To provide a market for what’s becoming a common trend in PC development, and to prevent any painful misunderstandings, Steam has added a dedicated portal for “Early Access” games. Basically, they’re pulling all the paid alpha / beta business into one place and legitimizing the practice.
Not to imply the practice is illegitimate at all, it’s just all codified now.
Some big names are in the initial slate of Early Access titles: Arma III, Gnomoria, Kerbal Space Program, StarForge, and Prison Architect are currently available to buy and play. The store pages also spell out exactly what your early purchase includes when the game is eventually done for reals.
Also there’s a game called Drunken Robot Pornography. That’s just fantastic.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, whatever it takes to get great games funded and delivered is fine by me. I guess organ trafficking is probably not OK. Regardless, this is a great way for indie developers to tune their games and get some operating capital.
Like other Steam games, Early Access titles will support automatic updates and community features like guides, screenshots, forums, etc.
PC gaming, y’all.