Dean Hall has made it clear, time and time again, that DayZ is not in a state for regular folk to buy, but you totally should buy it after reading our DayZ review. It’s a bit of a mess, as many Early Access titles, especially ones this ambitious, are wont to be.
“We strongly advise you not to buy and play the game at this stage unless you clearly understand what Early Access means and are interested in participating in the ongoing development cycle,” warns the store page on Steam.
Yet DayZ, along with Divinity: Original Sin, yesterday, and Prison Architect and Plague Inc. Evolved, today, were all featured in the Steam Summer Sale. None of them are finished products.
In the case of Divinity: Original Sin, it’s not all that bizarre. The game was initially due out today, but postponed to June 30th. The last day of the Summer Sale. The beta is still playable, and in 10 days, the game will officially launch.
DayZ is in no such state. It’s still got a fair bit to go. So a sale, which ostensibly encourages people to buy a product when they otherwise might have held off, seems contrary to what Dean Hall and his fellow developers have said. And it turns out, he’s as surprised about the sale as anyone.
“ I am as clueless and shocked as everyone else,” he told his Twitter followers. This was echoed by producer Brian Hicks, who said that it was outside of his wheelhouse. So presumably Bohemia Interactive took the initiative and decided to put it on sale without speaking to Hall.
“Brian and Dean have both been travelling and unavailable for some time," a Bohemia Interactive representative told Eurogamer. "It's possible that there is an issue here caused by miscommunication which hopefully can be cleared up when they return to the office.” That’s a very confusing response. It doesn’t explain why a game people have almost been told not to buy - unless they are prepared to be testers - is now cheaper than normal, enticing new customers.
The store page maintains the warning that it always has. So I doubt that anyone’s going to be duped. And, despite its unfinished state, people have been able to enjoy the game a great deal. It’s incredibly popular. The problem is that, by putting it on sale, the warnings start to seem disingenuous. The warnings are on the store page, but the sale is on Steam’s front page, enticing people.
There’s no clear cut right or wrong here. It’s a product that’s for sale. That’s why we do Early Access reviews: if you can be expected to spend money on it, you deserve to know what’s state it’s in and if you should buy it or wait. So maybe that should go both ways; if it can be reviewed and bought, it can go on sale too. Is it any different from discounting a title that can be pre-ordered or pre-purchased?