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Early Access Discussions

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TotalBiscuit, The Cynical Brit ------------------------------ What do you all think of the "Early Access" trend and the flood of titles on Steam that want you paying for Alpha's/Beta's rather than signing up for free copies to test?

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    I very much agree with TotalBiscuit. If I don't like something I'm simply going to boycott it and find something else that's fun to occupy me. Finding something fun to play is anything but hard these days.
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    The thing about Early Access that completely blows my mind - is these developers selling a Single Player product in this state. Like, I just don't understand that. Now I personally only will purchase Early Access games that show that they have quite a bit of content for their multi-player. Which to this moment, has only been Starbound. The rest though I'm skeptical of - and I will not invest in it. Contagion, looks interesting - but people have been complaining about the lack of content for players to play - without the SDK files, it's all left in that state until the developer provides. Not paying into that. It's just another shitty trend in digital distribution. We used to get full games on release for the $50-60 price tag, then we'd wait 2+ years for a ground-breaking/game rejuvenating expansion pack. Now developers are purposely cutting content out of the final product just so they can sell it as DLC. We used to get free'ish access to alpha/betas, now we apparently have to pay entirely for the game. The entire point of a beta for me was that I would be able to try the game first, almost like a demo - and if I enjoyed the game, I could get involved with improvements and bug squashing. Back to the question of how I feel? Frustrated, and disgusted.
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    This man said everything about what's really going on in the Steam Store showing 'unfinished' games, aka Early Access. I'll talk my experience with a Early Access game from the same company that made Zombie Panic Source, a HL2 modification - Contagion, from Monochrome LLC. I have been playing ZPS since 2009 and watching every updates/patchs they made by this far, and when they told us that they were making one idle game - that was in 2011 - i started to watch their game too if would be just a ZPS 2 ( since they couldn't make 'money' in a mod {don't add new features in the mod since they could add it in their new upcoming idle game} or would be totally different from ZP:S but with a good tasty to ZP fans while playing 'Contagion'. That means, i have always watching their work, their gameplay videos and FAQ from the game if would be good to buy it or not. Monochrome have been recently creating 'give-aways' of their game, that went to the Kickstarter in the last year - if the people donate to KickStarter, they would receive some cool stuff and etc depending the amount of the donation - and then got released on Steam as an Early Access game in final weeks of Oct. SO, i took my conclusion of the game after getting it free (since i'm from the Dev of the ZPS) and i would say: "I would buy this game for myself again and give to one friend". And that's what i did. Since i watched their 'changelog', videos/game-plays, read reviews and stuff. I get more into on what were going on in the 'Contagion'. I know, and the Youtuber guy said correct, would come with bugs/exploits in-game and that's why the Devs are always making updates coming with changes/fixes and add new features. Of course, on my side i 'informed' (dunno if is the correct word) more about the game before buying it. Even if i weren't from the Dev team, as i said before, i would buy the game since i liked what they did on their first idle game after a free HL2 mod. IF their game wasn't too good, i would wait until the final release version. I'm not a crazy customer that bought everything that i think it looks 'cool' in the trailer. I like to spend my money correctly. That's why too i have only 80 games at the moment, only games that i loved and for the right Team that made the game. He's right too - Steam should force the Devs give more information about the game, no more words to say about it, i just agree with what he said what Steam should do about these "EA" games. EDIT: Btw, i read the reviews from people that own the game too before buying it. That's very helpful. And it's good when these people updates their reviews with the frequently updates the games gets from Devs. And btw, just a sidenote - wow, 104 games in Early Access? Wow... i'm surprised.
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    I agree mostly with TB although I feel that he skipped a large points, which is that games like Minecraft and Starbound seem to function perfectly with the early access system. Minecraft is surely the most successful Early Access game ever, mainly because it was a thoroughly enjoyable game to play even in it's earliest phases and each update created new things to do, rather than pushing it towards a set finish that was in the developers mind. Early access should be a way of gathering feedback and working on improvements and not just letting people play your game as you work towards a finished product. As an example, Prison Architect is doing it pretty well, slowly developing the game with tons of feedback and ideas from the community, although it is kinda odd that put an early access game on discount.
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    Here's my thoughts. Alpha \ Beta versions are usually full of bugs so they should be free. Free attracts people and if the game's good, you'll collect a sizeable crowd for it and at the dame time have people bug-test the game. You can gather feedback on the game which is always a good thing. People suggest stuff and you can even get some cool ideas, ideas that you might have missed out on. If you want to make Early Access paid, then you should also pay the Game Testers in return, after all, Testing is also an important phase in development of any software, whether it be game or utility. Finally, you can be sure when the Final version is released, people will come to buy it. Just make sure that the final version is stable and it has more features and content from the Beta plus lots of cosmetic enhancements :D. Nowadays the problem is, people just don't care about anything except the money.
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    > **Posted by Sebhael** > Now developers are purposely cutting content out of the final product just so they can sell it as DLC. Not true. This is a common mistake that people make, but it's simply not true. It's too late and I'm off to bed in a min. so I won't go into details, but 80% of all DLC content is developed after the game is made.
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    It's definitely a dick move to do to your targeted consumers since usually public alphas and betas are free to participate in order to gather information and make the best game you can... at least they should be anyways. However as TotalBiscut stated numerous times it is your choice as a consumer to buy into these alphas and betas. To me as a gamer it's not exactly fair to begin with seeing as how you're charging actual money for these unfinished games to the mass public! Especially if your game has a great idea/concept behind it like how minecraft did some years ago. Which I did purchase while it was still in alpha form but at least the damn thing had all it's basics down as well as consistent and quick updates. Looking at games such as the DayZ standalone and RUST which both seem to be far from finished it's hard to imaging the developers charging $20 for it. That being said I can see why they would/have to charge for their betas, developing games costs money! You could put out a free public beta but then you would have to rely on people pre-purchasing which I would assume most people like me won't do especially if we have the free beta to play around in until it's actual release. I'd imagine devs struggle and work their asses off until release day comes but, then again who knows when that could come what with delays due to huge bugs that need to be fixed at crucial times and such. I've seen games that have just exited existence due to having no money in the bank to pay for their building, servers, developers, etc. especially if they're just starting out. It's a tough business and you live and die by your fan base if you can even accumulate one to begin with. So the early access business model is great to keep things running. Sadly as with most things people exploit the system for their own personal gain like adverts that include risque content in order to sell you something because sex sells. Currently a developer can make a half-assed game and throw it up for early access and make a fucking killing off of it. Like the DayZ standalone or RUST have been doing but, they are also still working on it. Other early access games on the other hand are just milking it for every penny they can get and have no intention of finishing it any time soon if not at all. Sadly they aren't entitled to actually see it through because so what if people have purchased it they don't owe anything to you. They can go off and use that money to fund a different project and leave the other one up as early access and it will still create revenue. It's becoming a business model and a working one at that. It's up to the consumers to stand up and say "No I'm not going to buy an unfinished game!" because if we keep buying into it then others will follow. This could quite possibly become the norm if we keep supporting it. TL;DR Shit's stupid
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    I dont like it, and i havent bought anything for early access except for Payday 2, which i still think is a great game
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    Pre-release = throw a lot of money for early access/ early free DLC; After release = expect the price went down because of not popular game (or other reason)
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    99.9% Agreed with TotalBiscuit's opinion. He pretty much covered everything there is to cover about Early Access games in that video, a must watch for all gamers.
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