Joystiq Discussion: Should consoles have early access games?

The age of early access is upon us! No longer the domain of PCs, the alpha build is becoming a central tenet of the modern game industry, even on consoles. "We have a global strike team, plus an SCEA strike team, who are in charge of trying to figure out how to look at what's happening with early alpha access, or paid betas," explained Adam Boyes, Sony VP of developer relations, in a new interview with Gamasutra.

The merits of early access game design are plain. The risk of prolonged game development is mitigated by an influx of consumer cash before the game's even complete. What's more, an audience can be built gradually over time rather than all at once through sheer force of marketing.

Early access design is, however, contrary to the spirit of game consoles. The whole point of a game console is ease of use and standardized quality. They are not PCs, variable and in need of constant tweaking, so games should presumably be ready to go as soon as you put it in the disc slot or have it installed. Even in the decade since Xbox 360 brought beta testing, DLC, and content patches to the consoles, that's remained true. Does early access gaming have a place on consoles?

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[Images: Mojang]

This article was originally published on Joystiq.