Steam Will Now Let You Play Some Games Before They Even Come Out

Valve has just launched Steam Early Access. It's a new program designed to let Steam users play games while they're still in development.

Here's the full press release:

Steam Early Access titles allow the community to get involved early and play select titles during their development. The goal of Early Access is to provide gamers with the chance to "go behind the scenes" and experience the development cycle firsthand and, more importantly, have a chance to interact with the developers by providing them feedback while the title is still being created.

To support the interaction between Early Access players and developers, Steam offers easy and automatic updating of games, letting developers iterate quickly to respond directly to bug reports and feedback from customers. And, like all Steam games, Early Access players will be able to interact with other players, making it easy to create and share screenshots, tips, and in-depth guides.

"A lot of games are already operating as ongoing services that grow and evolve with the involvement of customers and the community," said Sean Pollman of Badland Studio. "Greenlight helped us raise awareness for Kinetic Void, and now Steam Early Access will let us continue the development of our game while gathering crucial feedback, input and support from the steam Community."

The first titles coming to Steam Early Access are:

  • 1... 2... 3... KICK IT! (Drop That Beat Like an Ugly Baby)
  • Arma 3
  • Drunken Robot Pornography
  • Gear Up
  • Gnomoria
  • Kenshi
  • Kerbal Space Program
  • Kinetic Void
  • Patterns
  • Prison Architect
  • StarForge
  • Under the Ocean

You can see the new hub here.

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Comments

    Early Access FAQ link - http://store.steampowered.com/earlyaccessfaq/

    This is really great! This is why Valve is such a popular company, they are moving the industry forward, while other large publishers are stuck in the mud.

    So, paid alphas?

      It sounded like a good idea, but when you put it that way its pretty sh!tty.

        Not when you get the final product at the end for no extra cost (ala: ARMA 3).

        Not at all. I was part of the Endless Space beta test team that was offered through Steam. It was a good experience.

      It worked for Minecraft.

      EDIT: Whether it's good or bad is probably up to the individual developers. If it's just "Pre-order now and get to play the buggy alpha!" - then that's pretty shitty. But if it's a stream of constant updates and making changes based on feedback, that could be pretty cool. With the right type of game, developers who put a bit of effort in could treat this as a clever form or marketing.

      Last edited 21/03/13 8:55 am

      How is this any worse than pre ordering? Pre ordering you don't get to play the game until it's launched and you still need to pay for it. This you pay AND you get to play at the same time.

      yeh, paid alphas for games nobody cares about, that all want to be the next minecraft, but likely are just clones of a previously done concept

      any other game worth playing would already have their own beta access anyway

    This is pretty much what Valve did with Dota2 and it has worked well. Keeps me coming back when there is a big update as to what features they have added. In a sense they do the same thing with Iphone games to keep people coming back with new content added. Thats how i see this anyway.

    Only Valve could offer such a system as paid alphas, while also taking a cut, and gamers rejoice at valve. Of such a system came from the likes of EA, it would be slammed.

    Natural Selection you had to buy the game off their website to play early and test it out, I was pretty active testing and reporting (whinging) things.

    A lot of games if you want beta/alpha access you had to pay for it and you get the full thing later.

    So all steam is doing is

    (a) Making developers lives easier to get the word out (so more testers are involved)
    (b) Making it more accessible to us instead of searching around

    Plenty of games will benefit from this exposure.

    Got some friends who are pretty hardcore ArmA fans, they've been all over the ArmA 3 alpha.

    I don't see a problem with "paid alphas". In the case of ArmA 3, it's clearly labelled as such, it costs less than the full release will, and will unlock to beta and eventually the full game.

    Anybody else start reading the list, get to 'Drunken Robot Pornography' and just not go any further?

    Drunken Robot Pornography you say... Go on...

    Wow I am shocked I'm the first to say it.

    Add HL3 to the list ;)

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