Sony Considering Its Own Early Access Program
Could PlayStation consoles be getting their own version of an early access program to try out games while they're still being developed?
In Gamasutra's interview with Adam Boyes, Sony's vice president of developer and publisher relations admitted that his company was tossing around the possibility of having an early access program for PlayStation consoles. Of course, Valve has received tremendous success with Steam's Early Access program, but there are plenty of problemswith that system as well.
On one hand, games like Arma 3 warranted lots of early access purchases and helped iron out the game in its alpha and beta stages of development. This does help developers test out their game beyond private testing while giving fans incentive to support their projects. At the same time, there have been games that players have supported via early access that never came to be, with many fans unable to get refunds because it was their choice to back the game in the first place
In terms of Steam Early Access, Boyes had the following to say:
That’s one of the massive conversations we have internally -- that, at what point does [a game meet standards of release]? We still at some point ensure that we're being mindful of the consumer. We don't want somebody to stumble across that title and expect a full product, and have a negative experience.
At the same time, I'm like you -- I want to help bootstrap people, to bootstrap them, to help them out. Like supporting the underdog for a sports team.
That's the thing -- we live in a different world. There are different types of people. There people who always back games, enjoy Kickstarters, try things that they know aren't finished but are willing to help make better. I remember playing Rust and laughing hysterically. And there were some things that weren't finished, but I had a ton of fun. It was super intense.
Gamasutra mentioned that these underdog titles are now climbing to the top of Steam's sales charts and asked how early in the developmental process could a studio sell a game on PlayStation.
"Honestly, we're working through that right now. We're figuring out what's ok. We obviously have our tech requirement checklist that people have to adhere to. So we're internally discussing, what does that list look like this? What are the caveats? Stuff like this," Boyes said. "So it's still a project that a lot of minds are considering. No details yet, but it's something on the top of my mind every day."
Lastly, Boyes mentioned that hundreds of developers around the world are now working with a Project Morpheus development kit. This suggests we might be seeing quite a lot of Sony virtual reality projects in the works for the PlayStation 4.