On platforms like the PC and Steam, “Early Access” games have been on the rise, giving gamers hands-on time with certain titles before launch, though usually at some sort of cost. The DayZ Alpha comes to mind as one of the more popular titles to adopt the approach.
Now, it looks like developers within Microsoft’s Xbox@ID program are looking to do the same with future Xbox One games. ID@Xbox head Chris Charla commented on it in an interview with Develop.
“When we talk about Early Access, it typically means a game that you buy and it evolves over time to become 1.0, so you’re buying it before it’s 1.0, Minecraft on PC is a perfect example. It’s something developers have been asking for, and we are listening really closely to developers, but I don’t have anything to announce on that right now.”
Though allowing early access to games can prove beneficial to both gamers and developers, it can become disheartening to buy into knowing some of these games might not even be finished. According to Charla, Microsoft plans to address this when considering Early Access programs:
“It’s a really interesting issue with digital marketplaces, and it’s something our store and marketplace team think about all the time. There’s a lot of heavy deep thinkers, experts, PhDs working on these problems at Xbox every day–not just for the Xbox store, but for Windows Store and Windows Phone. Our goal is to have a rational marketplace, where good games are visible and sell well.”
Sony too has considered similar programs for the PlayStation 4, though neither company has anything to announce.
What are your thoughts on Early Access titles? Let us know in the comment section below!