The early access program on Steam caused a bit of a stir when it launched last year, and began an ongoing debate about paying for a product that isn’t finished (insert Battlefield 4 joke here). But even with the controversy, early access has done well on Steam, with pre-1.0 games often making their way on to the best selling charts.
Now it seems Sony are at least talking about a possible early access program for PlayStation. SCEA’s Adam Boyes had this to say about the idea in a recent interview with Gamasutra.
That’s one of the massive conversations we have internally — that, at what point does [a game meet standards of release]? We still at some point ensure that we’re being mindful of the consumer. We don’t want somebody to stumble across that title and expect a full product, and have a negative experience.
I want to help bootstrap people, to bootstrap them, to help them out. Like supporting the underdog for a sports team.
With the popularity of open betas rising on consoles, it would seem that something similar to what Valve is doing with early access might fit on consoles, but the difference is that console gamers don’t pay money for a beta. And the betas we see on consoles are often in the very late stages of development and near completion anyway.
It also seems like delivering feedback via a console would be more difficult than on PC, where a support forum is just a click away and you have a keyboard at your disposal to articulate your thoughts. Whatever the results of these talks are, it’s certainly something that would have to be handled with extreme caution when advertising a game that’s available for purchase but isn’t finished. On the other hand, a program like this could lead to a better final product for everyone.
Any interest out there in seeing an early access program on PlayStation platforms?