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Don't implement an Early Access functionality

Added byVainamoinen's avatarVainamoinen

In a eurogamer.net article published yesterday, Marcin Iwinski (gog.com founder) has said that he'd consider an Early Access type function on gog, albeit with the added element of publisher responsibility and customer protection.

This can not work, and gog should know that. The whole point of Early Access on Steam and its whole profitability is founded on the lack of publisher responsiblity. No serious developer would take that risk and embrace that publisher control if he could at the same time publish on a platform which rejects its responsiblity so openly.

As a result, the only games gog will get for their version of Early Access are the smallest, ugliest, most likely to fail indie projects. At the same time, gog will bear the great financial burden of quality assurance, which even has to be an ongoing evaluation - they'll end up spending more money on QA than Sony or Microsoft.

Early Access is something that's utterly wrong with games today. It prolongs development times, it forces narrative games in the direction of episodic releases, it essentially lets customers pay for something they may or may not get in the far future. It's indecent and those customers NEED to be protected.

From a moral as well as economic standpoint - please don't attempt this, gog.

http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/2014-05-15-gog-on-early-access-definitely-not-every-game-should-be-permitted

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Vainamoinen
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Early Access is not about "betatesting". Go to Steam's Early Access FAQ, they don't even know the term "beta". Early Access is about funding development with the proceeds of a game that may or may not be finished one day. And by the time it is "completed", its useful life is usually over.

Almost Human knows what they're trying to do. They don't need 'feedback'. They have the means to finish their game and sell it as a full product. Should they ask fans to betatest, it will likely be an open or closed beta, and no gamer would pay to work as a beta tester. If for some reason development goes awry and they can not finish their game as planned, no customer will have paid for something that will never be.

The only reason Early Access works is because Valve's customers, like Apple's, would buy anything the company serves them. Neither Microsoft nor Sony nor GOG could pull off a similar service, because they are known to bear an ounce of responsibility towards their customers.

Sep. 11, 2014
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jarih
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Vainamoinen: "Go, go, go Almost Human. They're developing Grimrock 2 and will expressly skip Early Access. THIS is "how games should be made today". "

So what would have been the problem if Grimrock 2 would have been in Early Access? Gamers could have play and give feedback for the developers from the very beginning and fund the development work. Doesn't sound bad to me ...

I really don't understand why people are so much against Early Access especially when it has made so many incredible good games possible.

Sep. 2, 2014
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deathmachinept
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I also hate payed early access has people mention it, it prevents a clear design and promotes not finishing games by devs. I belive payed early access destroys a natural barrier that prevents incompent devs for making bad games that ultimatetly would ruin,
discredited and bring down profits on the gaming industry.

But I'm not agaisn't free early access or like 0,50$ to try an early access game just to be used to measure the size and interested on the market or as a way to help fix or find bugs and problems with the game.

Aug. 20, 2014
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Vainamoinen
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Actually, nstgc, reading the actual request text might help with that. In any case, here are more arguments at the ready. http://www.gog.com/forum/general/its_a_sad_thing_that_this_wishlist_entry_exists

Aug. 7, 2014
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nstgc
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I don't understand why people are so opposed to this. If you don't want early access, don't buy it. No one is forcing you. I completely understand not wanting to pay money to beta (or even alpha) test someone's game for them. I don't understand wanting to prevent other people from doing so.

Aug. 4, 2014
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DocRask
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As someone who has play early access games on steam, this would be a bad idea for GOG. It's more trouble than it's worth to the customer.

Jul. 27, 2014
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Peerbreed
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Please never include early access. I find it to be little more than a scam. The very few completed games, that actually ended up how the developers said they would, are few and far between. I didn't think thier could be anything worse that day one DLC, then early access came along and I was proven wrong.

Jul. 24, 2014
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localfreak
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Have to agree with this. I've been seeing a lot of threads lately about games ending up nothing like the alphas that were actually paid for. That's the ones that get finished..

I don't mind beta testing games but paying for the privilege?
Only if I get a refund if the game turns out crap.

Jul. 2, 2014
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0Grapher
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There are beta-versions of games I might buy. I'm not sure if I will be able to resist the temptation of buying them on steam if GoG does not have them.

Jul. 2, 2014
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Dowlphin
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I can acknowledge that there are upsides to the Early Access approach, but the whole idea is still just born our of scarcity, trying new ways to get stuff done like less in the fight for a bigger slice of the pie.
I think that the downsides of Early Access far outweigh the upsides.

Jul. 1, 2014
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MasterS.249
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Early Access is like Alpha&Beta Testing, isn't it?

Don't mind people playtesting the game before I get to it. The more polished it will be - the merrier :)

Jun. 23, 2014
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Vainamoinen
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Go, go, go Almost Human. They're developing Grimrock 2 and will expressly skip Early Access. THIS is "how games should be made today".

http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2014/06/04/legend-of-grimrock-2-early-access/

Jun. 7, 2014
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UhuruNUru
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As with all these things it all depends on how and why, generally with publisher controlled games it's pure cash grab and nothing more.
Crowdfunded games can be diierent though, without a publisher early access for backers can help produce real benefits for both gamers and the devs.
Star Citizen is the flagship of this style of open developement and due to the funding given by PC Gamers it is the flagship for AAA PC games as well.
Traditional Game Publishers and there bought and paid for Gaming Press want Star Citizen to fail and will do all they can to ensure it does.
PC Gamers need to counter the false propaganda and do all they can to ensure it succeeds, even if they don't like space games the exmple it sets, good or bad will have a huge impact on future PC Gamer led developement.
So far they are doing a great job and have already promised a DRM free release, though main game is online, it has a single player component also.

The cost of Backing is by Ship Packages with entry level of
Alpha $35 about £21
Beta £30 = $18
The Beta Package is just ship and was the Alpha package for earlier backers. Now an additional £5 fee for Alpha access is needed, which is actually Pre Alpha by Publisher Standards. I'm sure the game price on final release will be more than for early access, not less.

In contrast another Space Sim Crowdfunder Elite Dangerous stinks of abusing Early Access this game has set prices of
Release £35 = $60
Beta £100 = $150
Alpha £200 = $300
These are justified as funding developement, this is no justification for such high early access prices. They are a total ripoff because they are fixed so high, this is never going to be the AAA game Star Citizen can be.

Both are revivals of much loved Great Old Games Series, I played the original Elite on a Commadore 64 but missed Wing Commander due to not having a PC until 5 year ago.
I would have backed Elite, if given fair lower prices, cheaper than final release. Seeing those prices stopped me for good.
Star Citezen I have backed and my ship was
$125 = £75
I chose to buy that ship and not the entry level, you could choose to spend upto $10,000 = £6,000 if you wanted, somebody did as that's sold out.
The key element is that to back and get alpha access should be cheaper than the final game, choosing to pay more, should be just that, a choice.

Elite Dangerous the game I was initially more likely to back and play, is now a game I don't care about at all.
Solely due to the methods used to extract a ridiculous amount of money from fans for early access.
Elite Dangerous has raised
£1.7 Million = $2.85 Million
using these dubious tactics, does that make it an A game or BBB I'm not sure, but it's certainly no AAA game and no threat to publisher dominated gaming.

Star Citizen on the other hand won me over by making the PC Gamer the focus of there efforts. Along with a desire to push the PC to it's limits by being the first AAA PC Game this century.
It uses the CryEngine 3 and it could be argtued Crysis are PC Games, I'd only accept that for the first but not AAA, they are Tech Demos for the Engine first and foremost.

Star Citizen has raised
$45 Million = £27 Million
with it's tactics, winning the backing of many like myself who though wanting the AAA Space game it intends to be, see the wider vision that Chris Roberts has spearheaded.
Which is putting the PC where it belongs as the summit of gaming exellence and much more importantly than that, putting the control firmly and irreversably into the hands of those who care more about the quality of the game than the quantity of the profit. The Game Players and the Game Developers.
This is potentialy a huge shift in that control and a major threat to Game Publishers/Consoles domination of gaming.

The old adage that PC gaming is dead was never true. Console gaming is dying, Sony and MS know it.
They've known for a long time, it's why the "Next Gen" was delayed for years. It's why they are pushing the Multi-Media thing so hard, the reason is consoles simply don't have enough power.
They are limited to 300W and modern GPU's need more than that, never mind the other components.
Increasing power is simple to do, it requires improving all components, but that already exists and it's called a PC.
They can only keep the Hype going for long with publisher collusion, but until more gamers have PC's than consoles, they will fully collude to keep consoles on top.

If Star Citizen Succedds it will shine as a lighthouse guiding others around the hidden rocks.
Failure can mean others will fear to try that rocky channel, knowing the shark infested waters that await them.

So though I broadly agree that rampent early access is totally undesirable
Carefully selecting the right Gamer backed and Developer led Open Early Access is exactly what GOG should support.
The only way we will get rid of DRM is to get rid of those who put it in games to start with.
Their will be a narrow window to take charge and make this the preferred choice of all PC Gamers.
Publishers won't vanish overnight, the monopoly they hold will be broken.
They will have to change or they will vanish for good.

Jun. 5, 2014
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Potzato
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Early access is the death of passionate and clear design.

Jun. 5, 2014
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milito3515
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I agree. I do not want that thing on GOG.

Jun. 3, 2014
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BillyMaysFan59
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Vote count went up from 37 to 38. (sorry Early Access, but you don't belong here!)

May. 28, 2014
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