When it comes to games available on Steam’s Early Access service, there have been many successes, such as Squad’s Kerbal Space Program, Introversion Software’s Prison Architect, and KingART Games The Book of Unwritten Tales 2. But some of the developers taking advantage of the service are not regularly updating their games, releasing product that they have no intention of finishing, or are using it to get onto the world’s largest digital download store.
In order to prevent the chances of these situations from happening, Valve have released four new conditions that all Early Access games must meet. These guidelines are quoted directly from Valve’s terms of service.
- “Don’t launch in Early Access if you can’t afford to develop with very few or no sales.
This condition means that you must be sure that you are able to continue development, if you do not receive as many sales as you hoped.
- “Make sure you set expectations properly everywhere you talk about your game.”
Wherever you promote your game, you must inform the public of the dangers that could arise from buying a game in development. This can include broken save files, features being added or removed etc.
- “Don’t launch in Early Access without a playable game.”
Empty promises and software packages do not make for happy customers. You must ensure that there is a playable version of the game in place before you list your game on Early Access.
- “Don’t launch In Early Access if you are done with development.”
The Early Access program is specifically stated as not a platform for final bug testing, or if you do not intend to update the game before it comes out of Early Access.
Do you think these new additions to the terms of service will have an impact on how developers approach Valve with their products? Let us know what you think in the comments below.