Up For Debate - Early Access Vs Full Release

Written by Jon Sutton on Sat, Dec 27, 2014 4:00 PM
System Requirements Optimum 1080p PC Build Low vs Ultra Screenshots GPU Performance Chart CPU List That Meet System Requirements GPU List That Meet System Requirements

Believe it or not, Steam Early Access debuted just 18 months ago. In the year and a half since we’ve seen hundreds of titles make their through, and more than a few sink without trace in its treacherous waters. It’s an entry point for many indie developers that can allows projects and ideas to flourish that would never normally have a chance of coming to fruition, an opportunity to branch out from the norm and experiment in ways the big boys could never dream of.

They’re not without their problems though, delivering some extremely early prototypes that can sometimes offer just the barest bones of a gaming experience, many iterations away from the real deal. The recent example of DayZ is a case in point. Bohemia’s online zombie sandbox hit Early Access last year, and it could still be a further two years until it launches. Others, like The Stomping Land, can even be removed from Steam entirely (albeit temporarily), while the likes of Paranautical Activity had finally just escaped the clutches of Early Access, only for an ill-judged death threat to signal its untimely demise.

Ultimately people like to invest in Early Access because they want to get in at the ground floor. It can be a fascinating experience getting involved with a project early on, influencing the development process and getting a peek behind the scenes as brand new features are added for an eager audience to test out. It’s an opportunity to become a real-life game tester, playing a game you’re anticipating months before its eventual launch and become involved in a growing and engaged community.

Like it or not though you're paying for the privilege of being a QA tester, with the developer profiting out of you attempting to play its unfinished product. The game in question might never even see the light of day, with unforeseen costs spiralling out of control forcing many devs to shut up shop.

It’s a tricky proposition, and one for which there’s no definitive answer. Is getting involved in Early Access a worthwhile enterprise, do you like to get stuck into a game as early as possible? Or would you prefer to wait for the final, complete product before spending your hard-earned money?

Login or Register to join the debate

Rep
44
Offline
admin approved badge
07:48 Dec-29-2014

DayZ is increasingly feeling like George R.R. Martin's crazy rants about all the stuff that's COMING, DEFINITELY COMING, SOON.... in South Park :P

0
Rep
4
Offline
21:40 Dec-28-2014

There are a few early access games that may be worth getting. For example DayZ will slowly increase in price towards full release, so it isn't such a bad idea to buy it now if you enjoy the type of game play it offers

0
Rep
0
Offline
10:46 Dec-28-2014

Generally against early access but Kerbal Space Program is early access and is amazing

0
Rep
0
Offline
09:54 Dec-28-2014

I prefer early access I just hate waiting @@

0
Rep
15
Offline
06:56 Dec-28-2014

okay, how about early release and full access

0
Rep
7
Offline
05:19 Dec-28-2014

When you buy a full game, you buy a game you want to play. When you buy Early Access, you buy the potential of a game you'd want to play. Which is dangerous for developers. Look at DayZ or The Stomping Lands: They showed their potential, we all payed, and now they made all their money and still no game out. Risky stuff

0
Rep
109
Offline
admin approved badge
05:10 Dec-28-2014

Really depends on what situation the game is, Take Prison Architect for example, its still in Early Access even tho it shouldn't be anymore, it really just depends, if you think the game is gonna have a great success when its finished, like Factorio or Rimworld, then yeah sure buy it, if you think this product is just gonna end in a disaster, then don't buy it, all you have to do is give it a

1
Rep
109
Offline
admin approved badge
05:11 Dec-28-2014

little thought before you buy it. [Just finishing my sentence]

1
Rep
37
Offline
admin approved badge
02:40 Dec-28-2014

Getting involved in Early Access is a worthwhile enterprise for certain games, people need to understand that some games may never get to release and access the risk them selves. I like to get stuck into a game as early as possible, but I make sure that they are games I see releasing or am satisfied with the product as it is. In the example of DayZ I got the early access because I saw great potential in the game, I figured that it would go all the way to release and I was already satisfied with what the game already had to offer.

2
Rep
108
Offline
00:48 Dec-28-2014

It's all hit and miss. Sometimes you get that gem in the rough that turns out to be priceless. Sometimes you get handed a polished turd that's exactly what it's made out of, a piece of sh*t. The problem is there is no good way to tell the difference between the devs that fail after giving their all and the devs that conveniently fail after taking your money....

0
Rep
108
Offline
00:51 Dec-28-2014

Worse yet, there's no good way of punishing the devs that fall into the latter category. In the end, it's buyer beware. Do your due diligence and so some research and read the reviews. If the game is from a first time dev and the reviews are bad, then chances are it's a cash grab. It it's a return dev and the reviews are good, you might want to take that chance.

0
Rep
2
Offline
22:30 Dec-27-2014

The tipping point for me turning to PC last year was seeing an advert for Galactic Civilizations III. That has been available early access for some time now I believe and although I've been tempted, I've opted for not getting it, for fear of having the experience spoiled.

0
Rep
327
Offline
admin approved badge
22:10 Dec-27-2014

I am glad that there are early access titles. At least then the devs have no excuse for bugs with the official launch. Ubisoft should offer early access titles so that their official launches wouldn't be so bad. Same for The Creative Assembly. ;)


I normally don't buy early access. I have a few times, but it just isn't my cup of tea. There are plenty of people out there buy them though.

1
Rep
465
Offline
21:21 Dec-27-2014

Early access used to be called DEMO, and was FREE, but that's for another debate. The difference is minimal, since most(MOST, not all) devs release unfinished games anyway.

0
Rep
37
Offline
admin approved badge
02:47 Dec-28-2014

If you buy the early access you will usually end up paying less that if you buy it on release.

1
Rep
34
Offline
20:19 Dec-27-2014

I regret buying DayZ Standalone, for example, because in 2016, when it releases, it will feel utterly outdated for me. I've played better games for less than a year. I'd rather play games for a period of time when it's fully developed. Would be a thing to quit it altogether until then.

0
Rep
81
Offline
admin approved badge
18:41 Dec-27-2014

After buying 7 or 8 Early Access titles on Steam, I have reached the conclusion that this method of developting absolutely DESTROYS the experience. At least for me, and the bad part is that I'm not sure why. I guess it's one way to get every feature from start and feel the need to discover everything a game has or try them out after reading each patch notes.

1
Rep
70
Offline
18:22 Dec-27-2014

It seems that most of the released games nowdays seem more like Early Access games then Full Released. Atleast I feel like that.

0
Rep
82
Offline
17:53 Dec-27-2014

You used to have demos for games,I would rather have that then early access.What happened to that?That's the best for me.

0
Rep
32
Offline
17:37 Dec-27-2014

if by early access you can access the game and play it so you can report bugs etc then its a good way to do it (like beta versions ex. assetto corsa, the crew) but without access to the game then there is no difference :)

1
Rep
385
Offline
admin badge
17:17 Dec-27-2014

On a serious note, I bought Grim Dawn, Elite Dangerous and Wasteland 2 in early access and love all three :)

0
Rep
83
Offline
17:15 Dec-27-2014

Id never waste my time on early access games, the two latest games iv got are Far Cry 4 and Assassins Creed Unity and they feel like early access games too, FC4 runs better but also has lag/stutter and bug issues

1
Rep
386
Offline
admin approved badge
17:30 Dec-27-2014

yup, Ubisoft made the mistake of developing Far Cry 4, Assassin's Creed Unity and Rogue, The Crew, Watch dogs(I know it was developed in 2012-2013 as well) and Tom Clancy's rainbow six(still in development) in the same year..... They got greedy, over their head and wanted money, but they wanted to give us great games as well, it's NOT only the money. So when they drew a deadline they had to release them at that date, so they released broken games, which if NOT for the performance are 9-10/10 IMHO. :)

2
Rep
89
Offline
21:47 Dec-27-2014

And they continue doing so because they sell damn well. There is wrong in us buyers too when they keep F2cking us over with those "release as much and fast as possible tactics" And we continue being dogs on a leash. Personally Watch Dogs was my enlightenment no more money to ubisoft from me before things chance.

2
Rep
83
Offline
17:48 Dec-27-2014

I really like FC4 but im worried that they will stop with the performance fixes soon, i would have thought my Pc would handle the game maxed out but even if i turn everything to low and lower res it still lags/stutters, its a joke :(

1
Rep
26
Offline
03:22 Dec-28-2014

Really? My friend with a R9 290 says he can run it maxed at 1080p with 60+ constant fps (using SMAA). Are you using MSAA? DO NOT use MSAA with it. For the love of games use TXAA. MSAA WAS NOT meant to be used.

0
Rep
83
Offline
11:39 Dec-28-2014

Yes really, i can run maxed at 1080p with 60+ fps too and using smaa, i know which aa is best, been gaming for a long time now, the game runs at 60+ fps but for some daft reason the game lags (doesn't run/look smooth), also random stutters

1
Rep
83
Offline
11:44 Dec-28-2014

Your friend prob just doesnt notice it, every youtube video i watch its there on other peoples systems, least they notice though so i know its the game

1
Rep
89
Offline
14:05 Dec-29-2014

I think it runs suprisingly well for a ubisoft game I first played with 780 ti and it ran well on ultra. Those Nvidia settings however are a total joke.

0
Rep
33
Offline
17:14 Dec-27-2014

I paid for early access to Planetary Annihilation. No regrets.
I've paid for early access to The Forest. Although it's not finished yet, no regrets.
I've got early access to Space Engineers. Same story.
People need to decide intuitively on what they back. Check development release cycles. Check the community. You can void falling in to traps. You just need to use your head.

1

Can They Run... |

| 60FPS, High, 1080p
Ryzen 7 5800H 8-Core 3.2GHz GeForce RTX 3060 Mobile 16GB
| 30FPS, Low, 1080p
Core i5-8400 6-Core 2.8GHz GeForce GTX 1050 8GB
100% Yes [1 votes]
Core i5-4460 3.2GHz GeForce GTX 1050 Ti Gigabyte OC 4GB 16GB
| 60FPS, High, 1080p
Ryzen 7 5800H 8-Core 3.2GHz GeForce RTX 3060 Mobile 16GB
| 60FPS, High, 1080p
Ryzen 7 5800H 8-Core 3.2GHz GeForce RTX 3060 Mobile 16GB
| 60FPS, Ultra, 4k
Ryzen 7 5800H 8-Core 3.2GHz GeForce RTX 3060 Mobile 16GB
| 60FPS, Ultra, 4k
Ryzen 7 5800H 8-Core 3.2GHz GeForce RTX 3060 Mobile 16GB
| 60FPS, High, 1080p
Ryzen 7 5800H 8-Core 3.2GHz GeForce RTX 3060 Mobile 16GB
| 30FPS, Low, 720p
Core i7-2600 4-Core 3.40GHz Radeon RX 560 4GB 8GB
| 30FPS, Low, 1080p
Ryzen R5 1400 Radeon RX 480 4GB 16GB
100% Yes [2 votes]
| 60FPS, Low, 1080p
Core i7-4720HQ 4-Core 2.6GHz GeForce GTX 960M 4GB 8GB
| 60FPS, Ultra, 4k
Core i9-12900K 16-Core 3.7GHz GeForce RTX 3070 Mobile 32GB
100% Yes [1 votes]
| 30FPS, Low, 720p
Core i3-3217U 1.8GHz Intel HD Graphics 4000 Mobile 4GB
100% Yes [1 votes]
| 30FPS, Medium, 720p
Core i3-3240 3.4GHz Radeon R9 270X Sapphire Dual-X 2GB OC Edition 8GB
83.3333% Yes [6 votes]
| High, 1080p
Core i5-10400 6-Core 2.90GHz GeForce GTX 1660 Super 6GB 16GB
100% Yes [6 votes]
| 60FPS, High, 1080p
Core i5-9400F 6-Core 2.9GHz GeForce GTX 1060 Palit Super Jetstream 6GB 16GB
83.3333% Yes [6 votes]
| 30FPS, Medium, 720p
Core i5-3570 3.4GHz GeForce 9500 GT 8GB
100% Yes [1 votes]
| 60FPS, High, 1080p
Core i7-7700 4-Core 3.6GHz GeForce GTX 1060 Asus ROG Strix Gaming OC 6GB Edition 16GB
| 60FPS, Medium, 1080p
Ryzen 5 3500 6-Core 3.6GHz GeForce GTX 1660 Asus Phoenix OC 6GB 16GB
100% Yes [1 votes]
| 60FPS, Low, 720p
Ryzen 5 2400G GeForce GTX 1650 Zotac Gaming OC 4GB 16GB