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Steam's Early Access rules and guidelines are dangerously lax

Steam's Early Access policies are too hands-off to be effective

Steam's Early Access rules and guidelines are dangerously lax

Steam's Early Access policies are too hands-off to be effective

 

Steam's official Early Access rules and guidelines are dangerously lax, containing only 4 rules and no punishments for breaking them. These rules and guidelines were previously only available to developers, but PC Gamer has recently obtained a copy and published them online.  

Below are Steam's four Early Access rules, which Steam says that "developers need to follow". Most of these rules are common sense on Steam's part, but others are actively harmful to the Steam community, especially the "Do not make specific promises about future events" rule. 

1. You must include Steam Early Access branding and information about the current state of your game on any third-party sites where you are distributing Steam keys for your Early Access game.

2. Do not make specific promises about future events.

3. If Valve is enabling your Early Access game we expect you to have the Early Access game available for sale on the Steam store. 

4. Don't overcharge Steam customers.

 

Valve sees Early Access as an opportunity for game developers and the community to work together to forge a gameplay experience that both gamers and the developers want. 

Rule two of Steam's Early Access Rulebook actively discourages Early Access Developers from announcing their future plans or development schedule for the title. This forces Early Access gamers to buy the game with insufficient information on the title and without any idea about what the title will become in the future. While this is beneficial when it comes to advertising a game based on its current state, it encourages developers to be unspecific about future features and future game content.  

To be frank, these "rules" only serve to protect Valve, ensuring that developers market their game as an Early Access title, market their games based on its current features and prevent developers from selling their games at lower prices on other online storefronts. These rules seek to protect Valve from a legal standpoint, not the consumer, especially given the fact that breaking these rules have no set punishment. 

 

Steam's Early Access rules and guidelines are dangerously lax  

Early Access also has a set of five guidelines, which are not official rules and are mostly a collection of best practices for Early access development. Again these guidelines can be read in full at PC Gamer

 

1. Don’t launch in Early Access if you can’t afford to develop with very few or no sales.

2. Make sure you set expectations properly everywhere you talk about your game.

3. Don't launch in Early Access without a playable game.

4. Don't launch in Early Access if you are done with development.

5. Early Access is not a Pre-Purchase

 

These guidelines are to ensure that gamers receive a product that playable in its current state and is early enough in development that aspects of the game can be changed based on fan feedback. Please note that launching an Early access game that is "playable" on release is a guideline and not a rule.  

All-in-all Steam's Early Access rules and guidelines are far too lax to ensure that gamers have a good experience, showing a severe lack of oversight from Valve and an unwillingness to properly police their service. If Valve wants to continue being the largest gaming Storefront on PC they will need to improve their service and create a more defined ruleset and actively enforce it.

 

You can join the discussion on Steam's Early Access Rules and Guidelines on the OC3D Forums

 

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Most Recent Comments

04-10-2016, 05:43:34

SuB
Yeah there's way more than this, but it's all NDA'd to the eyeballs, so this is a bit of a false picture of Early Access, especially the bit about harming the customer.

Sorry dude but this one's just based on misinformation.Quote

04-10-2016, 06:22:19

GiantKiwi
Quote:
Originally Posted by SuB View Post
Yeah there's way more than this, but it's all NDA'd to the eyeballs, so this is a bit of a false picture of Early Access, especially the bit about harming the customer.

Sorry dude but this one's just based on misinformation.
Well, they need to be considerably more transparent then. If rules are under NDA's it's setting a precedent to allow all manner of bull to occur.Quote

04-10-2016, 06:50:43

SuB
Quote:
Originally Posted by GiantKiwi View Post
Well, they need to be considerably more transparent then. If rules are under NDA's it's setting a precedent to allow all manner of bull to occur.
That's just not how it works unfortunately.Quote

04-10-2016, 07:08:12

GiantKiwi
Quote:
Originally Posted by SuB View Post
That's just not how it works unfortunately.
It does in other aspects of the software industry, and it will be happening eventually with the increasing number of investigations into early access products, otherwise they'll be losing the capability entirely in certain countries.Quote

04-10-2016, 07:10:10

SuB
Quote:
Originally Posted by GiantKiwi View Post
It does in other aspects of the software industry, and it will be happening eventually with the increasing number of investigations into early access products, otherwise they'll be losing the capability entirely in certain countries.
Be that as it may, even the pricing setup is NDA'd for Steam, it's just how they operate. Same as any other big business that works with multiple customers.Quote
Reply
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