Bad stigma attached to Early Access?

Discussion in 'Game Design, Development And Publishing' started by HayManMarc, Feb 6, 2018.

  1. MilesThatch

    MilesThatch Member

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    What about the many devs that do not have a game on steam already? Also a game that has this many ratings to solidify that mark has been on the market for a while and is a game that is way past going to Early Access (IF you are using that to judge whether you should commit to EA for this game based on that rating)

    Also every single developer out there has 1 Great game per 7 Bad failures. This is always the case and you will never get a developer with a 100% Success Rate. That's the reality. What that rating does NOT tell you is whether this game they are working on NOW is that grand success. Refer to this in regards:

     
  2. RichHopefulComposer

    RichHopefulComposer Member

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    @Ghost in the IDE: I agree that Steam is self regulating... after awhile. You can't tell whether a developer is going to flake on a project a year in by looking at their game's first month reviews.

    You *might* be able to predict their future behavior if you take a more holistic approach to analyzing the developer, like Miles is suggesting.
     
  3. MilesThatch

    MilesThatch Member

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    @Ghost in the IDE: Again, you are can't look at reviews as the ULTIMATE judge of character of the developer. Because a game may have a 65% rating and you Still have a blast playing it because it catered to your interest. That game still as 35% satisfied Niche market and maybe that is all it takes to make the game happen and still be a profitable - Not incredibly but also not being a complete failure. Hell I myself enjoyed Fallout 3, despite what many others say and dispute the fact that it now has abysmal ratings on steam.

    The only reliable review you can rely on is YOUR OWN.
     
  4. Lonewolff

    Lonewolff Member

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    And they'll have 3 Twitter followers and no back story. How do you police the new guy?


    If this is the average, then everyone who does an EA is screwed. Might be the nicest people on the planet but going by past history, it tells you not to back them. Or anyone for that matter.
     
  5. Lonewolff

    Lonewolff Member

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    That's the thing. 35% hate it, the others might love it.

    If they catch the 'police' on a cranky day, the EA dev is also gone. Who are we to 'police' this?

    Just comes down to common sense and look in to what you are buying.

    Massive huge thread for a 'common sense' subject.
     
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  6. MilesThatch

    MilesThatch Member

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    Judging using a Simple Rating is far worse than "judging the book by it's cover". Because you're bringing hours of work, creation, programming, art creation, animation and story telling... down into a couple of digital numbers. That doesn't sound like a proper assessment of a game. That sounds like being lazy. If you, however relied on a ONE user - One reviewer who YOU know shares your interests and Most of his suggestions have yelded in your enjoyment of the medium - then Their opinion might be better relied on to assess a game. But that's not what you're using here. Hell, most of these people probably don't share even a quarter of interests you do. And again that game could have had that one thing that would have hooked you and you will never know because that one number is all you used to judge it. Not reliable.
     
  7. Lonewolff

    Lonewolff Member

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    Really? If 99 people say stay away from 'Bob' because he is a thief, but your mate says 'Nah, Bob's good'. I'd be worried.

    If your proposed system works that way then it will be open to some massive manipulation. Far worse than 'peer reviews'.

    What you are proposing sounds a lot like GameJolt - Eeeek! :confused:
     
  8. MilesThatch

    MilesThatch Member

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    But you don't know that. You don't know if this game will bomb until you yourself review it and the developer behind it.


    No-one's here to police. We're here to create a guide inform of what the users should look at to make an informed desciison.

    Big red flag, You're better holding off your money until they start posting more. See how often they post and what the post about. You inform the user and yourself be informed that this is what you have to look for.If they have a new twitter, Look for other accounts - Game Jolt, IndieDB etc. If there's nothing - again Red Flag. Hold on until more data comes to light. You don't rush. If you rush with this decision, you can get screwd.


    That's what I'm getting at. But most who lose out will blame the developer. This is where we point them to "The Guide" and tell them to be more informed. If they didn't read it - they deserve it. All successful projects have shared traits and all failed projects have shared traits. You identify and differentiate them If you find bad rates in a game you're looking at to support via EA, you wait, you ask the developer, you see what or IF they say anything. You don't rush.

    The whole premise of the Hype train is to make the user give money without thinking or asking questions.
     
  9. MilesThatch

    MilesThatch Member

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    yeah Except you just went the "Extreme Scenario" that will never happen. Because according to your Steam Review Pic it's more like 35 People said Bob is ok, While the rest 65 say otherwise. Now it's real and not some absurd ratio you just pulled out of thin air. Now you gotta think for yourself because 35 people is NOT 1 person... Now you have to rely on your OWN judjement.'


    PS also I read that Rating wrong, It says 65% Positive which only makes my point stronger. Now it's 65 out of a 100 people saying Bob is OK. I see people always making up these ridiculous irrelevant ratings like 1 person out of 99 says this, who are you going to trust. You have to stay within the bounds of reality there and the reality is that it's not that simple.
     
    Last edited: Feb 6, 2018
  10. MilesThatch

    MilesThatch Member

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    But lets say a Guide is a terrible idea.

    What is YOUR solution?
     
  11. MilesThatch

    MilesThatch Member

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    last time I checked Game Jot Did not have a "How to decide whether a project you're looking at is a good idea to support via EA"
     
  12. Siolfor the Jackal

    Siolfor the Jackal Member

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    Sort of off-topic but I think it's a bit lame that devs are expected to be so social. I feel like if I ever get time to work on more serious projects that they will suffer because I don't really use twitter and I don't have accounts all over the place on those places like GameJolt or Itch or wherever.
     
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  13. Lonewolff

    Lonewolff Member

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    There is no solution, because nothing is broken.

    Lets just say it is all broken for a second.

    How is a dev ranked in this system?

    Does a dev with say 1,000 Twitter followers automatically get a better rating than one with 100 followers? How's it work?


    For sure! Very well said.
     
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  14. RichHopefulComposer

    RichHopefulComposer Member

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    Yep, I posted about this the other day saying the same thing. I'm going to ramp up on Twitter a month before KS. It's just a lot of time that could be spent working on my game instead.

    I honestly don't think it'll affect the KS too much. I think people mostly judge what's shown, which is fine by me.
     
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  15. MilesThatch

    MilesThatch Member

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    It IS lame and yes you could be spending time working on the game. But that is only a requirement if you do not have a marketing department / marketing budget or any other outsourced promotional solution to do the advertising and spreading the word about the game for you. This is for developers who HAVE to promote it by themselves because they don't have the budget to do so automatically or with a hired expert. If you have a marketing budget you let IT do the promoting for you and you can commit to game development. The social thing is a marketing strategy for starting game developers.

    Again. You keep thinking that what I'm proposing is some sort of IMDB or Kotaku or Rotten Tomatoes for Game Devs. I'm NOT. It may have carried over from the previous conversation earlier today.

    I'm proposing a guide that will make the consumer wiser and more susceptible / aware of common Red Flags that signify that this project will get abandoned as that is the top most last statement of a failed project - project abandoned.
     
  16. Lonewolff

    Lonewolff Member

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    But you said earlier that a low Twitter following was a big red flag. Is a large following a green light?
     
  17. MilesThatch

    MilesThatch Member

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    yes, it's a Big red Flag. When YOU as a consumer has taken the time to initiate the research. No, you don't rate devs by their follower count. If you see they don't have many followers. You contact them, you ask more about the game. The Guide would offer the questions you'd have to ask and seek answers for - be it from the game presentation page or from the developer themselves if they didn't mention it anywhere. Again you can't rely on a rating of anything as an ultimate measuring stick.

    PS as I also said, twitter is not the only place a developer can hang around. If you generally se very little presence on the web - meaning the developer doesn't post many updates, and the updates are inconsistent, perhaps you'd get a few updates every week but before then it was 3 months since the last one. If they generally don't have a strong online presence then you wait until you have more data to work with. A developer truly passionate about their project would put a little bit more effort into promoting their game.
     
  18. Lonewolff

    Lonewolff Member

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    Cool, just so long as I know.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 15, 2018
  19. Kobold

    Kobold Member

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    ...so true.
    I've opened this halfway abandoned facebook page to document my progress (and I ****ing suck at social media... believe it or not but I own a smartphone without any service ..all it does is connecting my rendering mainframe to the internet through USB tethering via Wifi).
    The age of self-promotion ... I don't have time for this either. My project is more important than hanging around promoting my project every day on a hundred social media platforms.
     
  20. MilesThatch

    MilesThatch Member

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    How many times did I say that follower count doesn't make you a good developer. Analysis of your behavior and online pretense does. You could have made all those followers posting memes all day long.

    Yeah. Unfortunately it's just one of thise things you have to learn as a game developer. There's much more to game dev than just game dev.

     
  21. Lonewolff

    Lonewolff Member

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    There are no memes here at all. I hate memes.

    Those were statistical facts. I do have 77K followers.

    And as I pointed out I have the #14 highest rating in the world on steam concepts.

    So if you start adding up my social presence, I am starting to look pretty good. I won't have to have had any skill as a dev. Just good marketing strategies.

    You seem to be more concerned about a system that isn't nessesarily geared to your own personal financial motivations, rather than getting out and making a great game. Doesn't that sound alarm bells to you?

    EA is fine the way it is. It is what it is.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 6, 2018
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  22. MilesThatch

    MilesThatch Member

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    Except there's no way you got to that 77K followers by NOT being a good game developer and NOT being able to present your game, So in that retrospect - yes, if you play your cards right, you'd get a successful Early Access Campaign. Whether it will actually be successful will still depend on your marketing abilities, ability to hook the players in and sell the idea.

    BUT

    you once might again get lost in the purpose of the guide. it's not to concentrate of what makes a good developer - that is obvious and mandatory - it's more to deter bad developers. Since, again - it's the bad developers who ruined the name of EA. And if you Are a bad developer then you got to that 77k Doing something else you're good at, in which case you'd be much more likely selling a product of service in THAT than you would a video game. The EA reputation wasn't ruined by good Devs. It was ruined by Bad ones. So if you display any of the behaviors or traits that other Devs displayed when their projects failed - even with that massive following count, the user base would be advised to stay away from you unless you show more promise and progress than those traits. Just because the apple's green, doesn't mean it's poisonous.
     
  23. Lonewolff

    Lonewolff Member

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    Really?

    I could start a new Twitter account tomorrow and have 1000 followers by the end of the week.

    Hell, I even gave @Zuurix his account of 10K followers.

    https://twitter.com/Zuurix_The_Dev

    I have another spare account with 6K.
     
  24. MilesThatch

    MilesThatch Member

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    And how did you earn those followers?
     
  25. Lonewolff

    Lonewolff Member

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    Not by posting memes or being an awesome dev. ;)
     
  26. MilesThatch

    MilesThatch Member

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    Unless it's a Retweet Bot, the user would be informed enough to know if it is one.

    Again, this is where analysis of the dev comes in. If the users (not your active followers) doesn't see you posting anything for a while at a time about the game you're trying to get them to commit to then again - Red Flag.
     
  27. MilesThatch

    MilesThatch Member

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    As I said, making the guide - it's not something that can be done overnight. One would have to analyze the failed EA games, ther devs activities during the development, etc. It's a plethora of bread crumbs of behavioral data that you'd have to go through to identify these traits. It's hard but it's not impossible. Business analysts have done way more complicated analysis of stock investments. Most game devs wouldn't even be aware of the sort of track covering that would be used to hide bad business practices so it's won't be that difficult.
     
  28. MilesThatch

    MilesThatch Member

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    Anyways. I'm off for the night... 3am here. I've done all the game dev I could for this day xD. It's all music writing tomorrow as I'm not quite happy with the music I've got now.
     
  29. Zuurix

    Zuurix Member

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    Yeah, @Ghost in the IDE, I used that 10K Twitter account and realized it's useless. It used to get 10 retweets VS 5 retweets on my other original account with <100 followers.
    And then it no matter how much retweets it gets, no people reach the Steam store page.

    Eventually, I stopped trying getting players from Twitter.
    It makes more sense just to wait for people to discover game on Steam.

    Speaking of Early Access, my game has been in EA since May 2016. I made about ~1500€, which wouldn't have happened if I wasn't in EA, so I'm glad I'm my game is in EA.
    I also have 38 positive reviews out of 40, so the full release will be with good backing. I'm hoping to make a lot of sales when game will leave EA.

    For my next game, I'll try to do without EA and see how it goes.
     
  30. Lonewolff

    Lonewolff Member

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    Nope, no retweet bots. And the users were extremely active when I was using the account.

    Getting to #14 on Steam was directly related to the whole exercise. Completely replicatable and legit.

    Maybe I am a master of marketing, who knows?


    Hehe, you are doing it wrong then. Which I have noticed in the drop off of your followers. In all fairness you haven't posted anything on there in eight months, so I am not sure what you expect.

    The below engagement was as a direct result of my Twitter strategy. I have no other social media accounts.

    [​IMG]

    I remember asking the question once if I should do a Kickstarter on my Twitter account. I had 1000 likes on that post. Wish I kept it that post. :D


    So the moral to the story. Anyone can look like a master coder and make a system work in their favour. Having some sort of governing body or guides will never change that.


    P.S. Can I has my 10K followers back? :p
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 6, 2018
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  31. Zuurix

    Zuurix Member

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    So what is your strategy? Tweeting 10 times a day?
     
  32. Lonewolff

    Lonewolff Member

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    We'll certainly not once every eight months, that's for sure. :D

    But, no I'd be lucky to tweet a couple of times a week.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 6, 2018
  33. HayManMarc

    HayManMarc Member

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    It's not too hard to get followers if you tweet at least a few times a week and know how to use hash tags. I hardly use twitter anymore, but when I do and it's something gamedev related, especially if it feels important or creative, I end up with at least 2 new followers.

    I still think a "guide" would just end up being hacked. What's to stop that shady dev from reading your guide and producing a facade to match? Sure, it would take some work, but that's what con artists do.

    If you were going to make something to highlight "good" devs, I guess you'd have to make some kind of "indie dev union". Something where the dev has a portfolio, bio, profile, and history that lays it all out plain as day. After a while, if this "union" does the job of providing good info for game consumers, they'll earn a reputation. Then their "union stamp of approval" will really mean something when they slap it on an unknown dev. But even then, it's susceptible to corruption since people can be bought.
     
  34. Niels

    Niels Member

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    Not gonna read all the text, but IMO early acces should be canned...
    It's a whole industry running on unfinished crap with the promise/excuse of "one day it will be good".
    Those halfbaked projects either get abandoned because no one plays it or it gets a succes and devs don't feel the need to ever finish it...
     
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  35. Zuurix

    Zuurix Member

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    Bad developers should be canned, not Early Access.
     
  36. Niels

    Niels Member

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    No the whole concept is wrong... release a free demo or ask people to beta-test your game if you want feedback, the whole "pay up front for a skeleton of a product that might one day be awesome" concept is all wrong IMO
     
  37. sitebender

    sitebender Member

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    Well... there are devs that bluntly abandon Early Access projects citing "the money ran out" and that's a good enough reason to abandon any money making project. Then, when they go to Kickstarter for the next project people laugh and bring up the failed Early Access project.

    There was one project recently that came out of Early Access because 15 people bought the game or so they claim. It came out of Early Access to let it sell more as it died. They even specified it in a forum post.

    I've seen other projects stay in Early Access until they harvested enough reviews for a better chance of success with its full release.

    Another Early Access project I've seen quickly wrapped up slapped an "episode 1" on the name. 4 years later and no episode 2. They moved on to other games.

    One way to do things would be release the game for free, build an audience enough to get feedback and 2 - 3 years later take it to Steam with a paying audience. I've seen that work for several developers.

    So far for me, Prison Architect has been the greatest Early Access game.
     
    Last edited: Feb 6, 2018
  38. MilesThatch

    MilesThatch Member

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    Well the only other way @Ghost in the IDE could have gotten all those followers is, he either bought them from one of those shady hacked account sellers or... lets face it. @Ghost in the IDE, You're a Cam Girl Aren't you? lmao.

    I'm just kidding. If your follower base is active about following you, then you can sell your idea to them. We won't know what kind of a developer you are until you either fail or triumph.
     
    Last edited: Feb 6, 2018
  39. MilesThatch

    MilesThatch Member

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    But anyways. So many people taking shots at Early Access, it's sad. It's a Tool. A damn good one if used correctly. Why hate the tool when it's clearly the shoddy users who use it incorrectly who should be blamed. With the claims EA should die, you're not only stopping Bad devs from abandoning their games (which, btw won't stop that, they'll just use other methods like IndieGoGo and Kickstarter) but you're also dooming those who stick by their work and can benefit from it and know how to use the system correctly.


    And just like any tool. It needs to be taken care of.
     
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  40. 11clock

    11clock Member

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    Or maybe devs should stop selling games that are not finished yet. The concept of EA was bad to begin with.
     
  41. MilesThatch

    MilesThatch Member

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    What was bad about growing capital to afford better art, better music, better voice overs for your game? If you have presented your game and the game plan, if you put in the effort, you absolutely deserve a little help to get the game to fruition.

    The point of EA is NOT to sell unfinished games as a Dev but to show your Support as a user to the developer you believe in. Frankly if you think that all Early Access is - is selling unfinished games prematurely then you'd fall straight into the category of devs who should not be given the opportunity to go Early Access since you wouldn't use it correctly either way.
     
    Last edited: Feb 6, 2018
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  42. RichHopefulComposer

    RichHopefulComposer Member

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    I think EA is good for modular games that can be added onto piece by piece. If the funding and development stop on those, it's usually no big deal to the customers, since a lot of people buy to play what's already available. It doesn't really matter if a game without an ending is never officially finished. PUBG, Ark, Rust, etc are good examples of this. People have fun with them even in their half finished state, and will probably get bored with them before the games get officially finished anyway.

    Games that have tight stories or linear single player experiences (rpgs, platformers, etc) should probably stay away from EA. If those sorts of games don't get finished, it *does* matter. Those are the sorts of games I wouldn't buy on EA unless it was money I considered a pure donation to the developer.

    EA can be good and bad. I think it does lead to a lot of half finished games, though.
     
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  43. Zuurix

    Zuurix Member

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    You can do that, but you'll get less feedback than you would if you released EA.
    Maybe none. If you get rating-sniped on GameJolt, no one will ever get to your game.
    On IndieDB and Itch.io - no one ever gets to your game or care to comment.
    TIG is pretty bad for feedback, GMC is also not amazing.

    Steam EA is best for this.

    And if you're making a big game, you need A LOT more feedback than those small sites are capable of providing.
    I don't see how it's a bad concept. Like I said, my game is EA and it doesn't harm anyone.
    It's just me getting feedback and being sheltered from taxes while working on the large project.

    Besides, if you would remove Early Access, what would prevent bad developers from releasing the unfinished game as finished?
     
  44. MilesThatch

    MilesThatch Member

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    Well let's be honest here. EA has nothing to do with a game not being finished. EA doesn't enchant some magical spell that makes games fail. It's like blaming a spoon for you getting fat. It's what the developers philosophy and practices in game development are. If the developer has the wrong intentions, wrong core philosophy and bad game plan, then no amount of early access will save them. And if the developer reconsiders After getting a successful Early Access Campaign then - again it's the developers fault. Not EAs. They have used the tool for the worn purpose.

    And stopping Bad devs from getting backed via EA by killing Early Access is NOT a solution. It's not that simple. You're not addressing the CORE problem of the issue by killing off a tool.

    We, as developers and as gamers have to stop using Early Access as a scapegoat for the real issue at stake - Bad Project Management.
     
    Last edited: Feb 6, 2018
  45. 11clock

    11clock Member

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    As said I am against EA, so why would I want the opportunity? Bottom line is you are selling a game that is not finished. Not only that, but relying on EA as your source of income for development isn’t stable. A kickstarter would be more stable as you need a minimum requirement, but Kickstarter has its own problems.

    Admittedly I have used early access as a compromise for not being ready by my team’s deadline, and needed a few more months of development, but the game was already nearly finished. Early access is something I would rather avoid in the future, we used it begrudgingly back then.
     
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  46. MilesThatch

    MilesThatch Member

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    Bottom line? Far from it. That's the second time you've said "you are selling a game that is not finished" which leads me to believe you do not know What Early Access is all about and how it is meant to be used. I don't blame you, because it's been used the wrong way for so long that you start believing that's how it's meant to be used. The bottom line is, You're using Early Access Wrong if you think all EA is - is selling an unfinished game. You're using a hammer on screws here.

    KS you fund a project at various stages of development, it could be on an idea stage or it could be right at the beginning of programming. But more often than not, the User Base Does not have access to the game. There are benefits and missed opportunities with KS on it's own. With Early Access, you already have something playable, not only do you get the feedback, you also get access to another resource, other than money - a sample base of play testers. THAT is what EA is supposed to be used for. A bit of starting capital and a small pool of players who can help you weed out bugs you've missed. You're NOT supposed to use it to purely Profit.
     
  47. RichHopefulComposer

    RichHopefulComposer Member

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    No, being honest here, EA has a LOT to do with the huge amount of unfinished games on Steam, hahah! I explained why a few times already. Bad devs are encouraged to put half-finished games on the service, and then let support die down until people forget about the game. Devs with good intentions put half-finished games on the service with plans to finish, and then find out that there's no funding there for them, and end up abandoning the games, too.

    Yeah, it's a tool, just like everything else. There's a reason we don't give power saws to toddlers, though. Most developers can't handle EA well. :p
     
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  48. RichHopefulComposer

    RichHopefulComposer Member

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    We discussed this earlier in the thread, but do you think Early Access hurt your game's "actual" launch sales? Or did you see another surge in sales once the game left EA?
     
  49. 11clock

    11clock Member

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    We were in early access for about 6 months. When we released, our sales multiplied by about 10 in a month. But that may have been caused by our game releasing at the same time as Nuclear Throne and being featured on their similar games section for a while.

    What hurt us more was the two bundles we participated in during early access. Resulted in thousands of leaked keys. Don’t bundle until months after release.
     
  50. RichHopefulComposer

    RichHopefulComposer Member

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