How to fix Early Access

Early Access

Early Access is a Steam way to play an unfinished game. You can buy a game “in development” and play it at a price of a final product, sometimes with a little discount. And Early Access is broken. There is no doubt about it. I had better talk about solutions to make this system more consumer friendly.

Separation.
Red border or warning border around the game banner will be ok.
Currently all games with an Early Access tag in the Steam store have no visual difference from a completed game. There is only a little text “Early Access” somewhere in a tag list. It’s like “we warned you, but you had better not notice it, because we want you to buy it anyway”. It’s false advertising, buddy.

Obligations and sanctions.
It’s a straight forward way of saying “You are not gonna get away with your promises”. Games are not Politics. This is not ‘Nam. This is gaming. There are rules. If you are making a promise, give us a date and fixed scope. Yes, I am aware of risks, but I’m not going to believe anyone who just says bs without specifics. If you fail to make a game by a date with this scope, you will receive some sanctions. It’s an open question for a customer to decide what it’s going to be. Maybe refund?

Refunds.
Yes, it is. One-hour refund will be ok. I don’t know how fair the dev is with his promises. I should have an automated way of getting my money back. This is a digital world and this is only an hour of a game at stake. Give me a demo!

The Early Access is a good thing and has some right ideas behind it, but it is insanely unfriendly implemented. Customers should be safe from scam and lie. There is a store responsibility to make this clear.