Many gotta-have-it-first gamers are very familiar with public betas and other chances to try titles before they officially reach the servers -- but not on Steam, where the closed system has usually left people waiting for final builds. Valve doesn't want to leave customers on the sidelines, though, and is launching Steam Early Access to provide officially sanctioned peeks. The portal gives pre-release games the same automatic updates and community features as their finished counterparts, making it easy to squash bugs as they're discovered, take feedback and simply let testers focus on playing rather than patching. Early Access' initial roster is small: it focuses mostly on the ArmA III alpha as well as a swath of puzzle and RPG releases, so don't expect to preview all the latest blockbusters. However, it might still be a win for both nervous game creators and especially eager players.
STEAM OPENS EARLY ACCESS
Leading Platform Offers Pre-Release Playability for Select Titles
March 20, 2013 -- Valve, creators of best-selling game franchises (such as Counter-Strike, Half-Life, Left 4 Dead, Portal, and Team Fortress) and leading technologies (such as Steam and Source), today announced the addition of an Early Access section to Steam's library of over 2,000 titles.
Steam Early Access titles allow the community to get involved early and play select titles during their development. The goal of Early Access is to provide gamers with the chance to "go behind the scenes" and experience the development cycle firsthand and, more importantly, have a chance to interact with the developers by providing them feedback while the title is still being created.
To support the interaction between Early Access players and developers, Steam offers easy and automatic updating of games, letting developers iterate quickly to respond directly to bug reports and feedback from customers. And, like all Steam games, Early Access players will be able to interact with other players, making it easy to create and share screenshots, tips, and in-depth guides.
"A lot of games are already operating as ongoing services that grow and evolve with the involvement of customers and the community," said Sean Pollman of Badland Studio. "Greenlight helped us raise awareness for Kinetic Void, and now Steam Early Access will let us continue the development of our game while gathering crucial feedback, input and support from the steam Community."
The first titles coming to Steam Early Access are:
· 1... 2... 3... KICK IT! (Drop That Beat Like an Ugly Baby)
· Arma 3
· Drunken Robot Pornography
· Gear Up
· Kerbal Space Program
· Kinetic Void
· Prison Architect
· Under the Ocean
For more information, and to see all Early Access titles, please visit www.steampowered.com/earlyaccess.