as a tool for devs to further development in the correct direction, who may not otherwise have that option (smaller studio or something).

    Otherwise it's used too often to bait people into buying unfinished products that may never be finished. I've bought quite a few Early Access games that have never been finished and I can't get refunds because it's been longer than 2 weeks. I liked the idea so I supported it, and got burned. 

    Speaking of which...  Do these EA devs provide review copies to folks like @BillMurphy when they decide to release EA?

    If not, that should be corrected.  If you're going to take in cash like it's released, you should be providing journalists review copies so they can help consumers make an educated choice upon EA release.
    Panther2103

    image
  • Panther2103Panther2103 Member EpicPosts: 5,259
    Early access can be okay, it works for some titles. Others completely milk the status, and release it on EA, just to get a second chance upon "release" to get more players.

    I think that if the company is upfront with the status of the game at the moment, and have a development outline or some form of communication with the players who are currently playing, then it can work as a tool for devs to further development in the correct direction, who may not otherwise have that option (smaller studio or something).

    Otherwise it's used too often to bait people into buying unfinished products that may never be finished. I've bought quite a few Early Access games that have never been finished and I can't get refunds because it's been longer than 2 weeks. I liked the idea so I supported it, and got burned. 

    Speaking of which...  Do these EA devs provide review copies to folks like @BillMurphy when they decide to release EA?

    If not, that should be corrected.  If you're going to take in cash like it's released, you should he providing journalists review copies so they can help consumers make an educated choice upon EA release.
    Sometimes they provide review copies but from what I've seen they only provide it to people that will give them a positive review on steam. I think that was one of the reasons valve had to make it say when someone was given a free copy of the game on the reviews. 

    That's why I enjoy people on youtube or other sites that aren't afraid to say how the game actually is. 
    MadFrenchie
  • HashbrickHashbrick Member RarePosts: 1,851
    I think there needs to be more rules to it, it should have to go through a review process to figure out where the game is at.  So that you don't get those games where you just walk around and gameplay is not even thought of yet.  Steam thinks it regulates that via refund policy, but in all honesty that's not going to work when the developer is "supposibly working on it".  There's few EA games that have crushed it most stay alive for a bit and abandon it when the money dries up.
    [[ DEAD ]] - Funny - I deleted my account on the site using the cancel account button.  Forum user is separate and still exists with no way of deleting it. Delete it admins. Do it, this ends now.
  • MadFrenchieMadFrenchie Member LegendaryPosts: 8,483
    Early access can be okay, it works for some titles. Others completely milk the status, and release it on EA, just to get a second chance upon "release" to get more players.

    I think that if the company is upfront with the status of the game at the moment, and have a development outline or some form of communication with the players who are currently playing, then it can work as a tool for devs to further development in the correct direction, who may not otherwise have that option (smaller studio or something).

    Otherwise it's used too often to bait people into buying unfinished products that may never be finished. I've bought quite a few Early Access games that have never been finished and I can't get refunds because it's been longer than 2 weeks. I liked the idea so I supported it, and got burned. 

    Speaking of which...  Do these EA devs provide review copies to folks like @BillMurphy when they decide to release EA?

    If not, that should be corrected.  If you're going to take in cash like it's released, you should he providing journalists review copies so they can help consumers make an educated choice upon EA release.
    Sometimes they provide review copies but from what I've seen they only provide it to people that will give them a positive review on steam. I think that was one of the reasons valve had to make it say when someone was given a free copy of the game on the reviews. 

    That's why I enjoy people on youtube or other sites that aren't afraid to say how the game actually is. 
    I don't completely trust the streamers as many seem more concerned with entertainment value than merely describing the experience.

    One of the reasons I think written reviews are better is because you don't have to worry about it being a 15-20 minute video you wanna keep folks interested in watching throughout; written reviews allow you to extrapolate more as gamers can skim or skip parts that don't interest them more easily than trying to scrubbing a YouTube video for points that are applicable.

    As such, I would feel more comfortable with someone like @BillMurphy or @TimEisen writing an article with a full review.
    UngoodTimEisen

    image
  • MadFrenchieMadFrenchie Member LegendaryPosts: 8,483
    Hashbrick said:
    I think there needs to be more rules to it, it should have to go through a review process to figure out where the game is at.  So that you don't get those games where you just walk around and gameplay is not even thought of yet.  Steam thinks it regulates that via refund policy, but in all honesty that's not going to work when the developer is "supposibly working on it".  There's few EA games that have crushed it most stay alive for a bit and abandon it when the money dries up.
    It used to go through a process where Valve reviewed it and gamers voted to see it added.  But Valve thought that was "too restrictive" for devs.

    image
  • NildenNilden Member EpicPosts: 2,896
    Most of the time except for some very rare occasions I think it's either an excuse to release absolute crap or a joke.

    Fortnite is in season 7 and is still in early access.

    ARK: Survival Evolved released DLC in Early Access. Atlas is in Early Access.

    LOL do I even have to mention DayZ?

    I'll tell you what. I do a value proposition vs state of the game. Watch a bunch of streamers, youtube videos,  and then try to make an educated guess on what I see is available. Forget potential, forget pre-orders, what do they have right now that they are offering?

    Even then I still give money to absolute crap and have been burned many times.

    Hell I put down $60 bucks on EQ:Next because I liked what I saw in Landmark and that crashed and burned.

    Very rarely is early access used to get a bare bones but functional game out to be worked on more by an indie studio. More often than not it's triple A (Jim Sterling voice) companies using it as a shield and excuse which is a joke. Considering none of these early access titles have trouble taking your cash in cash shops for half finished, broken, buggy messes. Somehow they get it working when it involves taking your money. Just not playing an actual game.


    "You CAN'T buy ships for RL money." - MaxBacon

    "classification of games into MMOs is not by rational reasoning" - nariusseldon

    Love Minecraft. And check out my Youtube channel OhCanadaGamer



  • ConstantineMerusConstantineMerus Member EpicPosts: 2,690
    Early access can be okay, it works for some titles. Others completely milk the status, and release it on EA, just to get a second chance upon "release" to get more players.

    I think that if the company is upfront with the status of the game at the moment, and have a development outline or some form of communication with the players who are currently playing, then it can work as a tool for devs to further development in the correct direction, who may not otherwise have that option (smaller studio or something).

    Otherwise it's used too often to bait people into buying unfinished products that may never be finished. I've bought quite a few Early Access games that have never been finished and I can't get refunds because it's been longer than 2 weeks. I liked the idea so I supported it, and got burned. 

    Speaking of which...  Do these EA devs provide review copies to folks like @BillMurphy when they decide to release EA?

    If not, that should be corrected.  If you're going to take in cash like it's released, you should be providing journalists review copies so they can help consumers make an educated choice upon EA release.
    Providing free copies to journalists is an attempt to receive some free Press. No one has ever done it so the consumers could be able to make an educated purchase, even if they have labeled as such. 

    I think we need proper labeling. And labels should have a set of standards attach to them. Early-access can be a great thing. But in my humble opinion, a game cannot adopt that label at any stage that the developers "feel" like it. Same applies to all those Alpha and Beta stages. This is why all the programmers here are pissed, because these words have lost all their meaning. 

    Obviously the developers themselves aren't capable of assigning the fair label to their product, since these labels have become means of marketing and everyone wants the bestest. 

    Is that up to the journalists? Maybe. They can obviously play an influential role. But if they'd want to take up on that role, they can't wait for free copies. And since they ain't going to be kind but fair instead, I doubt if they would be getting any. 

    Is it up to the platforms such as Steam and the rest? Maybe. But instead of tangling themselves in such a complicated task, they introduced a refund policy instead. And can't expect much more from them. 

    So, is it up to the players? Maybe. But they can't make an educated guess by through ads and marketing promotions alone - They have to practice patience now. By doing that, we are depriving ourselves from the sheer excitement of getting into an unknown adventure. 

    The seldom of right labels have increased the risk of that adventure. And it seems the citizens of the world are rather fine with it. Pity, but to each their own. 
    Constantine, The Console Poster

    • "One of the most difficult tasks men can perform, however much others may despise it, is the invention of good games and it cannot be done by men out of touch with their instinctive selves." - Carl Jung
    • Song of the Week: Blackfield by Blackfield from Blackfield (2005)
    • Currently Playing: Devil May Cry 1
    • Favorite Drink: Bruichladdich Black Art 5th 1992
    • Gaming Timeline: Arcade, Commodore 64, Amiga 500, SEGA, IBM, PS, PC, PS2, More PCs, PS3, Giant PC, PS4, No More PCs, PS4 Pro.
  • lahnmirlahnmir Member EpicPosts: 2,823
    Alpha/Closed Beta: testing during development
    Open Beta: stress test or free advertisement / timed demo
    Headstart: Getting into the full game early because of bought package or early adaptor
    Early Access: any of the above but without the actual testing part of Alpha/Closed Beta

    I don’t find it that confusing tbh.

    /Cheers,
    Lahnmir
    'the only way he could nail it any better is if he used a cross.'

    Kyleran on yours sincerely 


    But there are many. You can play them entirely solo, and even offline. Also, you are wrong by default.

    Ikcin in response to yours sincerely debating whether or not single-player offline MMOs exist...
  • ConstantineMerusConstantineMerus Member EpicPosts: 2,690
    lahnmir said:
    Alpha/Closed Beta: testing during development
    Open Beta: stress test or free advertisement / timed demo
    Headstart: Getting into the full game early because of bought package or early adaptor
    Early Access: any of the above but without the actual testing part of Alpha/Closed Beta

    I don’t find it that confusing tbh.

    /Cheers,
    Lahnmir
    Discussion isn't about open beta or headstart mate. Those are clear. But the rest; 

    You have to be precise in what you say, and you have to be precise in what you sell. When you are selling alpha/beta/early-access and just stating "during development" is completely meaningless now. It literally doesn't give out ANY information about the state of the product that you are selling besides that you are still working on it. 

    That sort of information is fine for the people who would treat stuff in black and white. They're either fine with WHATEVER state the game is in, or would AVOID any game pre-launch. Most people aren't like that, at least potentially. Give them precise information, and you'll have their money earlier and would receive much less complaints.
    MaurgrimMadFrenchie
    Constantine, The Console Poster

    • "One of the most difficult tasks men can perform, however much others may despise it, is the invention of good games and it cannot be done by men out of touch with their instinctive selves." - Carl Jung
    • Song of the Week: Blackfield by Blackfield from Blackfield (2005)
    • Currently Playing: Devil May Cry 1
    • Favorite Drink: Bruichladdich Black Art 5th 1992
    • Gaming Timeline: Arcade, Commodore 64, Amiga 500, SEGA, IBM, PS, PC, PS2, More PCs, PS3, Giant PC, PS4, No More PCs, PS4 Pro.
  • NildenNilden Member EpicPosts: 2,896
    Want to release a pre-alpha, buggy, broken, unoptimized, asset flip?

    No problem!

    Just call it Early Access.

    "You CAN'T buy ships for RL money." - MaxBacon

    "classification of games into MMOs is not by rational reasoning" - nariusseldon

    Love Minecraft. And check out my Youtube channel OhCanadaGamer



  • JeffSpicoliJeffSpicoli Member EpicPosts: 2,849
    I love early access, I can be a impatient person by nature so the prospect of getting my hands on a game a year or 2 early regardless of how much of a buggy mess it is is awesome, For ME. I Also love the idea that you get a game for 50-60% of the release price by buying into EA.  Iv been burned once or twice by EA with Devs abandoning their projects but in both cases with STEAMS AMAZING refund policy i was able to get my money back. 
    • Aloha Mr Hand ! 

  • MadFrenchieMadFrenchie Member LegendaryPosts: 8,483
    edited December 2018
    Early access can be okay, it works for some titles. Others completely milk the status, and release it on EA, just to get a second chance upon "release" to get more players.

    I think that if the company is upfront with the status of the game at the moment, and have a development outline or some form of communication with the players who are currently playing, then it can work as a tool for devs to further development in the correct direction, who may not otherwise have that option (smaller studio or something).

    Otherwise it's used too often to bait people into buying unfinished products that may never be finished. I've bought quite a few Early Access games that have never been finished and I can't get refunds because it's been longer than 2 weeks. I liked the idea so I supported it, and got burned. 

    Speaking of which...  Do these EA devs provide review copies to folks like @BillMurphy when they decide to release EA?

    If not, that should be corrected.  If you're going to take in cash like it's released, you should be providing journalists review copies so they can help consumers make an educated choice upon EA release.
    Providing free copies to journalists is an attempt to receive some free Press. No one has ever done it so the consumers could be able to make an educated purchase, even if they have labeled as such. 

    I think we need proper labeling. And labels should have a set of standards attach to them. Early-access can be a great thing. But in my humble opinion, a game cannot adopt that label at any stage that the developers "feel" like it. Same applies to all those Alpha and Beta stages. This is why all the programmers here are pissed, because these words have lost all their meaning. 

    Obviously the developers themselves aren't capable of assigning the fair label to their product, since these labels have become means of marketing and everyone wants the bestest. 

    Is that up to the journalists? Maybe. They can obviously play an influential role. But if they'd want to take up on that role, they can't wait for free copies. And since they ain't going to be kind but fair instead, I doubt if they would be getting any. 

    Is it up to the platforms such as Steam and the rest? Maybe. But instead of tangling themselves in such a complicated task, they introduced a refund policy instead. And can't expect much more from them. 

    So, is it up to the players? Maybe. But they can't make an educated guess by through ads and marketing promotions alone - They have to practice patience now. By doing that, we are depriving ourselves from the sheer excitement of getting into an unknown adventure. 

    The seldom of right labels have increased the risk of that adventure. And it seems the citizens of the world are rather fine with it. Pity, but to each their own. 
    Companies that refuse to allow the press to review per normal standards are usually noted.  I remember the review embargo stuff; it didn't go unnoticed.  Journalists don't have to schmooze; just report the fact that the game is coming out and refuses to give you a review copy and what that implies.  To me, that's as educational as BSing one's way through a review to ensure one isn't so harsh that devs start hesitating to allow one to review games.

    So I disagree with the assessment that journalists need to act leniently to maintain their position are journalists.  If a game company is so fearful of negative reviews that they refuse to provide review copies, that's a pretty strong implicit message in and of itself.

    You're also giving Steam a pass.  Wal-Mart has a refund policy, too, but they still curate their store.  As does pretty much every other store (including many digital stores).  This idea that Valve is justified in wringing their hands by offering refunds is an example of how warped the entire playing field is in this industry (hell, they could probably offset some or most of the cost of curation efforts if doing so reduced the number of refunds because, well, there aren't as many completely shit games being allowed to release there).  We literally throw up our hands in defeat at behavior that would likely prompt threats of lawsuits in other industries.  Hell, we saw it with the FO76 CE; as soon as a physical good was involved, threat of lawsuits naturally followed.  Funny how we arbitrarily treat the video game itself differently.

    image
  • WizardryWizardry Member LegendaryPosts: 16,446
    Oh no no it is more than simply FREE press,it is an attempt to gain an endorsement.Free press happens on it's own and besides that many devs now a days CHARGE the gamer for that press news>>>Blizzcon ...gaming expos.So they are not looking to give you free press news,they would rather hold back and have you pay to hear it,nope they are looking for clear cut endorsed advertising.

    Crazy Joe mentioned it when he gave Destiny 1 a huge fail,he said he did not expect to get his free copy of Destiny 2 when it came out.This is a KNOWN fact in this business,everyone rubbing each others back all together trying to DECEIVE the consumer while making a buck themselves.

    I still think Angry Joe is the ONLY legit reviewer on the planet because he will say what he wants and not worry about sponsors and $$,he just says it.All the rest are in it for $$$ and are VERY careful as to what and how they say things.

    To me it is VERY obvious when i am being fed bullshit.I have been around a very long time,i know how people talk casually to each other about all things in life,so when i read an article that does NOT sound like me and you talking with friends,i know it is a rubbish article.

    What i would do is take the two words 
    EARLY ACCESS and underneath insert every game and give them all a huge two thumbs down.


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

  • MendelMendel Member EpicPosts: 3,271
    I'm at an age where I couldn't get my own dream game development project funded, and am not about to fund someone else's dream project; I'm not an investor, I'm a game player.  I'm also not interested in testing and debugging someone else's project.  So, I look at Early Access (and crowdfunding campaigns in general) as an attempt to get me doing something I really don't want to do, with a product that (probably) isn't complete and finished, and pay for that 'privilege'.  So, EA is almost an immediate 'pass', at least until it's no longer listed as Early Access.

    Sorry, money is too tight to gamble on a game's future potential, that it may evolve into something I would like.  I need something a lot closer to a finished product that I can evaluate before I open the wallet.  I've been wrong plenty of times.  I've bought games that I didn't like.  I'm just trying to eliminate the impulse buying out of my personal game shopping habits.



    MadFrenchie

    Logic, my dear, merely enables one to be wrong with great authority.

  • WargfootYVWargfootYV Member UncommonPosts: 261
    The definition of the term 'Early Access' is meaningless.

    Regardless of the development state of the game why would you buy a game without reading some reviews, watching some YouTube videos, and otherwise doing a bit of research?  What I'm getting at is the development level is irrelevant if you know so little about the game as to not know how much has been completed.

    Any review will point out problems - it doesn't matter if those problems are early access (lack of development problems) or perhaps finished game elements you wouldn't enjoy.

    So if you don't know the state of the gaming going in that is on you.
    There is literally no excuse for a blind purchase these days.
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