Search Unity

  1. Unity 6 Preview is now available. To find out what's new, have a look at our Unity 6 Preview blog post.
    Dismiss Notice
  2. Unity is excited to announce that we will be collaborating with TheXPlace for a summer game jam from June 13 - June 19. Learn more.
    Dismiss Notice
  3. Dismiss Notice

If on Steam - Early access or not

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by unitedone3D, Apr 24, 2021.


EA or not (not that EA, the other EA)?

Poll closed May 1, 2021.
  1. yes

    5 vote(s)
  2. no

    4 vote(s)
  3. maybe

    5 vote(s)
  4. dunno

    0 vote(s)
  1. unitedone3D


    Jul 29, 2017
    Hey there! Just a 2 cents.

    Saw this.

    It seems Early Access is really a double-edged sword. A curse and a blessing 'wrapped in Steamwrapper'. The former because certain gamers were 'burned' by early access (bought early version that was just Too Early...too buggy...though the Knew it is Early access, as such is unfinished and may have bugs...but it seems people are not into VERY Early access). Early Enough? Lets for many people, it's Too Early- still.
    Unpresentable/unplayable (Truly), yet. As product 'to be consumed' in its 'early version'.

    Playable, yes, but for many - Unplayable because not finished, far from it.

    Thus, from this, I think it would have be At The Least 75-80% there? Before showing anything), the latter you get 'exposure' from being there on the page and racking up eyeballs on your game - while you fix it/progress towards its final Release. 'Free Marketing' for having Steam page linger there forever (though I tihnk it costs 100$ to put the game there; I'm outside US so for me from the 'international Non-Us devs' that put their game on seemed like a pita/lots of hoops to get it for people outside US; if you are American it's easier (with the papers & everything), if you are not, not so easy and certainly not 'just upload your game - done').

    For some, it can be Years, they put a Steam page 3 years at the very start and thus, obtained' long marketing -for being there, on the Steam page. Now, you can buy the Early Access version..but you know what you're getting (i.e. Early Access version).

    In cinema (and trailer/trailer-making for movies/games) it's 'revealing just enough' don'T want to make a 10 minute long trailer that Shows Entire game, no more surprise to it...people don't want to bother playing it (they Saw the Entire Game in the trailer....kind of like very Exposing Trailers of upcoming movies; the trailer reveals All the Plot Twists...there is no reason anymore to watch the saw it (in compressed format/accelerate') in the trailer).
    Thus, I think it is tricky 'reveal..but don't reveal too much' that you create 'hook-ing', you hook the viewer (keep on a leech 'for more/wanting', create desire in them for your product, so it has to be Brief Enough yet Showing - Enough, not too exposing).
    I think the Early Access is double edged because it is an earlier version it can show stuff that makes the 'game look bad' (like bugs and whatnot..which the gamers know will be there, since it is early access), but it may 'sway/influence' negatively the player and unless everything is Fixed and improved,, later; the player may feel
    'Happy' having played the Early Access..and...could not cares less about the 'final' release.

    It,s the 'Demo thing' you give a demo or not? THere are many reasons to Do give a demo of your game but also quite a few to Not give one.

    I'll admit myself, there were Oftenly times I played a demo of the game and Never bought it (final release).
    It sufficed.

    (and yes, sometimes, I found demo so good but The Game Itself so good, that I could not just say :''well that demo was fun...I'll move on to the next game (and forget this game)''..I was just 'forced' by liking it so much that I Had to buy it...I know I'm probably in the minuscule % of people who 'do not convert into purchases after played the demo'. In other words, are not 'sold' just because play a demo...Even of a Game they Like very much; they just won't buy it, period. Demo or not.

    But, seeing the demo has lots of Positives and may sway positively the people to buy the game (and sway more people that Would want to buy it), then it's worth making a demo in that sense.
    But, the whole 'gift wrapping too quick too slow' you may 'give too much' in your demo...people satisfied, don't want full game - demo enough; so you give 1 level or something, and then you have to 'hooked them' at the end of the level to 'care' to 'want' to buy the rest of the game.

    So, this is tricky, too much or too little exposure can turn things bad/good. I guess it's an art. Timing and everything. Kind of like undressing. To keep the player interested/hooked ('the suspense going') after playing Early Access or Demo...etc...If the love the EA and Demo...sure Enough they Would Buy it? But that is not always the case.

    They may put the game 'in wishlist'...but there is wishlist number...wishlist number is important but not the 'be all end all'...what is More Important (well so long as you don't have a minuscule wishlist number) is the Quality of wishlist, which is How many of these wishlist Convert into may have 4000 wishlist but if only 10 people buy the game out of that 4000 list...then that is poor wishlist quality/conversion to purchase.

    I think the reason why we should be careful of EA and that it may Backfire against us. Too Quick Too Late...your game's genre has no interest/market desire...EA and Demo may not save your game.
    In fact, it Could Worsen your game....and that is why, you should hol'up on the 'put a steam page from the very very very very start of your game dev'.

    Getting eyeballs is ipmortant, so a Steam page saying 'coming soon' (for Years...), well you get eyeballsa nd people know your game exists, so some form of marketing per se. But, let's hope they are not Turned Off upon seeing what they see and sure if Will? improve when you release it in final release...but that is 'wishful' - a bit too wishful... &of that wishlist- - taking people for payers just seeing your game; they browse a zillion games so they may just put your game in wishlist or not at all. Maybe in a few years they come back to see it (and you would? have done 'marketing' (youtube show your game, to outside people/outside Come to Steam.....since then/since placing that page there). I have read devs and they said: ''If no Steam page - you don't exist, simple as that, your game is non-existing' (if excluding having made a trailer on youtuve) and if you make Staem page 1 month before...(like) you never existed''.

    Because you would not have had 'the time' to 'rack up' many people 'knowing' of you game (marketing).

    So that is where the Early Access comes in (and finishes/or starts? early/late 'late early'),
    To give Early Access, they can buy game immediately, you can used these funds to 'fund' (towards) your game's development/completion. Makes sense, but double-edged, it may leave 'sour' taste in player and they will not come back for your Final Release.

    ''I have been burned in the past (by EA), no more, Finish your darn game/Release it, or just don't''. I read that on Steam reviews. Of course people are ok for 'upgrading it/fixing it' to be better...but, from I gathered' they are not ok with a 'subpar' product - even in EA...that's what I understood. Not willing to pay a penny for it neither. Only games they Really Want will they Accept the EA and Forgive It/the whole 'pre-pre early advanced version of it but unfinished' (alpha beta...etc). I think the message was 'finish it' (kind of like mortal kombat game: Finish it/him/ the end of the round (or else, scram/don't release your game/spare us).

    I am not Against that, I am For EA and Demo and everythin/any options...but I realize why they may not be such a good thing, it really depends on your situation, your game, your circumstances, your resources ...etc.

    Thanks for reading,
    Just a 2 cents.
    FernandoMK likes this.


    Jun 1, 2017
    I'd just focus on making a strong first impression with a quality game and putting as much money into marketing as you can
  3. Ryiah


    Oct 11, 2012
    Once upon a time Early Access was intended to be for people to release a game in a very unfinished state to gather opinions from the community but most people approached it in a completely different way and as a result today it's now expected that your game have most of its mechanics, content, and be somewhat polished.

    Valheim is precisely the state your game needs to be in today to be successful on Early Access.
    Last edited: Apr 24, 2021
  4. MDADigital


    Apr 18, 2020
    We launched too early on EA, I do not recommend it. Our game are so hyped and popular anyway so will most likely gain traction later on, but releasing on EA did nothing for us, we hoped to be able to focus less on our day jobs but we are two dev's (3 counting the wife of one of us) and we can't live on the money that steam provides. (it also depend on your individual standard of living offcourse).

    We are lucky that we still have a name and have hype, not all dev's that launch too early have this so I really recommend not to launch too early.
  5. neginfinity


    Jan 27, 2013

    Early Access usually means "playable" (EA titles are supposed to be closer to "beta" quality, not "alpha" quality), but it also usually implies "this project will never be finished".

    Typical expectation of an Early Access project to drag on for many years and then fizzle out, failing to reach its potential and failing to fulfill any promises made.
  6. Billy4184


    Jul 7, 2014
    Ryiah is right about early access. But in the example you posted, I don't think it was the main problem. The dev made key mistakes any one of which could have been fatal for the game, many of which they already realized.

    But the thing with early access not being early anymore is not a problem of confusion or misunderstanding of players, it's a natural consequence of gross oversupply and limited attention. I don't think Valheim succeeded so well simply because it 'did early access right' as such, but rather because it was in a competitively marketable state in a saturated market. Players have determined that those two concepts coincide. But I don't think its necessarily so.
    Socrates, Ryiah and cyangamer like this.
  7. Murgilod


    Nov 12, 2013
    Your game has fifty reviews on Steam and they're mixed.

    edit: my mistake, 70. The page was culling some and yet my point stands.
    Last edited: Apr 25, 2021
    JoNax97 likes this.
  8. GoGoGadget


    Sep 23, 2013
    Having released my own game on Early Access way back in the day when it was 'cool', one thing that you have to remember is that when you release on EA, you will develop your game 'slower' from there on out. Even moreso if you release a multiplayer game.

    People who invest in your game on EA do so with the expectation that they will see lots of activity - updates, fixes to bugs they are experiencing, etc. So at a time when you may want to take a month to knuckle down and work on core game mechanics, you will instead be taking a week out of that month doing things like helping JimmySwag_xXx and his buddies because your game doesn't open on their computer, and tweaking damage values in your balance spreadsheet because everyone in your forums is complaining about how OP some item is.

    Like others have said, if you release in EA, get your game ready beforehand. Don't actually release some Early Access alpha that still needs core system development.
    Socrates likes this.
  9. Joe-Censored


    Mar 26, 2013
    An EA release is the real release, even though it sounds like a pre-release public beta. Players will treat it like the real release. Consider that as far as the state of your game.