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Sunday, January 19, 2014

Why Early Access (Kinda) Makes Sense

Let's say a new game on Steam just pops up. You have no idea who the developer is and what this little blue bar underneath the screen shots means. "Early... access? What's that?"
Now I'm going to say something a bit... drastic. Early access means... the game isn't finished. Basically its probably passed the alpha stage and its come to a point where playing it isn't going to be too much of a hassle... sometimes. To reiterate, Early Access means the game isn't completely finished, but its to a point where you can actually play it and the game will be worked on for an indefinite period of time. Lets just put a few things out there. I've been hearing a lot about how this is simply a way for a developer to get money off of a product that isn't finished, that you're basically buying a portion of a game and the rest is still being worked on. To that I have to say, "Are you enjoying your copy of Battlefield 4?" Smart niche jokes aside, Battlefield 4 is a Triple A game made from a Triple A developer. Why is it broken? In lay-men's terms, no game is actually finished. Even though the initial product has been put forward, you're still going to encounter some bugs and minor glitches at best. At worst, game breaking stuff. So now that we know no game is truly 100% complete are we warming up to the idea of Early Access? No? Well maybe I should direct the developer.
See, buying a portion of a game seems awful. But to any person who's ever played an MMO for an extended period of time, they know what I'm talking about. Constantly their game will be patched, given updates and even fix major bugs. Its not because its an MMO, its because its a game. All games are inherently broken to a point so buying a portion of a game is not the weirdest thing when you look at it in context. However, paying FULL PRICE for these games, is absurd. Even the slightest discount makes the game seem a thousand times more appealing. So I may not be playing this game every single day, but I can see the game is getting patched and eventually I might pick it up again later. I purchased one of these games from a developer I trusted implicitly and (I won't say the game or the developer) the game was horribly broken. My people kept letting themselves die, I had no way to control them to do simple, life continuing tasks. However, the game has been patched a few times since my purchase. Have they fixed the bugs? Maybe. Haven't had time to check. But the fact is they were trying to patch it, it has been patched and they made a promise to continue patching it.
You put an Xbox (Original) in and play it. Sure there are bugs even after a decade of the game being released. It is amazing that this day and age, its common knowledge that just about everyone has an internet connection or access to one within a few blocks of where they live. Its amazing that developers can now fix a game and then send us the fix. Long story short, don't knock it till you try it.

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