How long a time is early access label acceptable.

What happened to the good old days when you could only buy a game in a shop or on a games client that was technically finished.
I recently found out that a game i have hammered every day for the past 16 months ( over 2,000 hours played ) has been in early access for 4 years.
The disclaimer is .... may crash , it does , may contain bugs , it does , and may in some cases break your saves.

If developers wish to use the paying customers as testers then they should give is the game at a reduced price for the inconvenience of putting up with things that might and will go wrong.
 
What happened to the good old days when you could only buy a game in a shop or on a games client that was technically finished.
I recently found out that a game i have hammered every day for the past 16 months ( over 2,000 hours played ) has been in early access for 4 years.
The disclaimer is .... may crash , it does , may contain bugs , it does , and may in some cases break your saves.

If developers wish to use the paying customers as testers then they should give is the game at a reduced price for the inconvenience of putting up with things that might and will go wrong.

I'm pretty sure almost all Early Access games use a reduced price.

Also, none of them trick you into buying it before it's released. They're all clear about it being an unfinished game.
 
To answer in short; as long as it needs to take.

Early Access is a great idea, you could get in on a game you looked forward to before it was released, bugs and all, and send in the feedback. Now most people expect an early access title (a fancy term for games in alpha or beta) to be completely finished or near completion, and its absolutely blurred the lines on what to expect with EA. So people rush to complain and flame a game if its super buggy even though its technically not out yet.

Im all for waiting for games to come out when they are completely done, but, lately, a lot of games seem unfinished that dont go through a beta or EA period. (TLOU being the most recent example)
 
Thanks for your reply but the point i was trying to get over was ... on sale 4 years and its still not technically in a finished state , maybe they should have done more work on it before it was released

It's not always easy to get the funding to work on a game for 4 more years to get it ready for release. Early Access is a nice way to get some additional funding while you keep working.

If they didn't want to release into Early Access, they would have to get additional funding from another source (unlikely) or vastly simplified their game so they could complete it before funding ran out.
 
Thanks for your reply but the point i was trying to get over was ... on sale 4 years and its still not technically in a finished state , maybe they should have done more work on it before it was released
Without knowing the name of the game, it is difficult to say.

Some Early Access titles stay in EA for longer than they have planned to, because as more people buy the title, the budget for the game goes up, and the end result is a better game.
 
I actually avoid buying games in EA because I only want to play the finished article. Even so I'm all for smaller devs being able to fund games and live in any way they can. That way we get more games to choose from, and for the most part when they're finally released they will be better quality.

I dont think it would work for Valve to step in and say that EA can only last a certain time max. Sometimes they are might be small teams with ambitious projects that they really want to shine.

Thanks for your reply but the point i was trying to get over was ... on sale 4 years and its still not technically in a finished state , maybe they should have done more work on it before it was released

To be fair if you played 2000 hours of it, some bugs and crashes cant have bothered you too much :) You would have got them anyway if they'd declared it released and patched it over time instead.
 

ZedClampet

Community Contributor
What happened to the good old days when you could only buy a game in a shop or on a games client that was technically finished.
I recently found out that a game i have hammered every day for the past 16 months ( over 2,000 hours played ) has been in early access for 4 years.
The disclaimer is .... may crash , it does , may contain bugs , it does , and may in some cases break your saves.

If developers wish to use the paying customers as testers then they should give is the game at a reduced price for the inconvenience of putting up with things that might and will go wrong.
If you don't like early access games, don't buy them. Satisfactory has been a fantastic early access game. If has almost no bugs and has been well-polished since day one, and they were very open about how long it would be in early access and have made steady progress. It has been a great example of how to do early access the right way.

In almost 1000 hours of Satisfactory, it has never crashed for me. Trains were bugged when first released, but have since been improved, and I have never lost a save file.
 
i don't think there is anything inherently to be in perpetual early access as long as the product is being updated and what's there works well (practically the final game).

The problems really begin when there's no updates, no communication and seems to be dead/abandonware. At times it just feels like a quick grift to get money and run. Sure, we expect unfinished/broken products in EA, but at the same time its just a way for people to release a half broken game call it EA and call it a day. Sometimes they replow that money on another product leaving the original one unfinished.

The best advice is to wait till its practically released, check how often the devs update their product, what the early adopters are saying before buying. if you can't accept the risk that the game won't get completed then stay the hell away from EA or think twice before putting money down. i don't really buy into EA myself as i rather play the finished article as opposed to constantly starting again.
 
Hello johnway .... i have been using the game i am refering to for about 16 months with over 2,000 hours on it , i was not aware it had been in early access/experimental for 4 years till i saw a you tube video they had done.
 
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Hello johnway .... i have been using the game i am refering to for about 16 months with over 2,000 hours on it , i was not aware it had been in early access/experimental for 4 years till i saw a you tube video they had done.

Apparently "The truth is that we will stay in Early Access until we feel that it’s finished. " So presumably a labor of love until they feel its well and truly the best experience and add a few more features they could add instead of DLC. Apparently.

Apparently also they're close to releasing it in 1.0 but who knows. Might be marketing speak. But its probably at a point they could probably release it now and call it a day.
 
If you don't like early access games, don't buy them.
That's how I see it also. There are several EA games that I have a great interest in, but not ready to commit to, so I wish list those EA games so that I can keep track of their development progress. The length of time those games remain in EA will vary greatly, and as others have said, it's going to depend on how big the gaming studio is, how many people are involved, and the state of their finances.

The store page for every EA game on Steam has a notice about being in Early Access so that potential gamers will know what they're getting into. The top light blue section is a Steam statement, followed by a statement from the developer as to why it's in EA and what their plans are.
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@mjs warlord - you may also want to check out the Steam page that describes in more detail what the Early Access program is. I think EA is a great way for smaller indie studios to get feedback and beta testing as they develop a game. Many of these smaller developers can't afford to hire independent beta testers, so early access can really help them.
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