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Decline Kickstarter & Steam Early Access: A beginning of the true decline?

Discussion in 'General RPG Discussion' started by Beautiful Clown Painting, Dec 10, 2013.

  1. DalekFlay Arcane Patron

    DalekFlay
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    Pretty sure it's made very clear when a game is pay-2-beta or actually released. Steam doesn't even list early access games under releases anymore, and they have massive warning labels on them. If people are too dumb to notice, well... not my problem.

    As for waiting for patches, some people have been doing that for two decades now, not a revelation.
     
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  2. Applypoison Numantian Games Patron Developer

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    PC RPG Website of the Year, 2015 Serpent in the Staglands Codex USB, 2014 Shadorwun: Hong Kong
    Kickstarter and Steam Early Access is allowing Indie gaming, innovation and creativity to blossom. It's not hampering gaming, quite the opposite.

    Can appreciate the desire for full products. Not to worry, big publishers and their brownie batter games will always be around to corner at least a good half of the market +M but at least now there's choice for those of us who don't mind =)
     
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  3. Infinitron I post news Patron

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    If it weren't for Early Access, there would be even more buggy games on Steam today.

    Wouldn't we all have been better off if Rome 2, X Rebirth, Arkania HD, etc, were Early Access titles?
     
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  4. KazikluBey Cipher Patron

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    I've been quite restrictive with my Kickstarter backings and early access purchases. The only early access title I bought was AoD, and that's because I thought the earlier demo releases were good enough on their own to justify the price. But mostly I don't want to pay for people's dreams, I'd prefer to pay for a finished product.
     
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  5. thesheeep Arcane Patron

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    Early Access, no matter if on Steam or just "preorder for alpha/beta access" is one of the best things for any developer and the players.

    There are of course players like KazikluBey, who do not want to play alpha/betas, not wanting to spoil their experience.
    And I can fully relate, because I am like this myself. I almost never play early access because of exactly those reasons. Though I still back games I think I will like as soon as I can, no matter the current development state.

    But there are different players, who cannot wait to play a game, or genuinely want to help as much as possible, or for whatever other reason will play games in an early state.
    Those players are invaluable for developers. Without stuff like early access, you have to pay for testers. With early access, you have players that pay to test your game.
    And if they like what they see, they'll stick with you further, luring even more players with positive propaganda.
    And bugs are usually not a problem, as no sane person would expect a perfect experience in that state of development.
    If they do not like what they see, you might end up with valuable feedback nonetheless.

    Of course, they will (in most cases) not offer feedback as professional as, well, professional testers.
    So the developers have to make sure the game is tracking stuff as good as possible, making sending crash reports and reporting bugs in general as easy as possible.

    And those players like me who do not like to play unfinished products can wait happily as they know the game they are waiting for is (hopefully) thoroughly tested.
    Actually, I do wonder if developing a game that will definitely have an early access for all the benefits will affect my own refusal to play early access games.
     
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  6. Explorerbc Arcane

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    This. I never liked trying alphas or betas but I don't really care if others participate in them, as long as the game comes out eventually. But lately I have seen so many games being stuck in this early access thing, releasing minor updates every few months without any indication of completion any time soon, that I am starting to hate this whole process .
     
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  7. Achilles Arcane

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    I don't think so. Paying for Early Access gives the devs more money to invest in the game, gives access to early builds to those who want it, gives the game more beta testers and in the end it means a better product for everyone.
     
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  8. MicoSelva Prestigious Gentleman The House Always Wins Patron

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    The problem is not Early Access itself, the problem is modern gamers' mentality. The bulk of gamers only focus on a few titles at most (like the newest CoD or Battlefield or GTA or whatever) while dabbling in as many others as they can, and as early as they can, so they can always tell their peers 'yeah, I've played it (already) it's cool/don't bother' and get their Kool Kid Kredz.

    That's why console games which have demos sell so little copies - most gamers only want to check the game out, they're not really interested in actually playing and finishing it (Steam achievement stats clearly show that), because they have a CoD session scheduled for the evening so why would they waste time with other games?

    Early Access lets these people play games before they are released, so they can shine even more. Yeah, you have to pay for that, but that's what disposable income is for.
     
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  9. almondblight Arcane

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    Decline from what? Is Wasteland 2 going to be worse than the new Bard's Tale game? Project Eternity worse than South Park? Crimson Steam Pirates was OK for what it was, but Shadowrun Returns is much better. It doesn't seem like pre-orders slowed down VD or Styg - production seems to have gotten faster after they started taking them.
     
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  10. tuluse Prestigious Gentleman Arcane

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    Just think how terrible it would be if we could get official patches for Fallout, KoTOR2, Arcanum. Won't anyone think of the 1.0s?
     
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  11. Bluebottle Erudite Patron

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    Allowing the purchase of games before their completion potentially allows development to go on for longer, which can have both disadvantages and advantages.

    Firstly, there's not a 100% chance that the title will sell enough to really justify completion in the minds of the developers. How motivated would you be to continue on for another 2+ years on a title that sold pre-purchase versions way below your expectations? It's fairly unlikely that this would mean less development than the traditional model, but the potential exists.

    Secondly, who has any idea how the title itself might develop in the future? Maybe there was a nub of a decent idea in the first alpha, but since then every change has brought it further and further away from this. As mentioned, interaction with the fans often clouds this. Maybe your idea of what the game has to offer differs from what the majority of the proles think or maybe, and this seems far more likely, what you actually end up with is a deafening noise of sporadic complaints and suggestions that lead to a chaotic, and mostly stupid, design-by-commitee game. Avoidable if the designers have clear ideas in mind, but it is something I can see being a real problem if this kind of model gains traction in larger development studios, where the statement "80% of users polled were in favour of romancable pack animals" might gain traction in a design meeting. Never underestimate the power of statistics in a meeting.

    In the end though, I think these are more than likely worth the risk for the benefits that extended development time will bring to the majority of titles, especially for indie titles.
     
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  12. Applypoison Numantian Games Patron Developer

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    Had to reply to this post simply because that's one of the more interesting points against pro-Early Access (which is the crowd I belong in). Age of Decadence is a fantastic game, but there seems to be sporadic pockets of doubt or uncertainty around it. Which is really unfortunate.

    Statistics can indeed be cruel, but so long as you're properly connected to your audience/game, they are complementary rather than all-encompassing. Another reason why indies will always serve the interest of gamers better, compared to big publisher+developper unions. Hiding behind a wall of Community Managers (who may or may not be all that interested in the game), who need to wait on a chain of command to say anything, is just not the way to go. The Design-by-Commitee model you mentionned is not much healthier either, but it implies that some sort of progress is being made in the right direction.
     
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  13. Beautiful Clown Painting Arcane

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    A game designer taking the whole heat on him by talking for his team while delivering a complete product on a given day: that's fucking bravery and the real function of a great game designer or of a great video-game producer. Fuck cowards hiding behind a beta for which they ask for money (not the case for Grimoire or AOD: their demos are free).
     
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  14. Allanon Augur

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    Many of the concerns raised in this thread are a real possibility with early access games, but it will always depend on the people involved with the games. Some developers will use the additional funds and fan input in a meaningful manner to achieve a better product. Others will succumb to infinite development cycles and inane fan input. It boils down to making rational choices about which games should you invest in during the development.

    Some examples: I've pre-odered 3 early access games so far : AoD, Kerbal space program, Prison Architect.
    Paying for AoD was a no brainer, I knew I'd buy it anyway (Liked the demo) so it would give the developers more funds to improve the game. No concern there about release of a final 1.0 product - I know what VD has in mind and what to expect.
    Prison Architect and KSP on the other hand are an entirely different manner. Both games have no release date (even approximate) and are developed on an incremental updates approach with a lot of input from the fans. I have serious concerns about KSP getting finished eventually, it being a sandbox game (3 years in development and the version being 0.22). The reason I bought them was that both games were on sale and I was interested in both projects. However, in hindsight that was probably a mistake.
     
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  15. m_s0 Arcane

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    I've been thinking about that game. It's obviously an incomplete, barebones, buggy low budget title, and yet it's priced $29.99 + DLC, because fuck you, that's why. I think it's more likely that Games Workshop is responsible for all of that shit, and that includes the idea of chopping the game up. For all we know, the developers probably made this in their spare time in a couple of months with a tiny team on a shoestring budget, and looking at it from that point of view it would be kind of an achievement.

    At least I hope that's the case, because I want that new Jagged Alliance to be at least playable.
     
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  16. Comrade Goby Magister

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    Early Access is lame

    Game should come out when it is ready

    Plus I feel like it always kills hype.

    Because you play the early access and then are like oh yeah I played that and push it to the back of your mind.
     
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  17. LeJosh Savant

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    Couldn't have said it better.

    Having a choice is ultimately better. And it will have it's drawbacks, such as mouth breathers spewing nonsense about difficulty and devs bending over but we ought to take things on a per dev basis.

    Blackguards for example, it was difficult at first then sunk because people are dumb fucks? That impacted on the game negatively but with feedback we can get them to change it back or have it as an option.
     
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  18. Abelian Somebody's Alt

    Abelian
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    As I see it, by providing the investment with which to develop the Kickstarter-funded game, the consumers are taking on the risk and responsibilities of the publisher, so I feel that it is within their right to demand early access and to voice their opinion and concerns. Of course the devs won't be able to make everyone happy (ex. real time vs turn-based), but at least they can gain valuable insight into their fans' expectations.

    If some pledgers doesn't want to spoil their their game experience, they are free to pass on playing the alpha. Plus, as was mentioned earlier, early access can be great at finding bugs and identifying problems with certain computer configurations.
     
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  19. StaticSpine Arcane Patron

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    I do not see any problems with Early Access at all.

    1) It's always mentioned brightly that this is BETA version of the game.
    2) It's an alternate way of supporting/crowdfunding the game developer. Because Steam can really bring a lot of new potential fans, just because it's obviously more popular than any of other services, where the game is distributed/promoted.
    3) Nobody is forcing people to buy beta versions, it's a personal choice. You don't want a beta version - you don't buy it. What's the problem?

    I didn't care about Early Access games much, the only game I bought through it is Underrail, I really wanted to support the guy who is making it, but I won't play it until the game is in it's final state.

    W2 beta is pretty expensive, but I consider it a barrier to cut out the "out-of-target-audience" and to get a feedback from the people who knows what are they paying for. I pledged on KS, but I do not care about the beta, I'll just wait for the release.

    On the other hand, releasing games in episodes annoys me somehow.
     
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