Early Access Abused by Some Game Developers

Robert Davis, Staff Reporter

The entertainment industry is often held to a high standard of quality. So why is it that in the video gaming industry some developers can get away with flat out false advertising and a silencing of criticism?

What makes this issue worse is the PC gaming service that offers many great features introduced a system called early access. Early access allows developers (usually indie) to sell a game before it’s finished to get profits to finish the game.

Many times, if developers want their game to be tested for bugs before release, they release it as a free beta, not expecting consumers to pay for an unfinished product. But it seems some want to exploit this and release games on early access, promising many things, then not delivering any of it. They then run off with the profits they made from people buying into the early-access game.

There aren’t any legal repercussions for these actions, and developers can get away with fraud or misleading words. Early access isn’t always abused, though, and there are many great developers using early access that stay in touch with the community and use feedback to fix whatever problems arise before full release.

Sadly, though, there are developers who do abuse it. One of the biggest and worst examples of this is “Day One: Garry’s Incident,” made by WildGamesStudios.

They described the product as a survival game in which players craft tools and figure out puzzles to survive. This may be true on the most basic of levels, but the game was put on early access in an extremely broken state.  

…some want to exploit this and release games on early access, promising many things, then not delivering any of it. They then run off with the profits they made from people buying into the early-access game.”

Instead of the studio providing early access to give them time to get feedback and fix the game, they censored negative feedback by filing copyright claims on YouTube users who were critical.

In one example a revered YouTube critic with the channel name TotalBiscuit released a review of the game. It was negative since the game had many glaring flaws. The developers filed a copyright claim on the video, getting it removed. The CEO claimed they removed the video because TotalBiscuit was making revenue from ads on his videos, and they didn’t want him doing that with their license.

They were the ones, however, who sent him the copy of the game for evaluation, probably not expecting how blunt TotalBiscuit would be in his criticisms. After they got a lot of backlash and gained much scorn, they apologized to TotalBiscuit, claiming they fully support freedom of speech. The apology seems more of a cry saying, “Sorry we got caught.”

The game exited early access and is still filled with glitches and issues, and the developers still profited from all of this.

Early access isn’t always negative. Some developers use it for its intended purpose and do not abuse it. There are developers who release patches for games regularly and keep in contact with the community to improve their product.

Sadly, some developers have lied to their communities and made people skeptical of the entire program.