Kickstarter, Greenlight, Early Access, pre-alpha, alpha previews, closed betas, open betas, demos, full release! Post-release, DLC, expansions, mods, third-party utilities and patches, hell, even subscriptions, pay to play, free to play and voluntary donations… gaming evidently isn’t like any other medium. But we all knew that anyway, and that’s kind of why we love it.
We live in a world where Starbound, a game that went into open beta towards the end of last year — a game that isn’t finished — rocketed to the top of the Steam charts and secured the top spot beneath DOTA 2 as the most played game on Steam. Anybody would think they had no backlogs to chop through. This should be of no surprise: Minecraft was huge back when it was in alpha and DOTA 2 was no slouch in beta either. Dwarf Fortress manages to sustain two developers even though it is a) free and relies on donations, b) still in alpha (and will be for another 721 years), c) looks like The Matrix and d) is less accessible than a living human being at Steam Support. There’s Garry “Garry’s Mod” Newman’s Rust, DayZ, Wasteland 2, Dungeons of the Endless, Overgrowth, Planetary Annihilation, Nether, Kerbal Space Program, Project Zomboid, Space Engineers, Prison Architect, Maia, Spacebase DF-9, Sir, You Are Being Hunted, Neo Scavenger, Speedrunners… the list goes on and on.
What I want to know is: why are so many people playing them? I can understand the buying –the supporting– but the playing? The unfinished bug-riddled playing? I don’t believe that most players are actively involved in helping improve these games (plenty of other players will do that, right?), it seems more likely to me that people just can’t contain their hunger and want to nibble, suck and slurp the raw meat from any bones thrown their way. In a recent Guns of Icarus Online game, one captain in the lobby just suddenly shouted out: “Oh my god, DayZ has just been released on Steam! I gotta go.” I mean, really? DayZ will never be worse than the day it was first released on Steam.
With the advent of Kickstarter, Steam Greenlight and Early Access, and the rise of independent gaming, gamers have never before been able to get so close to a game and its developers so early on. We’re invited to peer behind the curtain, to see what’s in store, what could be, and in some cases, to play a part in the production itself.
It’s a funny thing because, as a very critical person (some may say a vampire that feeds on joy), I ought to be jumping in and assaulting developers with lots of feedback but… I don’t want to play something unfinished. I don’t want to look behind the curtain and see feature-shaped holes, things broken, things getting broken, and being involved in fixing it. I’m happy sitting in the stalls waiting for the show. Yes, I’ll report stuff when I come across it after release but to jump into a beta or alpha seems like a sure-fire way of dispelling some of the magic of a new release; a new release that can be consumed meticulously and wholly. I just can’t see the fun in watching a magician practicing their tricks and fumbling them. And, you know, the longer I play games the harder it seems to find the magic that used to exist in every square pixel when I was younger and less experienced. I need to hold on to that element of wonder, perhaps now more than ever. So I can wait, and it’s not as if there aren’t literally — like, literally literally — countless other games to be played in the meantime that are, y’know, done, and amazing, and stable and impossibly, obnoxiously cheap — or free.
Even when games are done, they’re still not done. Like a fine wine, they tend to get better with age; bug fixes, added content, game modes and features, tweaked balance and optimisations. I’ve been playing Guns of Icarus Online and Natural Selection 2 since they were released in 2012 and while they’re fundamentally the same games, they’re so much better now than they were at launch– and this is not reflected in Metacritic’s score for reasons I’ll come to in a moment. Most multiplayer games are generally well supported post release and go through continual improvement while single-player games get patched to varying degrees before being bolstered with DLC and expansions. And what about mods, third-party utilities and patches? That’s a minefield of joy and despair right there if you’re wanting to extend or optimise an experience.
Unlike other media, the artifacts of gaming are getting decreasingly static, and perversely a game’s success can hinge on reviews that remain static once they’re flung into the wild. They’re rarely revisited and with Metacritic’s policy of only honouring the first review the damage can be permanent, especially when those pesky numerical scores are so prominent — and the resulting aggregates even more so. In the last few months Steam have rolled out their new user review system which adopts a ‘Was this review helpful? Yes/No’ system, similar to Amazon, to hopefully separate the wheat from the chaff and to move away from that Metacritic aggregate badge and the cherry picked and pruned praise in the description blurb. I appreciate the idea, but have you read some of the most ‘helpful’ reviews? And did you dig much deeper? It’s a system which reinforces those who post first and rise to the top first, and what rises isn’t always the cream. Here’s the ‘most helpful’ Steam user review of everyone’s other favourite ‘not a game’ game, Proteus:
Proteus is a brilliant idea that only excels in its visual execution. It perfectly captures the kind of world once portrayed using just a few, two-toned pixels displayed from an Atari 800. A world that you, the viewer were forced to imagine rather than witness in high definition glory. The problem is; there is literally nothing to do within that world expect to wander its hills and valleys scaring off groups of animals while listening to the whimsical but unimpressive, procedurally-generated music. It is best described as a tech demo and it would make a fantastic screen saver akin to the classic Windows 3D maze. The one thing it is not however, is a game.
24 hours inside of Proteus would offer no more enjoyment or depth than simply watching it’s 2 minute long trailer video. And that is possibly the saddest thing I’ve ever written in review.
While most indie games leave you wanting more for their own good reasons, Proteus leaves you to starve on an empty island for want of anything at all.
This one riled me up so much I couldn’t help myself:
“there is literally nothing to do within that world expect [sic] to wander”
Proteus is all about wandering and doing “nothing”. That is the idea — you can even sit down in it!
‘Doom is a brilliant idea that only excels in its visual execution. The problem is; there is literally nothing to do within that world except shoot.’ See?
I totally get why people don’t and won’t like this — I’m fine with that — but to say it’s a “brilliant idea” and then miss the point of the game so monumentally is just… wow.
We’re in a weird situation now where we have user rated and user commented user reviews, a ‘critical’ cesspool-cum-quagmire that can indefinitely swallow games whole, an awful lot of games that are getting a lot of attention before they’re really ready for it and countless games that are undergoing continual improvement for some time after release. That’s a pretty whacky and unappetising cocktail if you ask me. To top it off — and to tie this tangent into the main topic of the article — Steam mind-bogglingly allows user reviews for Early Access games which begs the question: will those user reviews be wiped once a game is deemed ‘done’? I suspect not and I can only imagine how much of a burden a resilient and outdated ‘most helpful’ review could be…
Paid access to development builds is a fine thing for devs who can’t afford to pay an army of testers to bust their game. And if people are willing to pay to test then why shouldn’t devs capitalise on that? It helps fund the project, helps identify and fix issues and it potentially builds hype. I can’t help but feel that a great many games in the past would have benefitted from such breathing space between alpha and release. I’m generally positive about the whole thing, as a means of funding developers earlier on and a tool for publicity and quality assurance, but I’m a little uneasy about it all at the same time.
What about players burning games out before they’re done? Who cares? They paid for it, right? What about games entering Donedom without fanfare because they were, like, so last year, y’know? Burning bright then fizzling out when it probably matters the most. Do piecemeal builds diffuse or build hype? I remember when all had we had was a one page preview and a single screenshot to get excited about. And what about games that will never reach that hallowed place? Instead languishing in the donedrums? How will buyers feel about that and will that have a similar cooling effect as it did with Kickstarter? At least with Kickstarter you get your money back if everything goes to shit.
What about ever-shortening attention spans as players flit from game to game, pursuing the new and shiny, practically eating from developers’ busy hands? We already had enough games as it was but now the alpha and beta dams have breached. What about this whole dev and user communication loop/feedback thing going on and the effect this seems to be having on gamer and community entitlement and expectation? (I’m thinking of the recent undercurrent of disappointment around Valve’s handling and lack of communication with Diretide, company lay-offs and, yes, the future of Half-Life. RPS had a bit of a whine at Valve about this recently and I think Enkinan nailed it in the comments.) Or how bad feedback may steer games away from otherwise new and compelling territories into the same old familiar ditches? Hey, don’t you be knockin’ my ditch. Or conversely, developers flying in the face of their proposals and careening headlong into a ditch anyway, against perfectly decent player feedback?
What about all the great ideas and premises being spoiled, tainted or laid bare by players because they were flitted across, experienced or reported on in unfinished states? Or because they had to be spoiled, tainted or laid bare by the developers themselves to sell the game; to differentiate it from the rest, to raise it above the noise? No surprises, please. (Recently a friend linked me to a video of a game in early development that features a very clever new first-person puzzle mechanic that manipulates size and perspective. By the one minute mark I’d seen enough to whet my appetite but on went the video exposing more and more of itself — argh! All those great discoveries being spoiled! It’s not too dissimilar to those awful, awful, awful movie trailers that go on for minutes and show every story beat, funny punchline and incredible set piece you’d like to have, y’know, experienced first-hand.)
Anyway, I’m just thinking out loud here, it’s all a bit jumbled and scatterbrain I know, but what are your thoughts on all this? Have you bought into any Early Access titles? Did you play them? If so, did you spend long with them? Did you provide any feedback? What about Kickstarter? Should user reviews be allowed for games still in development? And when –or how– should Metacritic consider a review conclusive enough to put it into their number crunching machine? Should revisiting games be more of a thing?
To contact the author of this incoherent string of words, email email@example.com
This article deserves a lot of thought. I had been thinking that Steam was doing a good thing giving more independent developers a way to get to market. It appears to be more complex than that. Most things are.
This whole issue is way above my pay grade as a casual game player. I will be facinated to hear what those of you who are more into the gaming world think about this.
Gregg wins the internet.
I like the concept of early access in the supporting-developers-so-they-can-finish sense. Hell, I bought Mount & Blade ages before it was “finished.”
And as Gregg warns here, I was done with it long before it was finished… and have never picked it up again. Is that Taleworlds’ loss? Not really, they have my money and they deserved it. The Alpha was worth the money I paid. It’s my loss, and that’s what this trend fails to understand. Helping developers, for whom money is tight? I like it. I’m for it. Encouraging a finish line infinitely distant, some games (like Rust) gobbling money so fast that AAA titles (finished ones, in boxes and everything) are reeling? No.
Hell, the DayZ disclaimer in Gregg’s header image can’t even get its grammar right, I’m supposed to trust that the game is worth my money?
Moreoever, there’s a big difference between a loose “deserves it” model and systemizing the process as Steam Early Access has done. Anything can wind up there, no matter how far from complete, without any reliable promise that it will be. Unplayable prototypes, nonsense vertical slices, WASD-controlled concept art; it’s all on Early Access. I see developers (and games) there that I want to support. I won’t do it.
I won’t ruin the game for myself, and I won’t encourage developers to keep their work in endless alpha. I know full well that means some games I really, really want to play will never actually see the light… that’s the cost of doing business. Finish your fucking game, then sell it to me. Chances are I’ll buy.
I think the pre-release games I’ve played would include Minecraft, ten minutes of DayZ (as an ARMA mod), Prison Architect (at events), Rebuild 3 (for half an hour) and… er… that’s it. Well, Dwarf Fortress and Goblin Camp, I guess, but those are more unusual cases. Oh, and Mount & Blade, with which I had a pretty much identical experience to Steerpike. I gather the game has changed a lot since I actually played it.
It’s strange to find ourselves in the situation wherein an article like this comes about: I certainly didn’t see this coming a year ago. Even Kickstarter, on which a lot of pledges include ‘early access’, didn’t obviously herald it, at least to me. But you’re right to call it out, Gregg. It needed doing.
There is a possibility that what we’re seeing is the logical culmination of a gaming industry that has long swallowed whole the logic and purpose of the hype machine and of a gaming audience that is bloated with a sense of entitlement and ‘first!’ culture. What better way to promote a game than the game itself? What better way to demonstrate that you are the best player, the biggest fan, than to not only pre-order but to play the unfinished product?
Perhaps some people do get involved with the alpha/beta feedback. I doubt the proportion is that high. It’d be interesting to see some figures from developers: how much of the playerbase is actively supporting development, rather than just throwing money into the pot?
On another tack: it’s somewhat logical for developers who are making online multiplayer games or open-ended creative games to allow early access, assuming they’re competent enough to iterate builds that are not cripplingly broken. It may be a bit tough for we typed-word dinosaurs to recognise but as a promotional tool available to developers and publishers, we are nothing to YouTube. The attention that YouTube video creators garner is staggering, be they LPers, reviewers, or just people goofing around and sharing unusual or funny videos. I think DayZ’s meteoric rise to prominence in 2012 and Minecraft’s astonishing success in 2010/11 (and onwards) can be understood in this way. It is however less true of more linear, authored or solo games.
Hope that makes sense, I wrote it whilst eating cereal and drinking coffee. Brain may not be in gear yet!
What’s wrong with the grammar in the header image. (If you say “split infinitive” the consequences will be… unpleasant.)
HE SAYS, MISPUNCTUATING HIS TWO-SENTENCE COMMENT
What jumps out at me is the “prepared to handle with issues” thing. That’s not how you use “handle.”
I’ve only touched one Early Access game, and that was Kerbal Space Program, and then only for about an hour over the holidays when it had been available for ages already, and it was on sale. It lacked the features I’d actually be interested in (like a campaign mode), so I didn’t play for long. I don’t know if I’ll end up going back when it “releases.”
Traditionally, I avoid Early Access precisely because I don’t want to play an unfinished game. Some Early Access games are VERY close to done, but some have gaping holes – in technical prowess or in content. I’m not the sort of player that likes coming back to a game frequently to see what’s been changed or tweaked or added while I’ve been away. I know that games like KSP have probably frittered away my interest in them through Early Access, though they told me quite clearly they weren’t finished, exactly. It frustrates me a bit, because frequently I find myself spotting a front page banner on Steam for a new game, and I’ll click it and think it looks interesting, and then…”This Game is Early Access.” If they’re lucky I’ll add it to my wishlist and check back later, upon release. I think just as often I probably file that game away as a thing that might happen someday, but not necessarily. Like Half-Life 3.
One thing that strikes me (amongst other things) is how much cognitive dissonance there seems to be between the Early Access model (which is largely embraced) and the DLC model (which is reviled). I suppose this is partially because DLC often costs additional money (if not a great deal of it). Still, there seems to be a huge amount of backlash to publishing a game with even the INTENT of making DLC for it because the game is therefore “unfinished”; meanwhile, we pay for games that just TELL us they aren’t finished, and give no guarantee that they’ll ever be. Where does that quite make sense? (Important note: Day One DLC is still stupid.)
I find it weird that the gaming community has largely been…well, I don’t really want to say “duped”, exactly, but…duped into paying full price for demos and beta access, which used to be free things. Yes, some Early Access games are more than demos (though not all; KSP seems very demoish to me at the moment), but by definition they aren’t more than betas, and some are alphas. It’s an interesting phenomenon.
On the bright(ish) side, I think it oddly justifies a level of gamer entitlement. Making demands of someone about a game you haven’t bought (or can’t buy yet) is still rather silly. Making demands of someone who took your money and gave you an admittedly-incomplete product with the expectation of feedback somewhat justifies speaking your mind, for better or worse.
The role of game journalism in all this is pretty complex, and as I’ve already rambled quite a bit, I don’t think I’m prepared to unpack all that I think now. Suffice to say that the system needs to adapt somehow.
@Matt W – Warning: this game is early access alpha. Please do not purchase it unless you want to actively support development of the game and are prepared to handle with serious issues and possible interruptions of game functioning.
This game is in early access alpha (preposition to show state of noun to describe relational state, versus state of being)
prepared to handle with(awk; usage – “willing to accommodate” or “prepared for the likelihood of” might be preferable) serious issues of game functioningfunctionality (gerund usage)
YES I WENT THERE
And I have no clue if my HTML will take in the comment. 🙂
Games like Minecraft don’t bother me as much, partly because until Early Access they were rarities, rather than the standard practice. Moreover, though I was sort of late to get into Minecraft, purchasers got a very complete game by 0.4 or so. Some of the stuff on EA is unplayable.
I’m also concerned by the tiered fan-funding model implied here: games go to Kickstarter, get funded, get into development, go to Early Access, make more money, continue development. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for developers funding their games, and my God do I love the creative out-of-the-box stuff we’re seeing from indies thanks to these new avenues. But Early Access strikes me as a dangerous game – one that encourages developers to never finish. Those that do will release to a substantially smaller market share, since a huge portion of the audience will have already bought and “finished” long ago.
Which begs another question – how do we calculate units sold in this brave new world? Do we factor in Kickstart pledges that net you a copy of the game? Early Access? Or only 1.0+ launch sales?
I’m concerned by the institutionalization of Early Access. It is becoming the model, and honestly, most gamers have no clue what goes into making a game. They don’t want to see how the sausage is made. Many, I suspect, buy on EA and are shocked – shocked I tell you – when the game they get is a broken alpha. Too many people will see it as a magical portal to the future, which could dramatically reduce perception of quality and unfairly ruin developers’ reputations. It reminds me eerily of the avalanche of crap games that caused the ’84 crash.
What really out-of-the-box stuff is doing well on Early Access, though? Most of the things I can think of that are getting lots of plays are fairly known quantities in terms of genre and mechanics – well done, perhaps, but not necessarily overly innovative. This seems more like the current trend in indie games toward making new titles in genres that are not served much by major publishers anymore: the SRPG, the roguelike, the space sim.
Admittedly, not much on Early Access. I was referring more to the new funding models in general encouraging independent developers and – more importantly – encouraging gamers to be aware of what indie developers are doing.
Your point is another concern of mine. Early Access is, to a great degree, a playground for well-heeled devpubs. So we’re not just paying for unfinished games that may never be finished, we’re paying for unfinished games that may never be finished by companies perfectly capable of finishing them using traditional models.
Ah, I’d be willing to let “is early access alpha” ride but I missed “handle with” somehow. I think they got stuck in between “handle” and “deal with.”
Because it’s becoming so commonplace, it’s easy to miss that you’re buying an incomplete game. I have bought two such games in the last six months and did not realise until after I’d purchased.
There’s another issue I have with all this permanent alpha stuff (a shift that has been growing for years since the internet became a distribution channel for games) but I’m saving that up for an article down the line.
But it’s good to get these concerns out in the open, so kudos Gregg, as it’s such a difficult topic to get your arms around. I remember when we discussed this over email and I just didn’t have much to offer you. There was a similar piece over on Polygon just this week which argued we should just accept that all games are naturally unfinished. On Twitter, Ian Bogost countered that it conflates two types of incompleteness (“incomplete development” like DayZ and “unfinishable game” like any roguelike) which was like I didn’t like it so much.
I have one evening away from the internet and this happens! 😉 Thanks for the comments everyone, lots of interesting points here.
@Steerpike: The DayZ alpha warning blurb was too good to not use as a header image. The block captials (WARNING: UNFINISHED BLAH), bad grammar, the logo of a dude looking at a sign, a screenshot of a sunrise.
@Shaun: I wish I could write that well over breakfast and tea! That’s an interesting way of looking at it with regards to the ‘first! culture’. I can definitely see that in the mix.
Certain channels on Youtube have incredible sway these days. If you look at the Guns of Icarus Online Steam Charts, you can literally see the huge popularity spikes from when the likes of Yogscast or Pewdiepie cover it. Granted, they might only be one-offs but that’s some real influence there. Our eye-words are naught compared to their ear-words and moving pictures.
@Dix: Yeah, as I’m sure you gathered from the article, I’m pretty much with you on this. I might add Early Access games to my wishlist but I actively avoid playing them because they’re unfinished.
Interesting you bring up DLC because I’ve never understood why so many are up in arms about the idea of it. Provided it’s a) good, b) isn’t going to segregate or unbalance the multiplayer community, and c) like you said, isn’t Day One DLC, I fail to see what’s so wrong about it. Cognitive Dissonance — that’s the perfect phrase for it. I deleted a paragraph or two about the whole paying-and-playing-something-that’s-broken in Early Access and happily tolerating issues vs. paying-and-playing-something-that’s-broken that’s released and being intolerant and dragging it through the mud. One’s still in development, sure, and the other’s considered finished, but that doesn’t change the net experience. The Early Access moniker reframes the experience and tempers expectations, obviously, but I can’t help but feel like a lot of people are being disingenuous when they’re moaning about something that’s ‘rough around the edges’ but enjoying something else that’s fundamentally broken at the same time. It’s almost like ‘Early Access’ pacifies players beyond all reason, or perhaps we’re just dealing with totally different players here?
I’m kind of sick of survival sandboxes now. Early Access has been great at exposing just how much gamers want to craft and survive themselves into oblivion.
On a side note: I’m amazed how well 7 Days To Die seems to be doing given how terrible it looks. Judging by the screenshots it has three different female zombie types: busty cheerleader zombie with exposed midriff, busty nurse zombie and busty civ zombie. Who knew the zombie apocalypse would be so… voluptuous?
@HM: Thanks for the link, and bizarre timing given I’ve had this piece in my drafts for over a month. This nearly didn’t see the light of day because it seemed messy and unfocused, but that’s kind of the way it is in my head and I figured it was worth getting out there just to discuss and get some different views on it.
It’s taken me a while to get to this piece, but I’d almost like to have a nice little debate over it, because I still kind of like Early Access or playing alphas of games.
Part of it is this: I wanna play Dwarf Fortress. I know it’s still in dev, and may be forever. But I like what it is already and it’ll probably still be fun for me several iterations from now. People probably feel the same way about Day Z or any number of other unfinished games.
As for the “unfinishable” game – sandboxes and stuff – they aren’t always a favorite of critics because it’s easier to play a lot of games if they’re finishable in some way and you don’t have to spend a great deal of time mastering them by comparison. But a trend that doesn’t please critics and reviewers may not be the same as a trend that doesn’t work out well for players. Critics have to play a lot of games to be conversant, but some people only “need” Minecraft. So while I’ve never really gotten into Minecraft, I can accept that it’s a solid thing that’s just not really for me.
In a lot of ways it does seem like a semantic trick – devs that have the luxury putting a game in Early Access when they’d have originally released it, and thus getting cut a bit of slack by players. I’m all for continuing to build on and improve games after release – from bug fixes to general improvements to more substantive content-adds, paid or not – but in some ways Early Access often feels almost disingenuous to me.
There’s sort of a maxim in game development that amounts to “At some point you have to ship your game.” Because there’s always going to be more you could do, little improvements you could make, a bit more content you can add…and if you give into that impulse your game never leaves the studio. With Early Access, that reality seems somewhat restricted to AAA devs, from whom I doubt the player base at large would accept the Early Access trick. Everyone else can avoid having to ever decide to “ship” their game, instead uploading it at some point and continuing to work on it from there.
I’d also be a bit worried it’ll cut down significantly on the amount of playtesting and QA that some devs do, preferring instead to let gamers pay for the privilege of doing those jobs, basically.
If devs replace professional QA with EA “open beta” crowd testing they’re barking. They’re entirely disparate styles of testing. They can be complementary, but you’d need to perform traditional testing before any iterative release if only to verify that your new build isn’t going to brick your customers’ computers (stranger things have happened).
I doubt they’d replace it entirely, but – especially for smaller developers with smaller budgets – I fear it would become progressively too easy to just call it “quality enough” to release into the wild with an Early Access label.
Oh, of course. I’m being a bit strident. But even tiny developers with no budget should be aware of if not the theory then at least the practice of unit, integration and validation/acceptance testing in advance of any release.
Sorry, have sidetracked a bit – previous profession 🙂
Thinking about it, I suspect that Valve have certain requirements that must be met before any build can be uploaded to their servers for distribution to customers – so there’s a bare minimum quality control requirement at the very least. I should probably stop talking about it since I don’t actually know!
@Amanda: Oh don’t get me wrong, I see Early Access as a positive thing and have no objection to people playing early builds if that’s what they want to do, it’s just a lot of the things that come with it make me a little uneasy.
I refuse to play Dwarf Fortress until the interface is better which pretty much means I’ll be waiting a couple of decades! But I’m prepared to wait though — I reeled at the prospects of it years ago so god knows what it’ll be like when Bay12 ‘finish’ it.
I think that’s a fair point with the finishable critic-friendly games (something which the link HM provided above brings up). I don’t think I could get involved in too many unfinishable games (besides the multiplayer games I already gravitate towards) simply because I don’t have any more time to spend. I play as big a variety as I can muster without ‘flitting’ about too much so there’s definitely a place for people who dedicate themselves solely to one game, like my brother did with Guild Wars 2 for instance, from closed beta and onwards.
Where I would begin to have a problem with Early Access is when it comes to multiplayer games. Those who pay for EA can seemingly do the following: gain a competitive advantage; learn how to tip the balance of the game’s online economy (if it has one); or the least troublesome result: burn out during the EA period, in theory causing the finished product to suffer.
If, for a crazy example, Dark Souls 2 (because I care) was in a long period of EA that would obviously lessen the experience for v1.0 day 1 players online.
As far as single player games are concerned it really doesn’t matter. If you pay for Early Access, well, you should know what you’re getting into. Whatever happens to your experience as a result of that decision is your own fault. As for people on the other side, who prefer to wait for a final release, if the program somehow impacts them (by devs becoming lazy) then … oh well. There are sorta maybe fifteen million other games out there.
Personally I’m not into paying for alphas or betas, nor am I into “supporting developers” for nothing in return just because it makes my heart feel tingly. Sure, I like the idea, and for those who can do it that’s a fine thing. Me, I’m poor as shit, so I support myself first. Same reason I’m not into season passes, even if I save five bucks in the long run. If you take interest into account you’re not really saving. I rue the day when I can’t pay $5 to play one episode of The Walking Dead and The Wolf Among Us, but rather have to pony up for “season access.” The start of the dystopia, I tell you! (This will visibly begin to occur once Apple rules over the world – indeed ironic, given their “1984” commercial!)
“Hi honey! What’s for dinner?”
“Oh, well, about that … we can’t afford groceries because I bought a bunch of imaginary things that may never exist! We signed that agreement about unconditional love, right??”
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