New Steam FAQ Outlines Early Access

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Valve has recently updated their FAQ page to better clarify the Early Access situation. A lot of users have found Early Access titles to be an issue, where some are not even fully finished, while others are beyond broken. Now Valve wants to warn users looking to purchase the titles, the company has also explained why they’ve worded it as such.

Many Early Access games don’t have a clear launch time frame, which makes them a gamble to purchase in their current state. For example, DayZ is said to be in Alpha state until at least 2015, which is an incredibly long time on Early Access. Delays are expected, cancellations are possible, and a lack of updates may be inevitable.

The new FAQ reads as:

Is this the same as pre-purchasing a game?

No. Early Access is a full purchase of a playable game. By purchasing, you gain immediate access to download and play the game in its current form and as it evolves up and through ‘release.’

When will these games release?

It’s up to the developer to determine when they are ready to ‘release.’ Some developers have a concrete deadline in mind, while others will get a better sense as the development of the game progresses.

If the release date is known, it will be listed on the store page for the game, in the upper-right corner under the game’s branding image.

The quotation use of the term ‘release’ is rather woolly and undefined. Valve has now edited the FAQ to warn consumers that there is an element of risk attached with games that may never see a final release:

Is this the same as pre-purchasing a game?

No. Early Access is a full purchase of a playable game. By purchasing, you gain immediate access to download and play the game in its current form and as it evolves. You keep access to the game, even if the game later moves from Early Access into fully released.

When will these games release?

It’s up to the developer to determine when they are ready to ‘release.’ Some developers have a concrete deadline in mind, while others will get a better sense as the development of the game progresses. You should be aware that some teams will be unable to ‘finish’ their game. So you should only buy an Early Access game if you are excited about playing it in its current state.

Valve was asked about the new change to the FAQ, in which they replied:

The changes to the FAQ are intended to help set customer expectations of what may or may not happen over the course of development of an Early Access game. We frequently iterate on Steam features as we gather feedback and find areas for improvement.

In this case, it became apparent that further clarification would help customers evaluate their potential purchase of Early Access titles. We think of Steam, Early Access, and game development as services that grow and evolve best with the involvement of customers and the community.

Source: GI.biz