Today, two of Steam’s 10 top-selling games are Early Access alphas - DayZ and Rust, holding their own week after week against the likes of Wolfenstein and Watch Dogs.
They’ve caught the attention of fellow PC distributors GOG, who are now “obviously looking at” a similar setup for their own store. But CD Projekt say a GOG Early Access would have to be curated - to protect customers from the threat of incomplete “hit and run” games.
As it stands, the GOG store is DRM-free and curated - and CD Projekt co-founder Marcin Iwinski told Eurogamer that nothing about that would change with early access.
“It would be the GOG way,” he said. “It would have to be curated and, we believe - we are always saying this very openly - we are responsible in front of the gamer for what they’re buying on GOG.”
Steam’s uncurated approach “works extremely well for them and some developers”, noted Iwinski, but leaves buyers exposed to the worst Early Access games.
“It would have to have some kind of protection,” said Iwinski of a potential GOG Early Access.
“If you’re unhappy [with your purchase] and they’re constantly updating it, that’s fine,” he elaborated. “But if you’re unhappy and they just took your money and ran away like typical hit and run there is somebody who has to be on the hook for it.”
GOG’s solution would be the same they’ve always endorsed - curation. That, and an option for consumers to “opt out if they’re really unhappy”.
Two weeks ago, Valve refunded buyers of Earth: Year 2066 on Steam, citing dishonesty from its creators. A day later, Paranautical Activity’s developers were at odds with their community over cancelled co-op.
Does Early Access need tidying up, do you think?