We've all been there. You purchase an early access game on steam that sounds fantastic, and it seems like it's going to be the next best thing and you invest your money and time in to a buggy game that just never gets fixed, and eventually gets dropped. Well, thanks to Steam, that will hopefully be a thing of the past.
Parts of the new version of Valve's Early Access documentation now includes a clarified definition of Early Access, along with a set of rules and guidelines.
There are also three new rules which Early Access games must follow:
- Early Access games must be named as such when keys for them are distributed on other websites to make sure customers know what they're buying into
- Developers should not make "specific promises about future events" so that customers will buy a game based on what it offers now, instead of what it may or may not offer in the future
- For the sake of consistency, Early Access games must be released on Steam at the same time as on other online stores, and their price on Steam cannot be higher than it is elsewhere
There is also a general set of guidelines, intended to improve the Early access program for gamers and developers alike
This is a huge change in attitude from Valve. Hopefully it will help protect gamers and their money, and also help see the release of more finished products.