Beware the Tall Tales of Indie Early Access, Crowdfunding
by GamerFitnation on March 25, 2014 at 03:59 PM EDT

By: Brogan Cordova


It’s bad enough that some developers release games that have obvious, major problems, knowing that anything they didn’t manage to finish can be downloaded via updates. It’s bad enough that when such a game is released and selling, DLC content takes a higher priority than fixing the game itself. The boundaries of acceptable game design are being pushed every day, and consumers should exercise caution and skepticism, even with indie games.

In the age of independent development, gamemakers have utilized early access. The success of the indie megahit “Minecraft” was all made possible by early access. The game wasn’t finished, but for a reduced price people could play it as it was being worked on. Early access allowed its developer, Mojang, to get the funding it needed to complete the game and for the alpha and beta players to spread the word. Feedback was taken into consideration as the game was being worked on. Now, after its release, “Minecraft” is reigning king of the indies.

Other indie developers are playing “Follow the Leader,” and not just copying the visual design of the game, but the business model. But unlike Minecraft, a number of early access games charge full prices for their alpha and beta stages of development. Incomplete, buggy, glitch-ridden, and severely malfunctioning games are sold with the high promise that the game will one day be done and great.

Few developers tell as tall tales as Peter Molyneux, the mind behind the Fable franchise that I find so lukewarem. His latest megabig idea, Godus, is an early access god-game. The feedback on Steam has not been promising. And yet, Molyneux claims in the trailer that the game will support up to 50 million players, all connected with each other.

Fifty million. In comparison, Minecraft has sold 35 million across all platforms, which number is set to rise significantly after the PS4 and Xbox One versions are released. Molyneux is not making a game that even scrapes Minecraft’s numbers, not with such negative reviews so early on. The entire Fable franchise doesn’t even come close to those sales. The price of this new game isn’t even reduced much; Godus is $20.

This is not to say that all early access is bad. The game Rust is doing well, getting some nice feedback. Their developers could use that alpha and beta money to finish the game, to make something as great as their vision.

But there should still be standards and some form of quality control. As a consumer, you should be careful in picking which games you believe in. Some games need that support, and some just want to make a buck off talking big and showing little.

Edited by: Avery Osborn

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  • Tetoro’s Lair

    A clever article. Even when it comes to indie games, players should be careful that some developers love to use fairy dust

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