Independent developers Introversion Software, Carbon Games, and Dejobaan spoke to GamesIndustry International and told them why they like the Early Access program on Steam. Although the program is itself in the early stages of participation, the developers were keen to give it a try thanks to the funding and feedback opportunities it offered to them.
“With Darwinia, Multiwinia, and all of [our previous games], we ran out of money,” said Morris. “On every occasion, to varying degrees. With Darwinia, I think we didn’t have any money for about a year or something before it was released. With Defcon, the bank account was at zero on the day we launched. It puts this desperate pressure on you to get the game up to the barest minimum standard, shove it out of the door, get the cash from sales, and then fix bugs that you wanted to fix before.”
“What we tried to do with the Early Access stuff is get the revenue before we finished, so that we can be more relaxed about the development process. We’re working harder, we’re more motivated. We know that we don’t need to worry about cash, we know we can put in all the featuresets that we want to be in there. We feel an obligation to keep pushing it for those who’ve already bought it,” he added.
Participants interviewed preferred the Early Access program over Kickstarter because the administrative overhead was lower than running their own crowd-funding effort. They also liked the open-ended nature of Early Access which allowed them to capture revenue from gamers’ interest that they may not have even been aware of existing.
There are currently 20 titles offered on Steam Early Access, including Valve’s own DOTA 2.