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Crowdfunding & Early Access Are Not Ruining PC Gaming
Posted , 3 January 2014 at 4:20 pm UTC / 9108 views
It seems a big name PC site has claimed that Kickstarter and Early Access are ruining PC gaming, well I personally beg to differ I think it's growing PC gaming faster & better than ever.

The website in question is "Extreme Tech" and the writer seems to think getting users involved earlier than the "full release" is a bad thing.

extreme techWhile crowdfunding platforms and early access releases are both successful ways of generating money, they’re also lowering both the excitement and quality of PC games as a whole.
This is extremely confusing, of all of the games to come out of Kickstarter and Early Access most of them are fantastic, you could say the same for anything, there are bad points in pretty much any form of funding be it public on a crowdfunding website or being pressed by a publisher.

Let's take Faster Than Light "FTL" for example it's probably one of the most highly rated indie games around, and you guessed it - it was crowdfunded on Kickstarter.

Now take Minecraft as a bigger example, the game was released in Alpha (so Early Access) and is the single most successful indie game on PC and is loved by people from countries all over the world, from kids to adults people just love it.
The author of the said article does use Minecraft as an example, but it was still a very early build when it went public and I'm guessing the author never played the early builds, they where quite badly broken a lot of the time, Linux in particular had constant input problems.

Don't Starve is another of the authors examples:
QuoteOften, you’ll binge on the early access release, burn out, and not go back to the final build that would have provided a much better experience. You may go back to check out the new features, but ultimately, you just can’t bring yourself to build another base in Don’t Starve even though it’s a good game.
I don't see how that is remotely relevant to Early Access or Crowdfunding at all? That is true of any game, everyone burns out on a game when they play it for long enough, finished game or not.

Don't Starve is a game that was extremely fun on all builds before the "full release" and still is extremely fun.

Another great example is Project Zomboid, they went through hell, but thanks to Desura's Alpha Funding program they where able to keep selling the game and keep going and even though it's still not hit a full release it's had many versions pushed out with people putting masses of hours into it.

I give you another example and my last, Planetary Annihilation was funded on Kickstarter (and it was well over-funded) and giving out Alpha and Beta access for them was a huge win, I personally helped in the early releases by reporting bugs and reporting work-arounds to get things fixed and it showed me just how receptive and hard-working the developers where, it actually gave me big trust in them.

The writer then moves on to bash the Oculus Rift:
QuoteA virtual reality headset development kit that isn’t compatible with much, and ultimately requires expensive companion gadgets to achieve its goal.
He claims it requires the treadmill that was developed to work with it, it doesn't plain and simple. It's an add-on for richer folk to get really really immersed, but certainly doesn't need it to get to its goal of immersing you in your game if you see the comments from pretty much everyone else who has used it.

I really hate trashy articles like that so felt the need to counter it myself with a few points. PC gaming is alive and well and Linux will hopefully be at the forefront of it in future.

The author makes 2 semi-valid points:
QuoteIt ruins the games news cycle. A large swathe of PC games you read about on your outlet of choice ultimately finishes with a link to a Kickstarter or Indiegogo campaign, destroying your excitement and anticipation of a title
That's even true here at GOL there was a point where most articles where Crowdfunding, but that didn't destroy my excitement at all, if anything it boosted my excitement for gaming in general and gave me things to look forward to, so it's not even that valid a point.

QuoteEarly access, like Kickstarter, also ruins the gaming news cycle. Sure, you get to read about a game that might not have been playable without early access, but the reviews are all the same. You know the drill: the game shows promise but needs a ton of polish in its current state. Again, your excitement is dashed; the only thing you learned is that an unfinished game lacks important features.
Again true on GOL, we take a look at early games to tell you what they are like, but I fail to see how that dashes anyones excitement if anything it ramps up excitement for a game.

Both Crowdfunding and Early Access/Alpha Funding have to me been a big boon for PC gaming, allowing developers to work full time on games they otherwise may never have been able to make, and we as gamers reap the benefits of it.

What does ruin PC gaming in this writer's opinion is greedy publishers forcing games out the door before they are ready and lazy developers paying someone else to do work for them while not checking on it, I don't know how many of you follow the wider games industry but let me give you an example from a big name - Aliens Colonial Marines from Gearbox and Sega, it was in development for years and when it came out it was utter ruins. The trailers for the game showed footage that was never even in the game in the end.

I have had plenty of PC games that have been full releases from big names crammed full of bugs, bugs that would be obvious if they spent more than a few minutes play-testing their own game. Hell there's Battlefield 4 which is a brand new FPS game which only recently came out that has been badly broken for a while and there are masses of reports of it completely losing people's single-player saved games.
Again that is nothing to do with Crowdfunding or Early Access, that game comes from EA and DICE who have massive budgets of their own.

To me it seems like that writer over at Extreme Tech has just got the "hump" as people call it is that a lot of news is about newly announced games rather than new releases, or maybe he got burned by one particular game who knows he just doesn't have a lot of substance in the article, it's a shame to see big sites push out junk like that.

Nothing is perfect in this world and no developer will be, maybe the author forgets this?

I am the owner of GamingOnLinux. A fan of anything techy, and not just Linux stuff.

You can follow my personal blog here.

manny commented on 3 January 2014 at 4:48 pm UTC

lmao are you taking "Extreme Tech" serious ?

most of their articles recently are just link bait and/or to spread fud so they can get hits.

lmao are you taking "[url=http://www.extremetech.com/gaming/173353-kickstarter-and-early-access-games-are-ruining-pc-gaming]Extreme Tech[/url]" serious ? most of their articles recently are just link bait and/or to spread fud so they can get hits.
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liamdawe commented on 3 January 2014 at 4:49 pm UTC

I'm not taking them that seriously, I just wanted to bring light to it and give my thoughts on it, since I think Crowdfunding and Early Access are key parts to PC gaming staying alive.

I'm not taking them that seriously, I just wanted to bring light to it and give my thoughts on it, since I think Crowdfunding and Early Access are key parts to PC gaming staying alive.
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Hamish commented on 3 January 2014 at 5:08 pm UTC
  • Editor

Let us keep in mind that Linux and most of the free software ecosystem itself can be described as being developed through crowdsourcing and by using early access. We are used to the paradigm and have learned how to best take advantage of it. To the uninitiated it would be something of a culture shock, and when they hit their first bump in the road on this new system they would be very much tempted to bump back.

That does not make their response valid, however. As Liam points out in the article.

Let us keep in mind that Linux and most of the free software ecosystem itself can be described as being developed through crowdsourcing and by using early access. We are used to the paradigm and have learned how to best take advantage of it. To the uninitiated it would be something of a culture shock, and when they hit their first bump in the road on this new system they would be very much tempted to bump back. That does not make their response valid, however. As Liam points out in the article.
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AoC commented on 3 January 2014 at 7:00 pm UTC

I like the avatar update Hamish...

Indie games are probably the savior of gaming in general, whether or not they're crowd sourced/funded or early access. Crowd funding can grant titles that otherwise wouldn't exist and early access can shape a final game... but neither are required for a good new idea or great game.

I like the avatar update Hamish... Indie games are probably the savior of gaming in general, whether or not they're crowd sourced/funded or early access. Crowd funding can grant titles that otherwise wouldn't exist and early access can shape a final game... but neither are required for a good new idea or great game.
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HadBabits commented on 4 January 2014 at 1:02 am UTC
  • Contributing Editor
  • GOL Supporter

There are definitely some down sides to crowd funding and early access:

It means I see a lot of games I get very excited about have not even been funded yet. So now I donate a bit and hope it reaches it's goal, and even if it does now I have to wait through the entire development cycle, as opposed to a game that has been in the works and waits to release trailers a bit down the road that you can buy once it's out. Not to mention your buying something before it's even developed, which is a risk in itself.

As with early access, there's been a lot lately and sometimes I am annoyed with it. Many games that I could be playing, but I have to resist if I want to play the finished product as the dev intended. Presentation is an important factor to me. And while a game like Minecraft never changed much in experience, some games I think should wait for the sake of the player's first impression, and stick with a beta instead.


That said, I love this age of crowd funding we have moved into. I love that devs can make the game they want for a niche audience and be successful. I have long grew tired of Triple A games that roll around in tried ideas to be "current" and appeal to everyone. Not to mention that I've never felt so involved in the making of the games I love to play. I feel like we're breaking down walls between the developer and the player. And while there is a trade-off, as some of the surprise and mystique is lost as the director lets us look under the curtain, I think gaming will only get better because of it.

There are definitely some down sides to crowd funding and early access: It means I see a lot of games I get very excited about have not even been funded yet. So now I donate a bit and hope it reaches it's goal, and even if it does now I have to wait through the entire development cycle, as opposed to a game that has been in the works and waits to release trailers a bit down the road that you can buy once it's out. Not to mention your buying something before it's even developed, which is a risk in itself. As with early access, there's been a lot lately and sometimes I am annoyed with it. Many games that I could be playing, but I have to resist if I want to play the finished product as the dev intended. Presentation is an important factor to me. And while a game like Minecraft never changed much in experience, some games I think should wait for the sake of the player's first impression, and stick with a beta instead. That said, I [b]love[/b] this age of crowd funding we have moved into. I love that devs can make the game they want for a niche audience and be successful. I have long grew tired of Triple A games that roll around in tried ideas to be "current" and appeal to everyone. Not to mention that I've never felt so involved in the making of the games I love to play. I feel like we're breaking down walls between the developer and the player. And while there is a trade-off, as some of the surprise and mystique is lost as the director lets us look under the curtain, I think gaming will only get better because of it.
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r2rX commented on 4 January 2014 at 12:55 pm UTC

Despite some perceivable cons, this is great for gaming overall. It keeps communication and intentions far more open (between devs and gamers) more than ever before; thus, keeping interest and overall enthusiasm alive. This model is definitely profitable for everyone in the ecosystem; again, both developers and gamers.

Personally, what makes this thoroughly exciting is that we will start getting more games which aren't the typical AAA games which, in alot of cases, shouldn't even be regarded as AAA....cost of producing, maybe...but actual gameplay and enjoyment; pushing the boundaries.....no.

Despite some perceivable cons, this is great for gaming overall. It keeps communication and intentions far more open (between devs and gamers) more than ever before; thus, keeping interest and overall enthusiasm alive. This model is definitely profitable for everyone in the ecosystem; again, both developers and gamers. Personally, what makes this thoroughly exciting is that we will start getting more games which aren't the typical AAA games which, in alot of cases, shouldn't even be regarded as AAA....cost of producing, maybe...but actual gameplay and enjoyment; pushing the boundaries.....no. :)
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