It's the thing.

1 July 2014

Steam, Greenlight and Early Access

Alright! 1 whole month off from being shouty

I've been relaxing and playing video games and just generally goofing off. While having a slight meltdown over work stuff. I know, opposites. I keep work and life separate because I don't want to drive myself to an early grave.

ANYWAY.

So, while on twitter last night/earlier today, a discussion arose about Early Access games, and just how goddamn fucking saturated Steam - no, the entire internet is saturated with these half finished - "Promise we'll make it" games on Steam Greenlight, Kickstarter, Indiegogo - whatever.

Don't get me wrong, Crowdfunding is a fantastic tool for producers who want to remain independent from larger publishers who - at a whim can dissolve you, or give you a massive dicking, depending on your publisher.

But with successes like Star Citizen, Broken Age and many, many more - the less scrupulous developers will raise their heads and proclaim

"That's a good pie. I want some of that pie"

And they release a whole metrick fuckton of utter goddamn shite, it almost invalidates the damn platform. I actively dodge steam greenlight and early access games for this reason alone. Greenlight and Kickstarter now require a lot of research and monitoring before you even think about backing those projects.

So many times, we've seen "devs" take the money and run, delivering only a tiny amount of their promise, or actually just disappearing completely. The entire platform can suffer from Peter Molyneux syndrome and it's only now people are becoming aware of the actual shite that appears in there!

Speaking of Steam and other platforms, I have a huge problem with their "Promoted" area

Sometimes, I'll go lurk the steam front page, See what's on sale, see what's new, all that junk. I like video games. I get ideas from video games. Sometimes, I'll see a game on the promo slide that has this really interesting looking screenshot or artwork and I think "This is quite relevant to my interest, let me have a look at this."

BAM. Early Access. The game isn't even 1/4 of the way done, and we have some extremely Alpha looking gameplay on the first video that steam shows. You think I'm dropping £30 on a "Promise we'll finish it, really truely" game. Me personally - No. Hecka No.

I understand that people are interested in helping smaller, more unknown devs get their games out and finished while supporting them, but for god's sake, leave the marketing and promotion for when it's Nearly Done, y'know? You're advertising this extremely unfinished product - so when it does finally get another spot in a few months, my initial thoughts are always "Oh, there's that unfinished game again."

Again. I'm not shitting on Early Access. Again, games like Minecraft and Star Citizen pulled/are pulling them off quite well.

Games like Planetary Annihilation who are actually sending out physical copies of early access games to retailers to sell have zero fucking sense or priorities. What part of "I'll go down to the shop today to pay an inflated price for a game for the sake of convenience" (I have nothing against them. Sometimes you just want a game NOW) "and hey look I'll buy this unfinished game for full price and wait a year to play the finished product.

You're basically paying for the privilege of being an alpha tester.

Because of the truckloads of early access games and absolute piles of dogshit games making their way across steam's promoted area, is it any wonder I stopped bothering checking the main page every day now? It's almost getting back to the point where a title backed by a publisher is a sign of a good quality, actually finished product..

And even that's saying something..