PS4 to Welcome Early Access Games

Sony's Adam Boyes considers opening PlayStation 4 to early access games.

The same type of program that brought to Steam sleeper hits like Rust, Forest, and DayZ may be coming to the PlayStation Network’s store, according to an E3 2014 interview between Gamasutra’s Kris Graft and Sony’s VP of developer and public relations, Adam Boyes.

Boyes expressed interest in inviting developers to release their games for digital download at the PSN store in early alpha or beta stage, reminiscent of the Early Access program on Valve’s popular PC gaming site, Steam.

As with Steam’s program, these incomplete games would be paid for by the consumers—normally about half the price of a new AAA title—with the promise of incremental updates until the titles reach their completion.

The premise of this model is that it allows for very low-budget developers to share their visions with the consumers. The hope is that money generated from these alpha purchases will help to fund the continued work on the games, something which Boyes addressed in the interview:

I want to help bootstrap people, [. . .] to help them out. Like supporting the underdog of a sports team.

This also allows the developers direct communication with the consumers about potential bugs and glitches, essentially making testers out of the investors.

Obviously this model comes with its own issues, a debate which was had in the comments section of GameSpot’s write-up of the interview, and which is covered very evenly and thoroughly in a video by Extra Credits:

 But what do you think? Is this a positive good? Or the opposite? Or something in the middle? Should gamers pay for what could arguably be considered glorified demos? Or should gamers take control of what they play by investing in interesting projects? 

Published Jul. 12th 2014
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