Valve Pulls Earth: Year 2066 From Steam Early Access
The Early Access program on Valve’s Steam platform has been a boon for both gamers and smaller developers and publishers. Allowing players to buy games before they are finished has made it possible for developers to fine-tune their games with player feedback, and helped underfunded projects see the light of day. For all the program’s success, however, it does leave the door open for unscrupulous devs to abuse the system and exploit gamers with false claims and undercooked games.
Citing a “broken” game and inaccurate claims on the game’s product page, Valve has pulled Earth: Year 2066 from Steam and offered full refunds to unhappy customers, according to Eurogamer. This comes after a slew of complaints about the title on Reddit, as well as a scathing review and expository video by game reviewer Jim Sterling. The video reveals the game to be a rudimentary, poorly designed, downright ugly piece of software that is entirely unfit for sale. In addition to the game’s obvious lack of quality, players have also complained that their negative reviews and forum posts on the game’s Steam page were modified by the developer, Killing Day Studios, to be more favorable to the game. Other negative posts were allegedly removed entirely by the dev. Reddit posters have even accused the developer of enlisting friends to post fake positive reviews for the game.
Valve employee Chris D explained the game’s removal on the Steam forum:
"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...We have removed Earth: Year 2066 from Early Access on Steam. Customers who purchased the game will be able to get a refund on the store page until Monday May 19th."
Earth: Year 2066 is the second game to be removed from the Steam library, following 2013’s The War Z, also removed for making false claims on its product page. Early Access is a great service with huge success stories like Rust and DayZ, but it’s a system that relies on trust. Customers need to know that the developers are making every effort to live up to their promises, or it simply won’t work. While it’s great that Valve is refunding everyone’s money, it’s disappointing that it ever got to this point.