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The perils, opportunities, and responsibilities of Steam Early Access
The perils, opportunities, and responsibilities of Steam Early Access
August 26, 2014 | By Christian Nutt

August 26, 2014 | By Christian Nutt
More: Console/PC, Indie, Production, Business/Marketing

"We wouldn't have been able to make this game without alpha funding, it's as simple as that."
- Project Zomboid developer Chris Simpson

In a new article on Joystiq, three prominent Steam Early Access developers weigh in on the state of the service.

Project Zomboid developer Chris Simpson is confident that Early Access is the only way that his game could have been made -- but also wary that if he were to launch an Early Access project today, players would stay away, thanks to the service's tarnished reputation.

In fact, Crypt of the NecroDancer developer Ryan Clark said developers he polled prior to launching the game on Early Access were evenly split on whether he should or should not, and he's seen players worry that he might grab their cash and run. (His game hit number one on the Steam sales charts.)

"I knew there were lots of people out there who refuse to buy Early Access games just on principle because they've been burned or heard bad things. If it weren't for that stigma, you would Early Access any game that it made sense for," Clark says.

Simpson believes that Early Access is simply a question of ethics: "I guess we feel this sort of shared responsibility because everyone's in that same space, everyone's got the same customers. So you've got responsibility to the consumers, but you've got responsibility to other developers who come after you or come around the same time."

The full article has more from Simpson and Clark, as well as Klei Entertainment's Jamie Cheng, whose Don't Starve was an Early Access favorite.

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Todd Boyd
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Well, actually, without Alpha funding, they might have been able to do it. However, they lost all of their assets when they were hacked/robbed/whatever it was, and practically had to start over.

Sam Watkins
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"Over the weekend a burglary at the Newcastle home of two of the developers saw two laptops stolen. Months of work on the latest build of Project Zomboid were lost."

Very unfortunate. I'm surprised that a developer would not keep remote backups over Internet. I always do that, using git.