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Uber releases  Planetary Annihilation  as an Early Access retail game
Uber releases Planetary Annihilation as an Early Access retail game
June 30, 2014 | By Mike Rose

June 30, 2014 | By Mike Rose
More: Console/PC, Business/Marketing

"The real question is, why not? After all, they are getting the same game, just earlier."
- Planetary Annihilation director Jan Mavor comments on why the game has launched at retail before it's finished.

Uber Entertainment received over $2 million through Kickstarter for Planetary Annihilation back in 2012, and the game launched on Steam Early Access last year. It's due to be completed later this year.

Now a Reddit user has spotted that Uber released the game at retail as an Early Access game. The company has told Game Informer that the launch is an experiment in innovating on the current business models.

"We've been trying really hard to innovate on business models during the entire development of [Planetary Annihilation]," says Mavor. "We had planned to do a retail release all along and the early access box came about as part of our experimental attitude."

He added, "Since early access works so well, our partners at Nordic thought that it would be worth trying an early access retail edition and we agreed it was a cool idea."

Early Access on Steam is still a relatively new concept that is evolving rapidly, and Mavor notes, "It's a changing world and we hope to continue trying out new and innovative ways to make games."

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Andrew Shaftling
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It's probably the first and the last time I'll say first but... let me sit down and quietly watch the discussion drama unfold.

Leevi Koskivuori
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I hope they are prepared for the backslash this will cause in time. Many reviewers consider games that cross this point as done. (Or polished to at last minimum extent).

On a side note; I think Valve needs to step in. "Early Access" is being abused for selling a game that is not finished, nor is there a guarantee for it to be finished. Edit: In retail

Leo Quensel
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Valve has nothing to do with this.

Andreas Heldt
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Another "innovative" idea.
We sell empty boxes and if there are enough games sold, we make the game.

Honestly, it would be funny if it wouldn't be so reality.

SD Marlow
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Yes, the new motto is: "If you buy it, we will build it*"

*money from kickstarter, early access, and pre-orders may not be enough to actually complete this game, and even if it is, we will still find a way to charge players once it's complete so we can actually make some money.

[User Banned]
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This user violated Gamasutra’s Comment Guidelines and has been banned.

Benjamin McCallister
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I would rather valve focus on curation of content and quality control than nitpicking what constitutes a finished product than.

Given the number of patches, dlc, launch problems etc that plague major AAA "releases", the ongoing nature of MMORPG development, etc, I think its a given we're entering a world where what constitutes a released product is a moving target.

As a software developer, system architect, and now game developer (in training) I wholeheartedly embrace that change.

I am very interested to see how this goes.

[User Banned]
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This user violated Gamasutra’s Comment Guidelines and has been banned.

Tony Dormanesh
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Picked this up during the Steam sale because I'm pretty sure I was going to buy it when it "comes out". Loaded it up, tried to play a game 4-5 times and it crashed on finding a game each time. Gave up and probably won't play it again until it "comes out" for real.

But I did get it for less than $20. I guess I have blind faith in Uber because I love MNC, RTS and the idea of nuking planets.

I don't feel screwed over because it is early access and I was aware of that fact when I bought it, but yea, a few years ago this wouldn't have been acceptable. On the other hand if my early purchase helps pay an Uber designer for 1/2 an hour and he fixes bugs in that time; then I got a deal on a game where I would have had to spend $60+ to buy in the past, and I helped fund the game.

If early access and crowdfunding help small devs survive, I'm all for it. 3-4 giant publishers controlling everything was ok at best.

Leo Quensel
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You might want to check out the support forums of Uber - there are a lot of helpful people there. The game is actually already very playable.
I have played the game since the first alpha version and have yet to experience a crash.

Hicsy Australia
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GPG did retail/presale for Supreme Commander too...