Gamers complained; Valve listened. In a startling turn of events, the first Early Access game deemed unfit for sale on the Steam store has been removed and refunds are being issued by the company at the very moment of the writing of this article.
Eurogamer caught wind of the fallout following a post on the Steam forums by Valve employee Chris D., where it was explained that developers of Earth: Year 2066, misled consumers with false information and expectations about their title, saying...
On Steam, developers make their own decisions about promotion, features, pricing and publication. However, Steam does require honesty from developers in the marketing of their games.
Barely 10 days of refunds. Interesting.
Still, it's good that Valve was forthcoming enough to investigate this Early Access game after gamers voiced countless complaints over the quality (or lack thereof) with Killing Day Studios' Earth : Year 2066.
Despite their reputation, Valve is listening.
Given the company's move of making sure that Early Access games no longer appear front-and-center on the Steam store, it does remove some of the risk of uninformed (or comprehension deficient) gamers from clicking on an Early Access game and purchasing a copy without reading any of the highlighted warning signs about it being in development.
What's more is that some titles rarely see updates, some titles see no updates at all and other titles are so quality starved that they get labeled as indefinitely “broken” and unfit for sale, such as Earth: Year 2066.
Previously, Valve had made it known that they would not allow for refunds for Early Access titles that were cancelled. However, if they have to forcefully remove a game from their listing like Donald Sterling being removed from the NBA, then they will allow for a measure of refunds for people who have been “duped” into a broken product.
While detractors of the Early Access program have made their voices loud and clear, like Game Keys Now, the service is ultimately better than other forms of payment in the AAA sector. I mean, you pay to pre-order a game you have no way of testing before release, like some kind of miracle promise to a disease you never asked to be ailed with, only to find out that the miracle promise isn't even a cure, but just a placebo until the company can fix their product to work as intended. How on Earth do we still abide by that neanderthalic practice?
At least with Early Access you have a way to let people know that a game sucks before it official releases, and that's a heck of a lot better than waiting for it to release and then being duped into picking up a copy on day-one because of journalist-cozy embargos, laced all across crappy unfinished games like some kind of silk ribbon on a Christmas present you couldn't pay your father-in-law to take home with him even if you cut him a check for half your take home pay.
Early Access with the option to complain? Count me in, keep in me and don't let me out. AAA titles with pre-orders for games you can't play-test until the money is in the coffers of a publisher and a review is $60 too late and a day overdo? No, thanks. I'll keep with door number one.