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Default PC Gamer - Only 25 Percent of Early Access Games Release!

November 18th, 2014, 11:55
Early Access has created a lot of cynicism within the PC gaming community. And for good reason. According to one study, only 25% of early access titles make it to release.

Early Access has become a very popular method for releasing games, and it's not hard to understand why: Developers can make money on their games while still developing and shaping them based on feedback from their audience. But it's not an unqualified success, as thus far only one-quarter of games put out on Early Access have been given a full release.

The GamesIndustry report, by EEDAR Head of Insights and Analytics Patrick Walker, acknowledges that the percentage could be weighed down by recent Early Access releases that simply haven't had time to be developed into a state of full readiness. But the percentage of Early Access titles from 2013 that have made it to full launch isn't much better, standing at less than 42 percent, and of the first nine games to appear on Early Access when it debuted in March 2013, only three have been released as full games.

"While there are clearly many benefits to an Early Access model, there is also the possibility of a broken promise to the consumer. This is not unlike other models in the games industry, such as crowdfunding through Kickstarter or selling a DLC Season Pass, where the consumer pays up front for promised content," Walker wrote. "A notable difference between those particular models and Steam's Early Access program is the lack of a firm release window; on Early Access, a game could theoretically stay in development and be sold to consumers indefinitely, whereas a Season Pass is rolled out within a specific time frame and all Kickstarter projects are presented with an estimated 'delivery date'."
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November 18th, 2014, 11:55
and all Kickstarter projects are presented with an estimated 'delivery date'."
Emphasis on "estimated".
But what's the alternative? Back to the publisher model that flooded us with high-quality oldschool RPGs until we cried "no more, no more!"?
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November 18th, 2014, 12:01
Extremely misleading title.

The fact that they're not yet released is not the same as them never releasing.

It's about time that people finally understood the nature of game development and the concept of a promise.

As in, those two don't mix well.

Support a game if you believe in it - but don't EVER expect everything to go according to plan.

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November 18th, 2014, 12:02
Originally Posted by GhanBuriGhan View Post
Emphasis on "estimated".
But what's the alternative? Back to the publisher model that flooded us with high-quality oldschool RPGs until we cried "no more, no more!"?
I have to agree with that. I'm not interested in the early releases, and being in the middle of things as the game is put together, but thank goodness for people who are. We wouldn't have had a hope of getting Infinity Engine clones or an old school Wasteland sequel a couple of years ago.
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November 18th, 2014, 12:33
Early Access has only been around for 1 1/2 years and most games take at least 2 years or longer to be made.
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November 18th, 2014, 12:41
I think a lot of people estimate the time to completion wrong for early access because there experience has been of AAA game announcements. These AAA products are typically announced when under development a couple of years already and then build hype for 6 months to be ready for release by the holidays.
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November 18th, 2014, 12:52
Originally Posted by guenthar View Post
Early Access has only been around for 1 1/2 years and most games take at least 2 years or longer to be made.
Yes, but we were referring to the bit about Kickstarter, and upfront funding generally.
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November 18th, 2014, 13:16
Steam Early access versions are released versions.
Percentage of released versions whose final versions meet the specifications peddled to sell the product, how to tell?
Comparison between the marketed features to raise funds and the features present in the final version, how?

Between the changes pushed by players' lobbies and various tricks used to avoid staring at the product at it is, how?

For example, when a studio tells that the final version of the product will include the possibility to shoot through windows, and that in the end, this possibility is included because you can also shoot through walls, leading them to cover up by stating they never explicitly declared that you could not shoot through walls, only that you could shoot through windows, how to establish whether the final version meets the peddled specifications?

All SEA releases manage to hit the final version. That is the only conclusion.

And what alternatives? Return to the publisher model that screen out projects that should not release any way, when releasing failed games, broken games, non games raise economical activity and Steam can take their cut in the process?

Early Access has only been around for 1 1/2 years and most games take at least 2 years or longer to be made.
Some games already hit their final version.
Beside, useless to speak of the final version in the light of announced specifications.
Another point: another song sung is that game developpment does not take two years but three, four years. This is the song sung when studios enter the second year in developpment and are forced to face reality they are no way near the point they told they would be.
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November 18th, 2014, 18:25
If game developers take the early access route because they are close to failure, then that would tend to skew the likelihood of successful completion. Lower quality early access releases result in low sales, which leads to poor revenue based on word of mouth, and probable failure anyway.
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November 18th, 2014, 21:03
While I do not participate, I like early access. It creates a huge pool of playtesters that end up making my eventual game time more productive. Kudos to all you folks who do the Early Access playtesting. Hip, Hip, Who-Raaaaaaaaa.

And even if the game does not see a full release, the product that is out there is getting better and better so help me Underail and Age of Decadence.

Pay no attention to PC-negative-Gamer.
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November 18th, 2014, 21:22
If you listen to industry vets talk about this topic this seems about the right percentage if maybe a bit low. Only now its the consumer's money lost rather than a publisher's. Its like when you plant a crop not every seed makes it to harvest…though I would be mighty pissed off (and broke) if only 25% of my crop made it to harvest.

Many of these projects are by small groups with minimal business experience and posibly limited game building experience too, the bar has been lowered perhaps some might say too low, to let all comers in to the arena. Though we might get burned on the occasional game I for one would rather see this plethora of choices as opposed to the limited console port big budget same old same old we have been seeing for years.
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November 19th, 2014, 19:34
Nearly 90% of released games are actually early access. At least it feels that way.
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