Jimquisition: Early Access

 Pages PREV 1 2 3 4 5 6 NEXT
 

It didn't start with Minecraft, it started with Windows.

You can always...you know, not buy it.

Normally Jim is pretty insightful but in this case he is dead wrong. Early access is a GREAT thing along with kickstarter. It leads to way more experimentation, innovation, and risk taking than could be conceived of under traditional publishing systems. And it lets developers know right away the level of interest in their products so they know how much effort to devote to the current offering.

The minecraft model is the perfect for non-story games since playing without pumpkins doesnt "spoil" the experience later.

Nooope, sorry, just don't see how this is a bad thing.

It's one thing if the developers promised there'd be a thing at launch, and it isn't there when it launches, and wanting that thing is one of the reasons you bought it. Like when they announce a new console and promise there'll be games to play on it, and low and behold, no games (see: every console ever made or released ever)

But Early Access on steam? You can't level that complaint. They admit up front that the game isn't done yet. Hell, you could argue that that's one of the SELLING POINTS of the game, the fact it's incomplete, the fact you as a player can influence the continued development of the game with your input as you experience it. There's complete and 100% truth in advertising, they say "hey, this game isn't finished yet but if you still wanna buy it and play what IS there, you can." And people do. You can say people shouldn't buy it, but you can't say it doesn't have a right to price itself nor judge them for doing so.

I mean, god damn dude, "customers need to be forewarned"? Was the GIANT WARNING on the games page that says "YO THIS SHIT AINT FINISHED YET" not enough for you or something? I mean what could be LESS trustworthy than that? At least they're being honest about the game not being done.

So what are you complaining about? You might as well do an episode about how you saw a poster of a movie saying it had a certain actor in it, and then spend the whole video complaining that the movie did indeed have that actor it said it would have in it. If you didn't wanna see a movie with that actor in it, don't pay for a ticket to see it. It's that simple. Again, this isn't like what the AAA industry does where they say the game will have shit and low and behold they were lying.

Between this and the episode about how "Gamers" have a communal responsibility to police the internet and have no right to complain about being marginalized and categorized against their consent, I think Jim is slipping a bit. Don't punch down, Jim.

Rabid_meese:

If you are putting out an Alpha or Beta early access build, you should not be charging money for it - or, at the very least, the title should have been available at a heavy discount. They are selling an unfinished product and expecting the community to give feedback as to where the bugs are or how to make the game better - features that normally a company would have to pay for.

I was under the impression that in paying for an Early Access game like Starbound, what you've actually done is pay for Starbound. As in, the finished product. In that light, you DO get the alpha and/or beta free, because Chucklefish lets you have access that; something obviously preceding that finished product.

I could be completely (and scarily) wrong there; it doesn't seem to be required text or terms, from what I've seen.

Your point on charging intended retail price lands with me, though. Then again, if they're going to give you their completed build in time, then they still deserve their asking price. Even if the game wasn't to your liking, walking away with the experience of the game's skeleton for free or discounted seems a bit unfair, no[1]?

Overall, I highly recommend you look at Early Access as a donation process, or something very similar to Kickstarter (without most or all of the tiered rewards nonsense). The idea is to actively support the development of these games. That is, with money, so devs can eat and live, and perhaps also your feedback (at a point where it is more relevant, too), which is much more control and input than consumers ever get with a AAA product.

That roadmap you linked, while nice, is irrelevant - the average person isn't going to check out the companies website before buying a game.

Well then...thank you for making clear your sense of mediocrity in shopping discernment.

C'mon, dude, you can even ignore the general internet's advice of 'do your own research', but you can't just ignore the developers' OWN warning of the game's possible status, then turn around and complain. I'm going to bank on you NOT actually intending it that way, but painting the 'average person' in some negative tone just to defend your griping doesn't reflect well when it starts to fit your own actions.

[1] As long as you hold typical game return policy as fair

Early access seems to have the same problem greenlight does/has. Good concept but quickly flooded with crap with a few gems in the rough.

Early access seems to have the same problem greenlight does/has. Good concept but quickly flooded with crap with a few gems in the rough.

Those of us who were stupid enough (and I include myself in this camp) to buy Diablo 3 back when it released got exactly this sort of thing, an early access game. Though, it wasn't really called that at the time, that's exactly how it behaved. The game was very incomplete and missing several features at launch. The game was quite buggy and poorly balanced. The auction house was not necessarily a bad idea, but it was poorly implemented (to be honest, the economy could have been instantly fixed by charging a 0.5-1% listing fee on auctions to put pricing pressure on the sellers, rather than a 15% tax, which lead to sellers just inflating prices to account for not getting as much money as they would like due to the tax). The lack of compelling content was abysmal, and the loot system was an exercise in OCD masochism and futility (which seemed by design to force people to the auction house). We were charged the full, finished game price of $60 for something that really was nothing more than a blueprint for a game. The real game, for which we already paid, won't possibly be fleshed-out until Reaper of Souls, due out March 25th, at the cost of $39.99. That's right, we have to pay again to get the real, full game that we thought we had already purchased back in 2012. We weren't told that the release of Diablo 3 in 2012 was simply an "early access" version, but that's exactly what we were given, and now we have to pay again to get the finished game. PPPHHHBBBTTT!

All I can say to it all is the same thing I have said time and time, again: [b]Just stop buying it.[\b] As long as gamers continue to buy into this crap, game companies will keep dishing it out. A company only hears and understands two sounds: the creak of your wallet opening and the slap of your wallet closing. All other sounds are noise to be ignored. Until we back our complaints with that wallet slapping shut, things will never progress toward a better state for the gamer.

(Yeah, I'm not inclined to buy Reaper of Souls, not at release and not for $40. I'll wait and see what happens with the price dropping and a bunch of patches coming out. Even then, I probably still won't buy it just because I was that disgusted with Diablo 3.)

I've bought about 10 early access games so far, I was disappointed with three, but I've also seen Minecraft, Kerbal Space Program and Mount and Blade blossom from seedlings. Four of them are yet to be completed, but I find the play at least satisfactory for the price I paid. I also bought 7 days to die for $10. You really just have to accept that it's not totally finished and try to figure out what you're buying.

Also, any game that's a 2d side-scrolling sprite based "adventure" game should have a hand-written notice from the "universal authority of good games" before it's sold, because chances are some college student played limbo and thought he could do better.

TL:DR Consumers are dumb and companies are more than willing to scam them.

I for one can skip it heck I even wait till the GOTY is released before I buy it.

C.S.Strowbridge:
I've paid for early access a few times, but only when the game was in a state where it was fun to play and I would get a chance to make the game better. Also, it is much better when it is an $10 indie game, not $20 or $30 or more.

Same here. $20 is usually my limit. I'll participate in early access if it's under $20 and/or is it complete enough to function and for me to fully enjoy (like Starbound). While Early Access has been abused, it is up to the customer to decide where their money will go. If they're ok spending $60+ on an incomplete game and they're fully aware the game is incomplete, then it's on them and companies will take advantage of it as long as they know they can get away with it. Limits will be pushed. We just have to hope they don't go too far.

EDIT: I forgot to mention that seeing videos and first impressions of these early access games can also influence my decision, so thanks to all the reviewers, LPers, etc out there for helping people make better purchase decisions.

I don't mind the early access games on Steam - I can see them for what they are and just ignore them. It does annoy me when I buy a "finished product" with beta quality. I don't see a reason not to wait for the finished product.

randomthefox:
Nooope, sorry, just don't see how this is a bad thing...

Between this and the episode about how "Gamers" have a communal responsibility to police the internet and have no right to complain about being marginalized and categorized against their consent, I think Jim is slipping a bit. Don't punch down, Jim.

I was more under the impression Jim wanted us to strike down harassment where we saw it, rather than go out of our way to do so. That would certainly be more practical. And I imagine Jim's aware of the benefits of early access, but it is something that can be (and apparently has been) exploited

But I'm no mind reader, and I"m just some guy on the Internet, so make of that what you will.

Alot of companies and even indies do seem to be trying to charge for incomplete games and pass them off as early access, what even worse is with the game industries how it is your basically trusting that they finish this game you payed full price for and how it is with consumer and company trust they will probably exploit that.

Their are some good early access ones like jim stated, just recently i pre order my first game ever, its called next car game and i payed 35 dollars for fundamentally a tech demo, 2 cars and 3 tracks, am i pissed? Not at all because for starters i chose to pay the extra amount to get some extra stuff like wallpapers and other content when the game is finished but the real reason i was convinced to pre order it was simple, the demo area showing off the engine for the game in terms of fun is completely worth the price i have had so much fun just seeing what the hell the engine can do and how i as a player can push it (Basicaly you can compact your car in anyway you want, you can literally be a cube and that is brilliant).

If it had just been the steam early access by itself (The 3 tracks and two cars) I would never pay that amount for it but because along with that early access i got a fun as hell tech demo i was willing to fork out the cash just because i wanted to support the engine they use. (Remembering also they had a free version of the tech demo with less stuff in the playground and after i played that i thought to myself 'i want to do more in this playground, i want more ways to crush my car' so i spent the money on the payed playground and am still having hours of fun.)

Along with that BugBear seems to be a pretty trustworthy company, they went on crowdfunding and stuff because they are releasing this game without a publisher stating that they wanted to make a game they wanted to make and not be limited by what the publisher wants so that also why i payed cause i wanted to support them realeasing a game without publisher restrictions.

TL:DR Some people exploit early access and that sucks, but their are some good early access ones like jim stated and people are more likely to buy Early Access games if you have some cool side content aswell a good example is next car game by bugbear which has a demo showing what the game engine can do because they only have a few things in early access on steam you can also choose whether to pay 20$,30$40$ ect and get additional content because of that (wallpapers, a special car and more).

Jimothy Sterling:
You don't pay for the Jimquisition.

Sorry Jim, I do, via The Escapist Pub Club subscription. And others pay via being exposed to advertisers. Just because you don't charge money directly per episode, doesn't mean people aren't paying for it by other means.

Hey Jim, in Version 1.42 can you also include the part where companies will charge EXTRA for the "privilege" of playing a broken buggy game early. IE Payday 2's "paid preview" beta that was level capped and had no real feedback being used. Or The worst offender Planetary Annihilation who charged $90 for the alpha, $60 for the beta and $40 to pre-order. No joke the games Alpha was an extra $30, and the beta an extra $20 just to play. Also how about the "soft launch" titles that fail miserably in beta but continue to exploit its customers IE: Firefall or mechwarrior online.

Sometimes the addition of content can be troublesome. I've played World of Tanks a LOT during the early stages, but abandoned it when they added tanks which, from my point of view, messed up the game I wanted to continue playing.

Another problem is simply boredom. I got bored with Minecraft after a while, and I find myself close to abandoning Kerbal Space Program for a while, just so that I don't get bored with it too. In both cases, the Mods are actually the problem. I'm proud to say that after a few weeks of tweaking, I've got my Kerbal Space Program game close to perfection, with tons of features which, let's face it, will probably never get into vanilla. But every time they make a new patch, I have to wait for the mods to catch up, when some of the modders quit or just take too long to update. At the same time, the patches just don't keep up with promised features. Heck, I've got so used to the sandbox mode of the game that the new science career mode seems weird to me.

Problem number 2 is... well, Youtube. You'll find hundreds of videos of these games in various beta releases. Most of these videos are just clutter now. All in all, even promising games will fall into boredom after a while, with gamers and devs alike falling into complacency.

On the other hand, the system does work with some types of games, mainly race sims. The early access of Assetto Corsa was a nice surprise for me, in terms of driving quality, my only fear being that I have no idea how much of the good tracks/cars will be reserved for DLC.

And Jim Sterling shows yet again that he's got his finger on the pulse of gaming. Congratulations, sir.

On the issue, I wholeheartedly agree. During the last Steam sale, I instantly skipped anything with an "Early Access" stamp on it. My time is limited, so I don't spend it on unfinished games. But the question one has to ask is probably: "How early is too early". That's hard to say and even has to be done on a per-game basis. Word of mouth is most important here, but there's still always too much room to abuse this system.

Early Access games should be "pay what you want": It's not finished yet, so pay what you think the currently available state is worth. Then when the game has been finished, you pay a small amount to unlock the full version, and from then on new buyers pay the ordinary full price, which is higher than the unlocking price. That'd be fair IMHO.

In terms of how to review them: there should be no scores attached. They should be handled like previews.

Regarding Minecraft's model: You could buy the beta for about $13 (I believe) but now if you buy the finished product it's $20. Sometimes on Kickstarter there will be a limited number of digital copies at $15 & then an infinite number at $25, incentivizing people to contribute sooner. I understand that some treat the "early access" as a sort of pre-order & that's fine. But Jim is correct in saying that the popularity of this business model creates a new avenue for consumer exploitation. It could lead to a new understanding of "abandon-ware"

Whem you buy a game this early, you are in fact, founding the project. Yes you are paying for an idea, yes you will be a tester and no, this isn't new. This sort of thing exist a long time ago whem the indie games are know as community games.

Aardvaarkman:

Jimothy Sterling:
You don't pay for the Jimquisition.

Sorry Jim, I do, via The Escapist Pub Club subscription. And others pay via being exposed to advertisers. Just because you don't charge money directly per episode, doesn't mean people aren't paying for it by other means.

Sorry Mr. Clever, The Jimquisition is not Pub Club exclusive. It's free content.

Elberik:

Sorry Mr. Clever, The Jimquisition is not Pub Club exclusive. It's free content.

If it's free, then what are the ads for? Anything carrying advertising technically isn't free. So it's not just Pub Club members who are paying.

And I didn't pay for the Pub Club for exclusives, but rather to support The Escapist in general, and to get rid of advertising. So, sorry, the shows that I watch like The Jimquisition are exactly why I subscribe to The Escapist. I don't think I've ever even seen anything on the site that was Pub Club exclusive.

loa:

Also gta 5 was never early access, that was just an incomplete release, the difference being that an early access title at least outright tells you it is incomplete while you're in for a happy surprise with the incomplete release if you didn't read reviews.

I think that GTA 5 is a really poor example. I think the delay of the multiplayer launch was perfectly valid, and I think it was deliberately delayed for good reasons, not because they needed to finish development.

Everybody knew that GTA V was going to be a massive release. Sony and Microsoft's servers would have taken a pretty significant beating from just the single-player version being downloaded en masse. Imagine if everybody had also been immediately jumping into multiplayer mode? They would have been absolutely hammered.

Aside from the technical reasons, it's also good from a gaming perspective, to give people a chance to play the story and try the game out before being pressured into playing multiplayer.

Is the point of this episode not to buy early access games that are bad?
Pretty basic point to me.

Isn't early access much better than Kickstarter? Atleast you get some product along with the promises. People seem to throw money at that.

I feel like I do pay for Jimquisition. I sit through the god awful commercials that seem to plague this site more and more. And I think other people pay to have the commercials removed.

If an indie studio is working on a game I find interesting I will 100% considering buying it early access. I would put my money down with the hope that the game gets made into something I really like but with the knowledge that it may not.

As long as a developer is up front about it I don't mind one bit. Now a AAA game, where there is a large development team and a large publisher backing it, hell no, they have the money to cover development themselves.

EDIT: The only early access game I have bought so far, Starbound, is already enough game for me to me feel like I MORE than got my money's worth. Nobody complained when Notch did it, of course he didn't call it early access, he just did early access.

Aardvaarkman:

Elberik:

Sorry Mr. Clever, The Jimquisition is not Pub Club exclusive. It's free content.

If it's free, then what are the ads for? Anything carrying advertising technically isn't free. So it's not just Pub Club members who are paying.

If you think you are deserving of infinite entertainment at no personal cost to you then just use adblocker like everyone else & stop acting like you're somehow entitled to free content. Honestly your argument has no moral ground.

UsefulPlayer 1:
I feel like I do pay for Jimquisition. I sit through the god awful commercials that seem to plague this site more and more. And I think other people pay to have the commercials removed.

I also feel that "I'm immune from criticism because it's free" is a terrible argument, and one that Jim wouldn't put up with in other contexts. In fact, hasn't Jim done episodes bemoaning "free to play" games?

"Oh sure, our games are crippled to try to get you to buy in-game DLC - but you don't have to pay, so how can you criticise our game?"

vxicepickxv:
It didn't start with Minecraft, it started with Windows.

Except not.

Elberik:
If you think you are deserving of infinite entertainment at no personal cost to you then just use adblocker like everyone else & stop acting like you're somehow entitled to free content. Honestly your argument has no moral ground.

Wait, when did I ever say that? I said I do pay for The Escapist content via a Pub Club subscription, and others pay via ads. In fact, I wish more sites would offer subscription instead of advertising. I claimed no entitlement to free anything.

You were the one claiming that it was "free content" - I was pointing out that there is a cost, and calling it free is misleading. You seem to have totally changed your argument.

I can more or less forgive indies for subscribing to the Early Access philosophy, because it allows them to turn their first round of players into playtesters. All they need to do is set the client to send reports automatically or otherwise ask the players if they can data-mine the game's files in case of a crash or instability issue. That's not all that bad, considering how I doubt everyone rolls in Mojang-sized bank and has the means to furnish a decent QA department. Sacrifices have to be made if you're part of a small team.

What I can't forgive, however, is stuff like Planetary Annihilation, on Steam. An indie game, one with no prior track record on its devs and nothing but its own super-ambitious design tenets to hold it together, marketed as an Early Access game - for ninety freaking bucks.

Ninety dollars. You can fuck right off, if that's what you're going to try and pass off as an Early Access product: something that feels like a cross between a light RTS and Spore and that objectively shouldn't warrant this kind of obscene price tag.

I also can't forgive things like Day One, DayZ's current state, or 100 Ways to Die. There's Early Access, and then there's expecting players to slog through a gimped version of your product because you haven't bothered to work on a Crouching feature before packing your late Beta off and onto Greenlight.

There's also a point where Early Access really feels like you're being given free keys to the candy store, while being vaguely aware that the game pushing out its final build would mean you'd lose your Cash Shop privileges. Mechwarrior Online felt rather egregious in this aspect, to the point where I just can't bring myself to play it again. It's a business model that, I feel, goes swimmingly well with Freemium la Candy Crush.

Aardvaarkman:

Elberik:
If you think you are deserving of infinite entertainment at no personal cost to you then just use adblocker like everyone else & stop acting like you're somehow entitled to free content. Honestly your argument has no moral ground.

Wait, when did I ever say that? I said I do pay for The Escapist content via a Pub Club subscription, and others pay via ads. In fact, I wish more sites would offer subscription instead of advertising. I claimed no entitlement to free anything.

You were the one claiming that it was "free content" - I was pointing out that there is a cost, and calling it free is misleading. You seem to have totally changed your argument.

No. I took your language to mean that you disagreed with the Escapist's use of adspace & subscriptions. If I assumed too much then I apologize. But the fact remains that I can navigate through most of the Escapist's website without paying a dime (with or without adblocker). I believe that classifies it as "free".

Now, if your argument is that every second of your life has monetary value and that watching a 30sec ad or clicking past a popup counts as "paying" then that's a different discussion altogether.

I'm a bit conflicted about steam early access myself. On the one hand I like that indies are getting some actual funding to make the games with this way and hopefully can turn out some somewhat decent niche titles. The main drawback that I see isn't so much about putting out or paying for an unfinished game, but that many of these games will NEVER finish. They are going to linger in early access alpha with new and often half baked ideas constantly thrown in and then left half done forever, and I think that because of this we are going to see a lot less titles that actually feel complete and well designed. The ones that do "officially" leave the alpha/beta stage do so with practically no change in the development model and almost completely under the radar to the point that you probably won't even know the beta has ended even if you own the game already.

Elberik:

No. I took your language to mean that you disagreed with the Escapist's use of adspace & subscriptions. If I assumed too much then I apologize. But the fact remains that I can navigate through most of the Escapist's website without paying a dime (with or without adblocker). I believe that classifies it as "free".

I think that this misperception has been highly damaging to online media. Just look at the mobile app and gaming space, for example. So many App Store reviews will crap all over very decent, honest games if they aren't free, or cost more than a dollar. Such is the culture that has developed that so many consider anything online should be free.

(And the irony is that many of these same people will happily spend $5 on a coffee, or a crappy fast food meal, which doesn't require skilled programmers and a high development budget to create.)

And games aren't cheap to develop. Somebody has to pay those programmers. And of course, the big fad is "free to play" with micro transactions in games - and publishers have worked out the psychology behind that, so that the "free" games end up costing more if you want to get any sort of enjoyment or longevity out of them.

So, people end up paying $20 to hundreds of dollars in DLC and micro transactions for the "free" game, while they could have bought a decent, honest game with no ads and no micro transactions for between $5 and $20. Yet the honest developer is harmed, because apparently charging up-front for something is a crime against humanity.

Yeah, so calling things "free" and "monetising" them by other revenue models is a real problem when it comes to a healthy content industry. Which is why I wish more people saw the costs, rather than the smoke and mirrors that are put there.

Now, if your argument is that every second of your life has monetary value that that watching a 30sec ad or clicking past a popup counts as "paying" then that's a different discussion altogether.

It's not just time, it's quality of life and attention. It's not so much that every second I would be earning money, but I already have enough distractions. And we only have a certain number of hours a day to pay attention to things. So, I'd rather not spend my time looking at ads.

But really, when it comes down to it, is that advertisers pay for those ads to be placed. So the advertisers obviously think it's worth their money to pay for your attention. And the content makers use the advertising money to fund content creation. None of that would work if there wasn't a viewer to look at the ads. So, ultimately, it's not what you or I consider our time and attention to be worth - it's what the site is able to sell our time and attention to advertisers for.

So, no, I wouldn't consider advertising-driven content to be "free" because the market is clearly putting a value on our attention, and that attention is being sold to advertisers.

Aardvaarkman:

*snip*

I wouldn't consider advertising-driven content to be "free" because the market is clearly putting a value on our attention, and that attention is being sold to advertisers.

So when you initially chastised Jim for calling his video "free" you were saying that it (the video) had a monetary value even though you (the viewer) could see it without having to pay* for it?

*I know you pay the Pub Club subscription but you did not have to directly pay $0.99 to watch the video.

Elberik:
So when you initially chastised Jim for calling his video "free" you were saying that it (the video) had a monetary value even though you (the viewer) could see it without having to pay* for it?

Well, yes.

Elberik:
*I know you pay the Pub Club subscription but you did not have to directly pay $0.99 to watch the video.

But The Escapist doesn't sell individual shows and articles separately. It's a package deal, much like Cable TV, where you pay for a bunch of channels, some you may watch all the time, and some you may never watch.

I have a hunch that Zero Punctuation, Loading Ready Run and The Jimquisition are fairly "high value" assets to The Escapist, given that they likely drive most of the traffic to the site (I obviously don't have web traffic data, though). For me, Zero Punctuation and Extra Credits were the main reasons I took out a subscription. I would guess that Yahtzee drives a ton of revenue, both directly from here, and via the YouTube channel.

If anything, the advertising model does work on a "per episode" basis. But subscriptions help maintain a baseline for keeping the site running.

Aardvaarkman:

Elberik:
So when you initially chastised Jim for calling his video "free" you were saying that it (the video) had a monetary value even though you (the viewer) could see it without having to pay* for it?

Well, yes.

Elberik:
*I know you pay the Pub Club subscription but you did not have to directly pay $0.99 to watch the video.

But The Escapist doesn't sell individual shows and articles separately. It's a package deal, much like Cable TV, where you pay for a bunch of channels, some you may watch all the time, and some you may never watch.

I have a hunch that Zero Punctuation, Loading Ready Run and The Jimquisition are fairly "high value" assets to The Escapist, given that they likely drive most of the traffic to the site (I obviously don't have web traffic data, though). For me, Zero Punctuation and Extra Credits were the main reasons I took out a subscription. I would guess that Yahtzee drives a ton of revenue, both directly from here, and via the YouTube channel.

If anything, the advertising model does work on a "per episode" basis. But subscriptions help maintain a baseline for keeping the site running.

Wow, that went well. Nice talking to you.

 Pages PREV 1 2 3 4 5 6 NEXT

Reply to Thread

Log in or Register to Comment
Have an account? Login below:
With Facebook:Login With Facebook
or
Username:  
Password:  
  
Not registered? To sign up for an account with The Escapist:
Register With Facebook
Register With Facebook
or
Register for a free account here