There are plenty of games that are being sold as Early Access that could be considered full, playable games. Minecraft was in a very basic state when it was first available compared to the feature set it has now.Zontar said: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.Amir Kondori said:Minecraft took years to hit a full, non-beta release.
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.
In any case there is a very simple solution if you don't like Early Access games which doesn't impede others who like being a part of the early development of games. Do not buy any Early Access games. Don't buy Rust, don't buy Day Z, don't buy Kerbal Space Program, don't buy Starbound, don't play Hawken (what do you feel about free to play games that are Early Access?).
Early Access games are very well labelled. They have a big blue label, they spell out they are not complete products and are still in development, no one is getting fooled here. If you don't like it, don't buy it. Because that is the only solution I think you are going to have, Early Access has just kind of exploded, go take a look at their Early Access section, it is filled with games, many of them look like they could be some really neat games. Personally, when I buy an Early Access game, I know I am taking a small risk that the game may either not get finished or may end up not how I hoped it would. That is why I rarely buy Early Access titles. Still I am glad the program exists, because it is allowing money to come in and help fund the completion of indie projects that otherwise might not have been as polished.