Pay for beta software with Steam’s “Early Access”

Tired of waiting for games to be fully complete and released before you can buy them? Wish you could play a game while it’s still a bug-riddled, in-development mess? Well, Valve has got you covered with its new “Early Access” sales program.

The program lets players buy games that haven’t finished development yet; it lets developers charge you for the privilege of putting their unfinished game through its paces, warts and all.

Back in MY day, beta testers didn’t have to pay for the games they tested, and they’d usually get a free copy out of the deal too. My, how times have changed. And not for the better.

  • taylorishere


  • Pacomius


    (Because someone had to say it)

  • JoshCalvetti

    This does seem a bit odd… but in the same sense, there are far too many people that clamor for “beta access” when they have absolutely no plans of actually reporting bugs (other than raging that X doesn’t work).

    No one is forcing people to pay for these games, but plenty of people would for sure.

    Beta testing rarely is now what it used to be.

  • Herding_sheep

    Well, you have to consider the fact that beta testing “back in the day” was very limited, and very hard to get in to. Its not like some average joe could just test a game if he wanted to, he would have to participate in some kind of beta, and actually TEST the game with feedback for the developers.

    This is quite different. It lets you get an early taste of a game if you want to, for basically any average joe. I say its a great idea, and gives the developers an opportunity to earn a little extra money to help them polish the game for a final release.

    I’m sure developers will still have very traditional beta programs. This is just an ADDED option, for developers on Steam. I fail to see how this is such a bad thing. If you don’t want to pay money to try out a game early, then don’t do it. If you want to be an actual beta tester for the developers, then developers will almost surely still have those kinds of programs, for when they truly need to test a game before release.

  • MacsenMcBain

    I haven’t found Steam to be reliable enough with some of the released games that I’ve sampled. No way I’d pay for their betas.

  • Andy

    Betas “in your day” were feature complete and only looking for feedback on bugs. Minecraft and Kerbal Space Program (along with the others I hope) are/were releasing patches on a regular basis full of new content and bug fixes based on feedback from the community. This is something different.

  • Maybe they can crowdsource the graphics next.

  • gabe

    No one’s making you buy one of these “bug-riddled” games. Shut the fuck up.