Was Planetary Anihilators the final nail in the coffin for Early Access ?

Shpongled

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Zontar said:
I keep seeing people throwing around "investment" and "crowd funding", but the problem with that is, Early Access is not an investment any more then me buying groceries is. You are buying a product and that is all (and given that it's a game on Steam, technically it isn't even buying it outside of the EU).

Investment implies a return or possibility of return, which is a criteria Early Access does not meet without stretching the definition to encompass all purchases.

And crowd funding has no place on Steam. Steam is a retail outlet that has a forum and in-game item market attached to it. That isn't a place for showing unproven concepts that have no guarantee of working or ever bearing fruition. There's a place for that already, and it's called Kickstarter.
FUCK! HOLD UP A SECOND EVERYONE! SOMEONE GET GABE ON THE PHONE, HE DOESN'T EVEN KNOW WHAT HIS OWN COMPANY IS FOR!!!! LOL!!!!

Steam can be whatever the fuck it wants to be. No one crowned Zontar the Emporer of all things retail. Companies can and do branch out.

The investment is in the form of a game being made that you're (presumably) highly interested in being released in it's finished state. The investment is in your additional funds during the development phase of the game aiding the production of said game and ideally leading to a better game at the end of it.

This isn't hard to understand.

You point out random company X that abused Early Access as a reason to get rid of Early Access altogether, i point out random company Y that abused retail in general as a reason to get rid of retail altogether. And both of us just look stupid.

Captcha: oh sigh
 

DrOswald

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Zontar said:
Ed130 The Vanguard said:
Zontar said:
Did you mean Planetary Annihilation OP?

If so are you are essentially complaining that Uber and inXile didn't screw over the fans who got their respective projects off the ground by selling lower priced Early Access (which was at the exact same price as as Kickstarter in their own stores as well) just because some other less scrupulous Devs are using it as an excuse to jack up prices?
2 problems, first is the false equivalence between Steam and Kickstarter. Kickstarter is a crowd funding site for getting project off the ground which may or (in 95% of cases) may not ever get produced. Steam is a store, where you are either buying a product, or selling one.

Second is the fact that they started this practice and the only reason less scrupulous devs (though I'd gladly call Uber unscrupulous give how they handled MNC and SMNC) is because it worked despite all economic logic showing it should have failed.
You need to go back to school. Uber applied the well established economic principle of early adoption. Early adopters tend to pay a higher price for a less capable tech than the majority but also get the opportunity to shape the end tech and early access the tech early.

Your idea that they mismanaged the pricing structure of their game release is upside down. It is based on sound economic logic.
 

Zontar

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Shpongled said:
You point out random company X that abused Early Access as a reason to get rid of Early Access altogether, i point out random company Y that abused retail in general as a reason to get rid of retail altogether. And both of us just look stupid.
My argument was a little more complicated then that. Actually, it was a lot more complicated then that. It wasn't so much that random company X abused Early Access, but that random company X abused Early Access, made a large sum of money from it and now more companies are following their course, making a system that was already hard to justify (and which Valve has been open about the fact there is talk of killing it like they are Greenlight), and so now this shady practice is quickly becoming another anti-consumer cash grab by developers who (in all cases this has happened with so far) already have more then enough funding to finish their projects and defend the undefendable by hiding behind the wall of "it worked on that site that isn't a store, so it should be allowed to work here despite the fact that this is a store".

Call me pissed that games just went up 5$ in my country this month for bullshit reasons, but this is just another layer of prices going up at a massively faster rate then inflation.
 

Zontar

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DrOswald said:
You need to go back to school. Uber applied the well established economic principle of early adoption. Early adopters tend to pay a higher price for a less capable tech than the majority but also get the opportunity to shape the end tech and early access the tech early.

Your idea that they mismanaged the pricing structure of their game release is upside down. It is based on sound economic logic.
You have a point (I forgot simply because no one tends to use that rule for consumer goods like this one), but the mismanagement part of my comment was about the two games they already released and have been dead since before PA started development.
 

Ed130 The Vanguard

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Zontar said:
Well, I'm not claiming that isn't the case, only that it is what Uber has claimed on their own site.
Zontar said:
That's actually exactly what PA is in. It's pretty much finished, but it's in "Gamma" stage to keep the price 10$ more then retail.
You were saying?

Nowhere does Uber state "It's pretty much finished," hell some of the 'Gamma' feature are still being rolled out.

PA and Wasteland 2 both got far beyond their stated required funds on Kickstarter (and given how experienced the devs where, those estimates where probably close to the mark). A comparison to EA is almost appropriate in this situation, and given Uber's track record it actually is because it is proportionally much worst.
You're going to have to talk me through your logic here, because they got large amounts of cash from die-hard fans, they should pull a EA and screw them over? Because that is what you've been trying to say both directly and indirectly.

"it worked on that site that isn't a store, so it should be allowed to work here despite the fact that this is a store".
No.

Myself and others have not said that. What we have said in defense of PA is that due to Alpha Access being a high Tier in the Kickstarter they set the Early Acesss at the same level (and the same perks/rewards) to be fair.

That is a self-contained pricing structure which other developers in a similar situations involving Kickstarter tiers are perfectly fine following.
 

Ed130 The Vanguard

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Zontar said:
You have a point (I forgot simply because no one tends to use that rule for consumer goods like this one), but the mismanagement part of my comment was about the two games they already released and have been dead since before PA started development.
It would have been a better idea to have used those two 'games' as examples.
 

DrOswald

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MinionJoe said:
DrOswald said:
Early adopters tend to pay a higher price for a less capable tech ...
Because economies of scale are not yet in effect, resulting in higher production costs and unrefined technology.

Does not apply to non-tangible products.
The core motivation and logic of the consumer and the tech provider is identical.

On the consumer side early adopters of the tech (in this case software) get access to the early versions of the tech (in this case early builds) and they get the chance to shape the end tech (in this case the video game.)

On the developer side, they need money to develop the tech (in this case software) so they create and build an early, inferior version (an alpha) knowing full well that with the money they get from selling that version they can create a better version, which they can then sell and make a better version, etc.

It may be on a much smaller scale, but it is a textbook case of developing technology and early adoption. You can argue if applying the early adopter model to software is moral or not, but it is based on established economic principles.
 

Ticklefist

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Planetary Annihilation is certainly the game that got me to stand up and notice what was going on. In my opinion the situation has deteriorated even further since. I now only use Steam sparingly and with great reluctance. Very very different from how I viewed it one short year ago.
 

laggyteabag

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I don't mind early access, as long as the game that you put up is:
1) Working reasonably well and is somewhat stable.
2) Has a good amount of content currently working to make the price justified.
3) Has an ETA for when the game is going to be feature complete as well as transparency as to where the game currently is in it's development and what is coming up.

If a game does not satisfy any one of these points, then I believe that it should not be part of the Early Access program. There are a few horror stories out there of games where they entered into the Early Access program, and then after a few updates the game went dark and was no longer being updated. That is the huge downside to Early Access, that the developers can take your money over little more than a interesting idea and a tech demo, then ditch it and run after enough people have fallen for it. It really is a scary thought.
 

Shpongled

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Zontar said:
Shpongled said:
You point out random company X that abused Early Access as a reason to get rid of Early Access altogether, i point out random company Y that abused retail in general as a reason to get rid of retail altogether. And both of us just look stupid.
My argument was a little more complicated then that. Actually, it was a lot more complicated then that. It wasn't so much that random company X abused Early Access, but that random company X abused Early Access, made a large sum of money from it and now more companies are following their course, making a system that was already hard to justify (and which Valve has been open about the fact there is talk of killing it like they are Greenlight), and so now this shady practice is quickly becoming another anti-consumer cash grab by developers who (in all cases this has happened with so far) already have more then enough funding to finish their projects and defend the undefendable by hiding behind the wall of "it worked on that site that isn't a store, so it should be allowed to work here despite the fact that this is a store".

Call me pissed that games just went up 5$ in my country this month for bullshit reasons, but this is just another layer of prices going up at a massively faster rate then inflation.
Your development of your point doesn't really bring anything new to the table. Yes, once one company has pulled off a successful scam, others are likely to follow. That doesn't mean that every company is pulling off the same scam.

Besides, who is it that pulled off this scam that everyones copying now? PA seems to be the focus of your thread, but PA hasn't been released yet, and contrary to your own belief (divined seemingly from the alignment of the stars or perhaps the appearence of a crow on the 3rd day of March?) that it should have been released already, it isn't actually finished yet. They haven't even implemented the shit they were planning to do from the start, let alone anything else they can do with the large amount of extra money they've been given.

I won't go into the price point as that's been argued by others already, suffice to say that in business there are myriad variables that will influence what price points are decided upon, and in this case Uber decided that maintaining goodwill with early backers was more important to them than sales numbers during the development phase.

The only other example you provide that i know anything about is DayZ, and i find it absolutely fantastically mind-bogglingly hilarious that you call DayZ Early Access anti-consumer when the DayZ store page actually stronglyadvises people NOT to buy it until full release!

Won't speak on your other examples as i know little about them, but your portrayal of the DayZ and PA situations lead me to believe you don't know the details and aren't particularly bothered in any case.

So if you want to convince us that the entire concept of Early Access is merely an anti-consumer cash grab that started with one unscrupulouscompany and now is being followed by everyone else, you're going to have to provide some much better examples.

As for RRP of games in general... two completely seperate issues. Moan all you want, i still remember going into Electronic Boutiques (anyone remember them?) and buying my first N64 cart for the low low price of £45.
 

DrOswald

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MinionJoe said:
DrOswald said:
The core motivation and logic of the consumer and the tech provider is identical.
Agreed. I brushed up on my terminology and "early adopters" can be applied towards users of new software, but intangible goods do do not have "a higher price" for early adopters because there are no manufacturing costs.

And early adopter of, say, a brand new phone, can expect to pay more for the phone because the infrastructure for material supply and manufacturing has not been consolidated. Once production and supply lines become established, economies of scale allow the reduction of the price for subsequent users.

But the precedent for early software adoption is the "beta tester". Historically, this can either be a "closed beta", ie a company hires workers to test the new software, or "open beta", where the company accepts external volunteers to test the software. Unfortunately, the games industry has perverted the definition of "beta". As a result, early software adopters are now expected to pay premium prices in order to test software for a company.

On the developer side, they need money to develop the tech (in this case software) so they create and build an early, inferior version (an alpha) knowing full well that with the money they get from selling that version they can create a better version, which they can then sell and make a better version, etc.
Again, historically, developers raised capital for product development by securing lines of credit, investing personal assets, or selling shares of stock in the company. Now, customers are expected to take on what used to be the company's investment risk. In other words, if no viable product is produced, the company isn't out anything.

Kudos to the gaming industry for getting this so twisted around in their favor. They can now expect risk-free income and free software testing by selling unfinished products to "early adopters".
Just because the risky investment model is traditional does not make it automatically the best way to make games. Many games simply cannot get a traditional investment. The initial cost is too high to cover with personal assets, the risk is too great, or the concept to far out of the norm to secure funding. I don't see why it is unreasonable to purpose the idea to the public and seek artistic patronage to secure the funds to make your game. We do it with all other forms of art. Why not games?

And I don't see the problem with charging for an early product, even one in testing stages. Especially when the early product will automatically get updated to the better, later product as it becomes available. People are willing to pay money to be part of that process. It has value to them. I don't see why it is so immoral to let a person buy something that is of value to them. They know what they are getting into, it is very clear.
 

Sniperyeti

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You've cited a range of games doing early access in different ways as becoming 'standard practice', making you sound like you're completely against the idea regardless of whether or not it's done in a useful and valid way.

Galciv 3's 'double price early access' in fact consists of a copy of the game + a season pass to dlc, essentially making it a full pre-order. In addition the game grants access to alpha (a proper alpha designed for feedback, not to be "balanced nor fun"): http://forums.galciv3.com/452675.
There was also a cheaper 'early access' option at $10 less than retail price for beta. This again rather undercuts your complaint of increased price for the same product.
 

Savagezion

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Zontar said:
Adam Jensen said:
I don't know. But those people who bought into the idea of early access are quite naive. They don't seem to realize that if early access game is selling well and for more than the finished product would cost, developers have an incentive to keep it in the early access for as long as they're generating profit.
That's actually exactly what PA is in. It's pretty much finished, but it's in "Gamma" stage to keep the price 10$ more then retail.
Well, this actually shows a problem with consumers over developers. If I can more easily sell my product by hanging an "Out of Order" sign on it, are you going to blame me if I do despite the fact it works? It's like when I see people purposely ruin good furniture to make it look like antiques because people will pay more for the same furniture that way. Same for when people buy the more expensive brand of sugar. Imagine if consumers were willing to pay more for furniture if no coat of finish was applied. Would it then be wrong for a company to make no furniture with a coat of finish on it? Trust me, if you ever work in sales, you will find consumers will do stupid things with their money. Sometimes telling them the dumbest thing is what makes them hand over the cash. Sometimes, listing off logical pros to the purchase doesn't make the sale, insulting the president makes the sale. Why does my opinion on the president have anything to do with your purchase? That's why I left sales. I didn't like I was telling lies (not about the product or anything related to the sale itself) to make the sale.

I do think that many gamers see early access as something to shell out money for or see as something 'special' or 'rare' despite it spamming the market right now. On some crusade to help every indie or something. There are scenarios where this makes sense as a personal strategy but if its a crusade, its shortsighted. It could be seen as a way to "vote with your wallet" more directly. However, it also resembles gambling and 'a fool and his money will soon be parted'. (The fool will probably then go complain on message boards about it)

As far as the term investing goes, actual investing is smarter but this is more like "consumer investing" which is actually new and revolutionary for the entertainment market. You ever seen Video Game High School? You should check it out if not. Just google it.

I can understand frustration at consumers on this one, but I wouldn't doubt the market has always done stupid things in reaction to how stupid some people are with their money. It could be why EA, Microsoft, and Activision are so "out of touch" and claim that "consumers/gamers don't know what they want". I have to fault consumer habits on this one and not the developers. Apparently, many consumers would rather pay more for Early Access than less for a complete game. It is what it is.

MinionJoe said:
Again, historically, developers raised capital for product development by securing lines of credit, investing personal assets, or selling shares of stock in the company. Now, customers are expected to take on what used to be the company's investment risk. In other words, if no viable product is produced, the company isn't out anything.

Kudos to the gaming industry for getting this so twisted around in their favor. They can now expect risk-free income and free software testing by selling unfinished products to "early adopters".
That's a frightening perspective isn't it?
 

Madkipz

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Zontar said:
When Planetary Annihilators came out on Early Access, it damaged the system. There was, in a retail outlet, an unfinished product being sold for over double the price of the finished one months before the (4 months delayed and counting) release. Now if it had been the end of it, then nothing would have been a problem. Any system can take the strain of a loose cog.

But it didn't stop there. Where conventional wisdom about economics shows it should have been a failure which should have crashed and burned, despite all the logic behind it the fact that humans are irrational reared its ugly head and the game sold enough for Uber to not go out of business despite their inability to manage their money properly.

And like any price gouging which works, others emulated it. Wasteland 2, DayZ, Galactic Civilization III and a few smaller ones no one actually cares about, the practice is spreading.

And people are supporting it.

What happened to us? There was an outcry when PC games went from a standardized 50$ price tag to a 60$ one because of Call of Duty. It didn't stop us from buying the same games for more money, but there was at least some backlash. Now? Corporate apologists are saying "it's Early Access, it's a privilege to play it" or "they are just being fair to those who supported the kickstarter" as if those people would actually be upset by the game being made.

The practice is alive now, canonized as a standard practice. Will it stick? Will we see it die like it should? Or will we have to wait for when Early Access is shut down next year?
Nothing happened to us. People buy the hot and early stuff or they don't. In either chase you have to make a statement of why you need to care when it is perfectly tucked away into steams early access folder?

Just don't buy it before it is released.
 

Shpongled

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Savagezion said:
MinionJoe said:
Again, historically, developers raised capital for product development by securing lines of credit, investing personal assets, or selling shares of stock in the company. Now, customers are expected to take on what used to be the company's investment risk. In other words, if no viable product is produced, the company isn't out anything.

Kudos to the gaming industry for getting this so twisted around in their favor. They can now expect risk-free income and free software testing by selling unfinished products to "early adopters".
That's a frightening perspective isn't it?
Except it's not risk free by any stretch of the imagination. First the company has to develop their idea enough for it to gain enough traction to get on Steam. The company has to spend resources in marketing the game so people actually notice it. They have to spend the time getting a somewhat functional of the version to go on Early Access, and they have to make an effort in improving brand recognition and reputation. Finally, if the game does flop (or, knowing the gaming community nowadays, isn't perfect in every single possible manner) that company is just never going to see the light of day again because it will have lost the only source of funding it had; the fans.

There are a phenomenal number of risks associated with going through this route of funding. Yes, the consumer also faces risks, but these risks are offset by the fact they can have influence the end result.

The advantages of developers having to market their games to actual gamers, and not MBA corporate suits cannot be ignored either. The only reason the past 8 years of gaming has almost nothing but modern military first person shooter is because it's the suits who've been doing the funding and they only follow what worked for the last game. Finally gamers can actually have an influence on what games are getting necessary funding and all you fuckers do is continue to moan.
 

NuclearKangaroo

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i HATE when people fail to realize the reason why PA and Wasteland 2 are so expensive is because beta access was a high tier of the kickstarter campaign, if early access was cheap id screw over their backers


also what makes you think DAYZ is going to be less expensive at launch?


Galactic civilizations 3? it can go fuck itself, that price is simply ridiculous and they have to reason to price their game like that
 

NuclearKangaroo

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to some early access might seem exploitive, but i dont share that view, games like insurgency couldnt exist without it (the game failed on kickstarter, it completed its funding via early access), the game then gathered a reasonable critical and comercial success, also games like kerbal space pogram, DAYZ and Rust have managed to increase their scope thanks to the funds and following they have acquired via early access, as well as the community feedback, the end product will then be a much better product


some people cant wait to play a game, more power to them, some devs need the money, more power to them, some people want to grap a game cheap/some perks by buying the game early, more power to them

i will say it should be MANDATORY for early access games to be eventually released, i dont know if this aspect of the system can be exploited but if it can that should be addressed immediately, besides that, i dont see how the customer would lose anything, is not an inherently bad system like pre-ordering, the game will get released anyways, you can play a buggy unfinished version first, get a first taste of the game and influence its development, or not, and simply wait for the official release, like what im doing with xenonauts and project zomboid
 

Zontar

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NuclearKangaroo said:
i HATE when people fail to realize the reason why PA and Wasteland 2 are so expensive is because beta access was a high tier of the kickstarter campaign, if early access was cheap id screw over their backers
And if it was another funding campaign, that would be an argument. But for an actual store, it's not.
also what makes you think DAYZ is going to be less expensive at launch?
the announcement for the game claimed it would be the price range. I wouldn't really be as ticked about that if he (the dev) at least gave a reason for the difference between what he said the price would be and what it was.
Galactic civilizations 3? it can go fuck itself, that price is simply ridiculous and they have to reason to price their game like that
Wait, is this one a comment for or against GC3 being 100$? And is against, why is GC3 being wrong by selling for 100$ but PA not for selling at 120$ when it was Alpha?