Mailbag: October 27

Transcript:

How’s it going everybody, Adrian Simple here from thegamingobserver, for the Sunday show. I’m actually going to do a mailbag segment today, because I was unable to yesterday. To submit questions or comments of your own, mailbag@thegamingobserver.com.

Today’s question comes in from Justin who says “there is quite the number of game designers that tend toward a long early access model that allows people to play an unfinished product. I believe that a lot of groups started off with this innocently enough, however I feel like some games go into early access, receive┬átheir $10-15(sometimes more) and then either stop releasing updates or really slow down the updates and stay in “Alpha” for years.” He then says that obviously this doesn’t apply to everyone, but that he is a little jaded from games like Star Citizen.

So from my own personal exprience, my thoughts on this are really easy. I never preorder games and rarely get them within a year of release, primarily for financial reasons, but also because I want all the kinks to be ironed out by the time I get my hands on them. Early Access is onl y something I consider if the industry is raving about the game, ala Slay the Spire or Subnautica. Because of this, I’ve been able to avoid many of the downsides that come with the idea of alpha or beta access. Of course, my positioning there is going to change if something like this show ever takes off and I have to start looking at those game critically.

At a conceptual level though, I would say I’m a lot more positive about it. Ultimately what it relies on is a trusted developer, and a wise consumer. If you have at least one of those things, and usually the former, the system works. Games get made and studios survive in situations where they normally wouldn’t. It also bring in some money earlier in the process so that maybe the game is even better than it would have been when it officially launches. Where this process breaks down is when the consumer is buying in without being critical. There are many games that are predatory and addictive, and it doesn’t even need to be completed to do that. To some extent I don’t put the blame on the customer — one story I like to go to is my father who saw a trailer for We Happy Few. It was still early access, and he wanted to buy it. The thing is, I know him, and it wouldn’t have been a game he enjoyed. Not only that, but he would’ve run into an incomplete game without even realizing it. I don’t blame him for that, he just wanted to experience something cool. At least if that was a launch trailer, he would spending his money on a polished product. On the other hand, yes, if people just had a general sense of what Early Access was, how it could be a bad thing, and then doing the research before they purchase, we’d have a different industry right now.

On the other hand, we probably know that’s not going to change. So for those of us who are aware, or have learned from our mistakes, we need to hold these companies accountable. If they are abusing the system, we need to be vocal. Long-term, I’m trying to have a voice in that through a show like this. Fingers crossed it works out.

Ok thank you for the questions, mailbag@thegamingobserver.com to submit your own. I’ll be back tomorrow for the Sunday show, and until then…Happy Gaming everyone!