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

NuclearKangaroo

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ResonanceSD said:
We can only hope so. Early Access is just a complete cancer on Steam, and needs to be done away with. You gain absolutely nothing from playing an unfinished copy of a game, other than paying for the privilege of being a Beta Tester.

Vivi22 said:
People who are interested in a game get to help fund it's development, and play it before final release, and the people developing the game get much needed funds to devote to full time development.

Kickstarter's gaming section exists for this reason alone. Valve is losing the market position as operating a storefront for high quality games when nearly every EA title is mediocre (at best).
so what about insurgency? the HL2 turned standalone, it failed a kickstarter, but it managed to fund itself via early access, and has enjoyed a reasonable comercial and critical success

and what about Kerbal Space Program? thanks to the early access program the game managed to gather a lot of attention and increase its scope, even catching NASA's attention


early access is far from the cancer of steam, you might not enjoy it, but there people out there who want to play a game early and are willing to bear a few bugs for that, i mean how many times have you heard the words "oh man i cant wait to play it!"

early access games also allow players to shape game mechanics before release and many early access titles offer lower price points or perks as rewards for early adopters

also considering early access games such as DAYZ, Rust and Starbound have sold millions i dont think Valve is losing any position, id even argue the opposite is happening, as all these new publishing options can only attract more devs
 

Guitarmasterx7

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I don't know, honestly it's ridiculous to me that people are still falling for it. I was one of the early adopters of minecraft and absolutely hated it, so ok, maybe I'm not the best guideline for the general consensus, but after that experience I never purchased an early access game again, though I've tried a couple free ones (IE Smite.)

Seriously though, I've been hearing absolutely nothing but bad things about early access games from people like totalbiscuit and jim sterling. A slew of horror stories about games like "The War Z" surface on the internet every time a new one comes out. Most of the time I only know these games exist because of it being exposed as a fucking scam by critics and reviewers more popular than the game itself.

So again it begs the question of why. I guess one could argue that more casual internet users may not have heard of someone like totalbiscuit, but if that's the case how do they know about obscure shit like "Day 1 Garry's incident?" Is there confirmation that people are even buying these games? Or do they just exist and we're assuming people are buying them?

Hell maybe everyone buying these are people who haven't burnt their tongue on it yet and now that they have this practice will fizzle out and die. That's the hope anyways. What's more likely to me is that people are dribbling at the crotch for anything "indie" and are so desperate for anything "indie" to be good that they willingly gobble up shit and then defend it because it isn't mainstream. People saw there were profits to be made from indie games and ruined the market for everyone.

If these early access games continue to sell, this will just be the way it is. The only way it could be stopped is if Valve itself intervenes and instates some form of quality control on steam. Valve has always at least put forth the appearance of integrity, but if these games continue to sell on steam, scam or not that's money for Valve. I wouldn't hold my breath for them to do anything about it if the market doesn't sort it out naturally.
 

raeior

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Zontar said:
Though I could be wrong, I'll entertain that idea. I'm still pissed off that the price of games in my country just rose this month, and this was already a pissoff, and then there was the disaster with X:Rebirth which killed my favorite franchise. I'll admit I could be wrong.
So just imagine X Rebirth would have been released as early access. You could have waited for reviews of others to decide if it's worth your money or not and probably would have come to the conclusion "nope not in a million years". Instead you got a game for full price that was essentially in alpha state (neither feature complete nor anywhere close to bug free). This "you get a buggy release that's nowhere near completion" is not just a problem of early access obviously, but those games at least tell you up front that they are unfinished (yet). You have the possibility of gathering information about the game and the developers and can decide "okay will I trust them and is this game worth the current price?". It the answer is no, you saved money and maybe can come back at a later time to have a look at it again. If the answer is yes, you might get the game you wanted..or you might get bitten and it is never finished but that risk is the same if you preorder something or buy a game even after seeing the reviews and thinking "Well they might patch it..".

X Rebirth being early access might have also prevented some of the "The game is perfect everyone claiming it is not is just part of a vocal minority" bullshit Bernd Lehahn has said several times. Ideally this "vocal minority" would also have had a larger say in how the game turned out. Or they could have released it as early access for 90$ because "support us", taken all the money and then flee to the Bahamas never to be seen again which is obviously also a possibility. Although Egosoft might be a bad example because they used the concept of early access long before the term was known in basically all their releases. Only difference is that they claimed those games to be finished titles and marketed them as such.

All in all I think early access is mostly a positive thing although I will happily admit that it's going too far if publishers like EA or the like start to early access Battlefield or something like that.
 

Zontar

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raeior said:
I actually didn't buy it, for the very reasons you listed. I haven't pre-ordered a game since I got burned with Modern Warfare 2, and given what has happened since that was a tame example of it being at least a functional game that multiplayer gamers could enjoy. I was pissed at the game because I loved that franchise and it killed it.

The only examples of Early Access being done right are games which are functionally finished and could still be released in their current state and price without protest. That is what Early Access should be, not 'pay now, get the game later'. Though it would be nice if for those games there was at least a timetable.
 

shrekfan246

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Amir Kondori said:
shrekfan246 said:
I doubt it, mostly because Early Access has been digging its grave for a long time with the complete lack of oversight on the developers putting out their unfinished games.

GalCiv III isn't even in the top 30 sellers on Steam at the moment (it's at 31, at least if the list is organized chronologically as it should be, which is just above things like Counter-Strike: Source and Dark Souls: Prepare to Die Edition). So I'd say most people have a good enough hand on their wallets to avoid something being sold at $100. I mean, it arguably offers an incentive in the way of providing all future expansions as well, but yeah, it's Early Access, it's going to be a long time until the base game is even out.

And DayZ is being sold at half the price of a normal AAA game. I would struggle a bit to say this is now a "standard" practice. Three games, four if you're making a stretch, hardly makes it a "standard". It's not a good practice, but I can't imagine people are going to support $100 USD games in enough numbers for it to become a viable asking price. And if they do, well, then there isn't really anything you or I can do about it, unfortunately.
Galciv III is actually sitting at 28, which for an Early Access game selling for $99 is amazing. Early access is here to stay, and that is a good thing, I promise. In 5 years people won't even question it. As long as the games get final releases people will be happy with the system.
Do I really have to specify that I meant "at the time of writing"?

So it moved up three spots in a day, great for it.

As long as the games get final releases people will be happy with the system.
This is the entire problem though, because there's absolutely zero guarantee that they will. As far as I know, not a single game released under the Early Access banner has had a "full" final release yet, and more than a few of them have already long passed the dates they were originally going to release.

Wait, I believe Betrayer was on Early Access at one point, so maybe that makes one. That's still an extremely low percentage.
 

ResonanceSD

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Ed130 The Vanguard said:
ResonanceSD said:
We can only hope so. Early Access is just a complete cancer on Steam, and needs to be done away with. You gain absolutely nothing from playing an unfinished copy of a game, other than paying for the privilege of being a Beta Tester.

Vivi22 said:
People who are interested in a game get to help fund it's development, and play it before final release, and the people developing the game get much needed funds to devote to full time development.

Kickstarter's gaming section exists for this reason alone. Valve is losing the market position as operating a storefront for high quality games when nearly every EA title is mediocre (at best).
So what? Alpha's and the like get cut off from one of the most effective and easy (for both Devs and customers) ways of updating and installing the game?
Hell Yes. You want to get access to the premier distribution platform in all of gaming? Release a finished product.
 

Savagezion

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Shpongled said:
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.
Naw, fuckers like me just think about perspectives and possibilities from all over the industry. Not just the devs, just the consumers, or just my own personal interests. Early Access is revolutionary. If you think stuff isn't going to evolve and change from the current system, you ain't thought about this long enough. Early Access is money and games are a business. That particular revolution has only just begun, it isn't over and the storm isn't calm. Hell, digital distribution has been getting revolutionized for ten years. Good models and shit models are thrown at the public to see what sticks. It is the crazy ass market out there that is setting the precedents too. You can't say "oh well if it is shit people won't support it" because yeah they will. They supported killing expansion packs in favor of DLCs because "game devs would never dice up a game and sell it in pieces". People make companies out to be noble and heroic, not businesses whose existence is based on cashflow.

Early Access overall is a good thing right now for sure. It has tons of potential, so long as the market don't fuck it up like it did for the most part with DLCs vs. expansion packs. Early Access isn't the only hope or viable strategy for indie devs though. It is not the answer to our prayers. It is rapidly becoming a business model. For companies that CAN publish a game without Early Access, Early Access isn't really bringing anything to the table for anyone. Not to knock CoD fans but I wouldn't be surprised if CoD took an advance on its profits by allowing Early Access to squeeze a few more dimes out of it to test the waters within the next 3 years. (Get next years profits today) To acknowledge that this could be used as a risk free profit generator isn't ludicrous. It's a possible point of view. I find it pretty frightening towards the AAA market. You know the ones that release full games at retail price. I would like to see more indies release full games at retail price.

An arguement could be made that they can't because of the costs (studios first or second games) but why would a dev ever try to make it on their own moeny when they can do their next game with early access get "indie cred" and be 'risk free'? Suddenly it is the consumer's responsibility to keep people in business because the business owners don't want the burden of it. "Nice team, good work. We made $20m and kept cost at under $2m. Let's do another Kickstarter/Early Access game and keep this $18m for ourselves" People do stuff like that.

EDIT:
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
This part right here shows the risk of anyone with a dream. Actress, Singer, etc. The only risk you describe is investing your own resources in yourself to access Early Access. That risk is your own risk for chasing a dream and is probably impossible to remove. Make a crude game and advertise it. That is only 1 risk. 1 game is 1 risk. How much of a risk is up to you. How much do YOU plan to invest to get others to also invest and share risk for your monetary reward?

If this company never sees the light of day again, it gave up. There is a sea of early access games out there. Try again. Trying nowdays is MUCH cheaper than ever before. Risk is at an all time low because the market is hungry for new ideas.
 

Ed130 The Vanguard

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MinionJoe said:
"To keep it fair for the backers..."

And no one thinks the backers have been screwed over already?

Paying $100+ to test incomplete code and for the "privilege" of giving early development feedback.

When I give my feedback to Taco Bell, they give me a free taco. I don't have to pay them to accept my opinions.
And Taco Bell doesn't have to do jack post questionnaire either.

Kickstarter (and to a lesser extent Early Access) is there for those crazy people who want X to be made and are willing to (literally) put their money where their mouths are.

The amount of money received and the rewards given (including Alpha and Beta access) is up to the Developers.
 

Ed130 The Vanguard

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MinionJoe said:
Ed130 The Vanguard said:
And Taco Bell doesn't have to do jack post questionnaire either.
Would you mind rewording this for me, please? I'm not understanding what you're saying. Thanks!
And Taco Bell doesn't have to do jack all post-questionnaire either.

Amazing what one dash does to a sentence. 'Jack' is slang for nothing, normally used 'by me anyway' as short-hand for jack shit.
 

Eve Charm

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I think Early access was always the way to deal with the ever growing mentally of " I'll buy it when it's half off or 75% off in 4 months" An early access game never really needs to go on sale, since it's still not even out and finished yet, but everyone expects all normal games to get a weeklong deal or a weekend deal every few months, and then show up at a fraction of the price on the next steam sale or interested customers start screaming on the forum for deals.

Early access is just seeming like " we can sell this at full price and up for as long as we want now"

where a game like nuclear throne would have been 75% off by now your still paying extra if you want it for early access.
 

Zontar

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Eve Charm said:
I think Early access was always the way to deal with the ever growing mentally of " I'll buy it when it's half off or 75% off in 4 months" An early access game never really needs to go on sale, since it's still not even out and finished yet, but everyone expects all normal games to get a weeklong deal or a weekend deal every few months, and then show up at a fraction of the price on the next steam sale or interested customers start screaming on the forum for deals.

Early access is just seeming like " we can sell this at full price and up for as long as we want now"

where a game like nuclear throne would have been 75% off by now your still paying extra if you want it for early access.
But Early Access games have gone on sale on a regular basis. Hell, I'm surprised the Uber apologists didn't start their own shitstorm back during the Winter sale when PA went 40% off, completely dispelling the idea that the price was to be 'fair to the kickstarters'.
 

Amir Kondori

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shrekfan246 said:
Amir Kondori said:
shrekfan246 said:
I doubt it, mostly because Early Access has been digging its grave for a long time with the complete lack of oversight on the developers putting out their unfinished games.

GalCiv III isn't even in the top 30 sellers on Steam at the moment (it's at 31, at least if the list is organized chronologically as it should be, which is just above things like Counter-Strike: Source and Dark Souls: Prepare to Die Edition). So I'd say most people have a good enough hand on their wallets to avoid something being sold at $100. I mean, it arguably offers an incentive in the way of providing all future expansions as well, but yeah, it's Early Access, it's going to be a long time until the base game is even out.

And DayZ is being sold at half the price of a normal AAA game. I would struggle a bit to say this is now a "standard" practice. Three games, four if you're making a stretch, hardly makes it a "standard". It's not a good practice, but I can't imagine people are going to support $100 USD games in enough numbers for it to become a viable asking price. And if they do, well, then there isn't really anything you or I can do about it, unfortunately.
Galciv III is actually sitting at 28, which for an Early Access game selling for $99 is amazing. Early access is here to stay, and that is a good thing, I promise. In 5 years people won't even question it. As long as the games get final releases people will be happy with the system.
Do I really have to specify that I meant "at the time of writing"?

So it moved up three spots in a day, great for it.

As long as the games get final releases people will be happy with the system.
This is the entire problem though, because there's absolutely zero guarantee that they will. As far as I know, not a single game released under the Early Access banner has had a "full" final release yet, and more than a few of them have already long passed the dates they were originally going to release.

Wait, I believe Betrayer was on Early Access at one point, so maybe that makes one. That's still an extremely low percentage.
I don't care about time of writing, whether 30 or 28, for an Early Access title selling for $99 that is really good.

Second, Early Access is very new, of course few games have gone gold yet. Minecraft took years to hit a full, non-beta release.

People don't like change, and things like this scare people, but really, this is a good thing. Do not buy an Early Access game if you don't want to, it is that simple. In the meantime those who want to be involved with the early development will and they will assume that risk that a full release might not happen or that they won't like the way the game ends up.
 

Adeptus Aspartem

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In the beginning all the crowdfunding options sounded so swell. Nowadays i couldn't care less about them. Dabbled in diffrent genres and sizes of games had got some burns and some profit out of it.

But i just don't see why i have to spend my money on unfinished products and then hope it'll be awesome in the end in 1 out of a bunch of my hobbies.
More and more it looks like another scrummy money-grab from the industry. Hell, i don't even back up Star Citizen and i'd probably cut off 3 of my fingers to play a spiritual-succsesor of Freelancer in my lifetime again.

Also i've seen 2 problems with crowdfunding. 1. You're an "investor" with no rights. "Thanks for the money, now gtfo" basically. 2. On the other hand some companies just listen to their fans way to much - biggest culprit i still have in mind after all these years were Stardock with "Demigod". Good god the forum-goers killed that game with "balance" suggestions.
Basically, legally you're just a piggy bank and sometimes the dev actually tries to let the piggy bank do his work - and both sucks.
 

Zontar

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Amir Kondori said:
Minecraft took years to hit a full, non-beta release.
Minecraft is one of the only (not few, only, there are 4 examples of it at best) examples of Early Access done right, and for a reason almost no genre of game can pull off. It was finished from the start. Despite all the numbers for build and tags like "Alpha" and "Beta", the game was released done. They could have stopped adding content at any moment, and with how much there was coupled with how much you paid, there was never going to be complaints about it had development just stopped.

The only other example I can think of which pulled this off was KSP.

This is the way Early Access can work that doesn't screw over the customer if the company fails (and if it's a company releasing on Early Access, that's a very real possibility).

A simple litmus test for if an Early Access game is worth even being on the market is this: if the game was released in its current state for its current price, would you still buy it?

If the answer is no, then it fails like almost all the other games on EA which mostly glorified spam on the frontpage.
 

Ranorak

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shrekfan246 said:
This is the entire problem though, because there's absolutely zero guarantee that they will. As far as I know, not a single game released under the Early Access banner has had a "full" final release yet, and more than a few of them have already long passed the dates they were originally going to release.

Wait, I believe Betrayer was on Early Access at one point, so maybe that makes one. That's still an extremely low percentage.
I'm like 99% sure that StarDrive was a Early Access game and has now been fully released.

But I do have to agree, the inherent risk of things like Kickstarter and Early Access is that you might invest in something that will never be finished.
 

Carnagath

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shrekfan246 said:
And DayZ is being sold at half the price of a normal AAA game.
Still 5 times more than it deserves though, given its condition. With the amount of problems DayZ has, from broken interaction with everything and everyone, fundamental engine problems, zombies being walking teleporting glitches that can hit you from 50 yds away and the constant rubber-banding of everything that isn't nailed down, I don't even see how they can even begin to fix it. I mean, WarZ is a scam-game, and it's 10 times more polished than DayZ. I feel that watching DayZ develop is like watching an old Derek Smart game develop. You know he's trying to fix it, but the problems are so massive that they are beyond repair.
 

Schadrach

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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?
In the case of Planetary Annihilation and Wasteland 2, they did it for a very specific reason rather than general price gouging. They both started as Kickstarter projects in which access to early alpha or beta versions of the game was a pledge reward for higher pledge tiers. They are running their alpha/beta testing through Steam, and opened it up to early access *at the same price you would have pledged to get access at that point if you pledged in the Kickstarter*. Either they did that, they didn't open it to early access at all (which is leaving potential money on the table), or they piss off Kickstarter backers. So, should they have been fair to backers (by either keeping the current scheme or not putting it on early access and ran a strictly limited steam alpha/beta) or have had a cheaper early access price (in which case we'd be talking about the ripoff of them charging more for alpha/beta access during the Kickstarter but opening it up to everyone cheaper anyways)?

The talk of sales rankings made me wonder about something: Do Steam codes handed out (rather than sold on Steam) effect sales rankings? For example, do Humble Bundles effect the placement in Steam sales rankings, despite not being sold through Steam?