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Question: Do you pay to play "early access" games on Steam?
All the time, I love getting in early! - 3 (11.1%)
Occasionally, if it's a game I'm really interested in - 11 (40.7%)
Occastionally, depending on the genre. - 1 (3.7%)
Not very often - 6 (22.2%)
Never - 6 (22.2%)
Total Voters: 27

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Author Topic: Steam "Early Access"...do you do it?  (Read 427 times)
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Gratch
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« on: February 18, 2014, 04:15:48 PM »

I'm curious how many folks pay for games in order to get early access.  I've never done it, as the idea of actually paying to beta test an unfinished game seems silly to me, especially for single player games.  If I know that they're going to constantly be tweaking/revising/changing/balancing/adjusting/adding content/etc. before release, why would I want to jump into an early version then have to replay it in order to see the "latest and greatest"?  My gaming time is at far too high a premium to be spending it on incomplete games.

I don't really get it, but am sure there are other schools of thought out there.
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wonderpug
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« Reply #1 on: February 18, 2014, 04:20:40 PM »

I do it quite often, and generally I look at how fun the game is to play in its current state of development.

Prison Architect is a prime example of what you're worried about.  I know plenty of folks are enjoying it as-is, but for me there are still too many components missing and I'm just waiting for full release instead of playing any early builds anymore.

But Starbound and Kerbal Space Program are great examples of the other side of the spectrum.  They both already feel like full games.  Rather than feeling like I'm playing an unfinished game, it feels like I'm playing a full release that keeps getting regular new expansion packs and DLC added.  Don't Starve is another good example.  The line between pre-release and release seems kind of arbitrary.  It felt like a complete game pre-release even though he kept adding more stuff, and here at full release he continues to add more stuff.
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Caine
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« Reply #2 on: February 18, 2014, 05:09:59 PM »

Done it with a few so far.  Starbound, StarDrive, 7 Days to die, State of Decay, Kerbal and Doorkickers. 

Starbound and State of Decay were basically fully playable and while both added features, they were stable.  7 Days and Doorkickers have added quite a few features and Kerbal seems to be as well (haven't played it beyond the tutorials).  I haven't spent anything on early beta stage games like Spacebase DF-9 where most features aren't present.  I did get Doorkickers before the price increase because it looks like they are on a good path to completing it. 

so far, I don't feel like I've been burned yet.   
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Travis
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« Reply #3 on: February 18, 2014, 05:14:55 PM »

For single player, I don't see the point really.  I would rather experience the game and story as it was meant to be played/told.  It would be like reading a script to a movie and then going and seeing it.  I feel that some of the impact would be lost and I would have spoiled the experience.

For MMORPG's and other constantly changing games, I can see the fun in being involved in that development and since the game is persistent/not really ending I see it as not really spoiling the experience.
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EngineNo9
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« Reply #4 on: February 18, 2014, 06:23:35 PM »

I'm happy to do it for games where the existing features are compelling (Minecraft), the game is essentially feature complete and feels like any updates are just polish (State of Decay) or for a game that I really want to support despite being early (Bugbear's Next Car Game).

That said, there are games I'm definitely interested in but want to wait for them to develop more before I jump in, like Spacebase DF-9 or Sir You Are Being Hunted.  I even own a few from Kickstarter that I haven't played yet because I'm waiting for the complete or near complete game before firing it up.
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Lordnine
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« Reply #5 on: February 18, 2014, 08:11:58 PM »

Occasionally but itís mostly limited to games that are being developed by companies that have a good track record.
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Greg Wak
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« Reply #6 on: February 18, 2014, 11:45:01 PM »

Never. I want my games feature complete and I wait for them to drop quite a bit in price as well.
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jztemple2
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« Reply #7 on: February 19, 2014, 12:59:23 AM »

I'd have to say more than occasionally, although I do regret it at times. I got spoiled by Kerbal Space Program and Prison Architect; I keep expecting all alphas to be as interesting as they are in such preliminary stages.
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Blackjack
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« Reply #8 on: February 19, 2014, 06:09:24 PM »

I avoid Early Access stereotyping. Some games in early access clearly are crude alphas with some promise of enhancements/improvements over time. Some are pretty polished games where you only get to play a small-medium chunk of the game. Some are kickstarter projects that have been around quite a while and moved into Steam Early Access to get feedback from a wider player base.

I always see Steam forum posts bellyaching about not wanting to be "unpaid beta testers," but the reality is a lot of the early access projects are by smaller teams and dev houses that can't afford a large, professional testing team. And God knows we've all played lots of half baked $59.99 msrp release games that play as if nobody tested them at all. Nobody's forced to play early access, so I'd steer clear if the whole "playing something that's not done yet" angle ticks one off.

Have been extremely pleased with playing these games during Early Access:
-Door Kickers
-Grim Dawn
-Assault Android Cactus

All three titles are updated regularly, if not crazy-often regularly. You can see the devs are invested in them, and at least to some extent pay attention to player feedback. I'd be leery of early access titles that haven't been updated in ages, or where devs seem to be consistently ignoring player feedback.

To me, the Divinity game that's currently in early access is an unoptimized, prematurely released mess, and the latest update has caused it to lockup repeatedly. I gifted it to a Steam bud who likes co-op stuff, but we both agreed it's a mess, and I shouldn't have bought or gifted it.  icon_neutral Not to mention the gameplay has very little to do with any of the previous Divinity titles (whether the 3rd person game before this, or the older isometric Diablo-style titles, and while it's technically turn-based combat (which I love), I would steer people over to Blackguards or The Banner Saga first..

I guess the lesson is "buyer beware" and sift through player feedback carefully before you sign onto one of these things.
« Last Edit: February 19, 2014, 06:12:43 PM by Blackjack » Logged

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Caine
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« Reply #9 on: February 19, 2014, 06:49:11 PM »

yeah.  caveat emptor is the phrase most associated with early access.

If only Steam had expanded the right to refund to early access.  It would get abused out of the A though unless they restricted it to some short interval of play. 
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wonderpug
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« Reply #10 on: February 19, 2014, 06:55:07 PM »

Quote from: Caine on February 19, 2014, 06:49:11 PM

If only Steam had expanded the right to refund to early access.  It would get abused out of the A though unless they restricted it to some short interval of play. 

That turns it into a demo, though, and I don't think many devs would want their feature-limited buggy alpha early release versions to be taken as demos.
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Arclight
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« Reply #11 on: February 19, 2014, 08:35:16 PM »

Its become the number one way I purchase games now. Its something about taking a risk and going by your gut.
I read as much as I can about the game, the company, and others games they've developed. If it hits a few of my
main gaming buttons then I love jumping in and taking a chance. After all the AAA "This is the one" titles I've bought
I've learned that's just as much a crap shoot as early access.
This week I bought, Starpoint Gemini 2, a week or so ago, Assetto Corsa, Drox Operative, although its been available, Steam has just put it up from customer demand.
I also bought, Starbound a few weeks ago. Great games so far. Usually, but not always, much cheaper too.
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Caine
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« Reply #12 on: February 20, 2014, 04:00:40 AM »

Quote from: wonderpug on February 19, 2014, 06:55:07 PM

Quote from: Caine on February 19, 2014, 06:49:11 PM

If only Steam had expanded the right to refund to early access.  It would get abused out of the A though unless they restricted it to some short interval of play. 

That turns it into a demo, though, and I don't think many devs would want their feature-limited buggy alpha early release versions to be taken as demos.

yeah, it's definitely a hard problem to solve in existing methods.  we can't exactly ask them for a traditional demo either as that dev time will always come with the cost against the full game (and piss off early backers).  Kerbal did this though, so maybe the larger teams can afford it. 
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PR_GMR
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« Reply #13 on: February 20, 2014, 03:46:28 PM »

I do it.. but only with games I find to my liking.. and it's because I want to help the developers realize these games. Since major gaming companies now only develop what sells in the gazillions, a lot of cool niche games just don't get develop. I gladly give money to anyone developing the next well-made 'Dungeon Keeper' game.. or the next 'Total Annihilation' game.. or something like 'Starbound'. I do the same thing with indie film projects with potential on Kickstarter.
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