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Valve Overhauls Steam Early Access Rules Following Investigation

When the media works for the consumer there is nothing but good things to come out of it for the whole marketplace. Media who advocates pro-consumerism means that there is more transparency, more disclosure and less corruption. This was recently put into play when IGN investigated the Early Access success rate and found a startling trend.

Back on November 17th, 2014, IGN published an article about an EEDAR investigation that appeared on GamesIndustry.biz that rolled out the estimated percentage of games that release as full games on Steam. So how many games from Early Access do release as full titles? 25%.

IGN did an updated article following a piece on Giant Bomb, which cites an overhaul undertaken by Valve for the Early Access platform.

Valve has new guidelines for developers, stating...

“When you launch a game in Steam Early Access, there is an expectation by customers that you will continue development to a point where you have what you consider a 'finished' game. We know that nobody can predict the future, and circumstances frequently change, which may result in a game failing to reach a 'finished' state, or may fail to meet customer expectations in some other way. We work hard to make sure this risk is communicated clearly to customers, but we also ask that developers follow a set of rules that are intended to help inform customers and set proper expectations when purchasing your game."

The Giant Bomb article is pretty lengthy, and rolls out a lot of the different guidelines and rule-sets that Valve has put into place regarding Early Access titles so as to prevent more games like Earth: Year 2066 from ending up on the service only for gamers to get pissed off and the developers to seemingly bail on the project.

Another important rule that Valve set is that developers can't have higher prices on Early Access games than what they're priced at on other digital distribution services. So developers won't be able to make more money from being on Steam than say, Desura or GOG.com by having a higher price on Valve's service.

There's a list of the dos and don'ts over on Giant Bomb that Valve rolled out.

It's nice to see IGN reporting on this issue, as they've managed to receive a lot of praise and support from the gaming community after they acknowledged that they would be making their code of ethics public, as well as taking measures to look into a discrepancy involving a graphics comparison between the home consoles and PC version of Dragon Age: Inquisition.

I'm just amazed that IGN's higher-ups have taken to heart the concerns of gamers and have opted to do what they can to appease their audience without much pushback. I'm shocked to say it, but IGN publisher Tal Blevins directly communicating with the audience and making changes to be more transparent and offer more disclosure for the public is a shocking, astonishing and encouraging thing for the gaming industry.

Will Usher

Staff Writer at CinemaBlend.