Steam continues to go from strength to strength and nowadays offers so much more than simply being the PC’s answer to the PSN or Xbox Live. In addition to Steam Greenlight giving indy game developers the chance to unleash their wares on the gaming public, Valve is now offering the chance to play new games well ahead of release, in an addition called Early Access.
Early Access will allow Steam users to play selected titles during the development process and provide feedback to developers on how to improve the game before release, in essence allowing players to act as beta testers much earlier in the development process. There will be a shared sense of community around Early Access as well, with gamers easily able to discuss titles with fellow users and compare their experiences. Several of the first Steam Early Access games have been announced, including Arma 3, Kinetic Void and Gear Up.
Sean Pollman of Badland Studios said; “A lot of games are already operating as ongoing services that grow and evolve with the involvement of customers and the community. Greenlight helped us raise awareness for Kinetic Void, and now Steam Early Access will let us continue the development of our game whilst gathering crucial feedback, input and support from the Steam community.”