With the growing trends of crowdsourcing of Minecraft-esque development models resulting in more and more games being made available to gamers in very early stages of development, it only makes sense that some changes would be in order in regards to how digital distribution services go about delivering these ‘alpha’ versions of games. As such, today Valve both announced and opened a new section of the Steam store, Steam ‘Early Access‘, which allows those interested in experiencing the grueling and bug-filled days of a game’s alpha state to pay to do so.
Alpha access is generally discounted from the game’s final price. It means receiving access to an incomplete but frequently updated product and, in the best of cases, the right to download the finished game later on.
“The goal of Early Access is to provide gamers with the chance to ‘go behind the scenes’ and experience the development cycle firsthand and, more importantly, have a chance to interact with the developers by providing them feedback while the title is still being created,” explains a Valve rep.
“To support the interaction between Early Access players and developers, Steam offers easy and automatic updating of games, letting developers iterate quickly to respond directly to bug reports and feedback from customers.”
These are the first few games that will support Early Access play:
- 1… 2… 3… KICK IT! (Drop That Beat Like an Ugly Baby)
- Arma 3
- Drunken Robot Pornography
- Gear Up
- Kerbal Space Program
- Kinetic Void
- Prison Architect
- Under the Ocean