On March 20, Valve has made a shocking announcement of a new service for Steam, their popular gaming platform. The new service is called Early Access and lets gamers play brand new games while they're still in development. Nothing like this has ever been done before and something of this nature has the true potential to change the way games are developed for the PC.
The service is basically for specific of the Steam community. All of the games available in the service are, as mentioned earlier, still in early development. Gamers can download these titles and once they encounter a bug or a fatal error, they can notify the developers. This feature alone will drastically lower the amounts of problems in future Steam titles.
Here are the first available titles for Early Access:
- 1... 2... 3... KICK IT! (Drop That Beat Like an Ugly Baby)
- Arma III
- Drunken Robot Pornography
- Gear Up
- Kerbal Space Program
- Kinetic Void
- Prison Architect
- Under the Ocean
It's unknown if you have to sign up for the service or it it's available for all members of the Steam community, but whatever the case may be, it's still a revolutionary service. More companies now have another reason to try and compete against Steam. Since Valve is releasing a Steam console for living rooms later this year, other console developers will have a tough time trying to compete.
Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo are the 3 main competitors in the 8th generation of gaming. Valve hasn't considered the future Steam home console to be an 8th generation console, but it's believed that the announcement could come at any given moment. It's possible that Sony could release a service similar to the Early Access feature that Steam finally has. It'd be great if gamers could play the future 'God of War' titles while they're still in development. If Nintendo were to create a service like this, gamers would buy a Wii U just to play early versions of future Mario titles.
Of course, if everyone decides to offer a service like this, they can't have every person doing this. They would have to carefully select a few new gamers per month to participate. If they find a bug, they could get paid or rewarded with a free version of the game. Gaming is starting to enter some very strange places and we'll see how this feature turns out in the next few years.