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Early Access Fatigue
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Salvatos Jul 14, 2023
Excellently said, eldaking. I seldom buy early access games myself, but above all it depends on the kind of game and the expected timeframe.

For story-based games that I don’t expect to replay except maybe in several years, I definitely wait for full release (and usually patches and potentially sales and/or expansions) before I play them, because I want the full experience with minimal bugs the first and possibly only time around.

For heavily replayable games like arcade, sandbox, multiplayer, etc., if the early access already has plentiful features and stable builds, it doesn’t really matter what stage of development it’s at. If it’s far enough along to be fun to play, that’s about all I need to know. Even if it were to change directions dramatically, chances are I would get my money’s worth before that happens, and I make my purchasing decision with that risk in mind.

There are games that aren’t that clear-cut and where I expect to play them a while and then move on. For those, I might want to wait until certain features or contents are implemented so I don’t feel like moving on before having experienced them. I might still get the game in early access when the full release is imminent and the current builds are known to be stable if I’m hyped enough about it and currently have time to play.

I don’t think I own any, but when it comes to "perpetually EA" games like The Long Dark or Seven Days to Die, I view them a bit like MMORPGs or what the AAAs call "live service games". With the expectation that you will be playing them on and off for years, as long as you’re aware that the devs are going to keep re-tuning things and trying and changing various mechanics along the way, you’re kind of jumping along for the ride and that can be a fun experience in its own right. Again it’s mostly about accepting the risk of disappointment in design changes, and the devs being upfront about it.
Klaas Jul 14, 2023
Quoting: Arcadius-8606I did one Early Access game and it was Jupiter Hell. Great game but I've had my fill of paid early access right there and then.
I actually did the Kickstarter for Jupiter Hell. I did EA for Ion Fury when it was still called Ion Maiden. That's it, unless you count Caves of Qud, which I don't since it has been in a very mature state for years.

Generally I don't get why people are so keen to pay money to become a beta tester. On the other hand most AAA games are released in a state that should be called early beta.
kaiman Jul 14, 2023
I generally avoid games in EA. First, my time is limited, so when I get round to playing a game, I'd rather play the "final" version. And second, if developers want me to do QA and playtesting for them, they pay me, not the other way round.

But, I guess some EA titles are more complete and polished than some non-EA releases. And seeing how non-EA games might get updates (free or paid) for years that significantly alter the original, there isn't really that much of a difference, except that EA games are at least labelled more honestly.

In general, I don't really think EA is such a plague, though. It feels not that much different from hearing about an upcoming game, then having to wait for years for it to finally materialize. With EA it might take years too, but at least it's out in the open and there's the chance of monitoring progress and judging the quality. If it helps fund development at the same time, seems like a win-win to me.
razing32 Aug 10, 2023
Thanks for the replies everyone.
Makes me feel less like an outcast ... lol.
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