Valve seems to be taking another shot at attempting to bridge the communication gap between game developers and gamers. The company has kicked off a new feature on its digital distribution platform Steam that gives gamers the option to buy unfinished games while they are in beta or alpha stages.

Much like Steam Greenlight, this seems like another attempt at getting gamers to have more of a say in the development of games. It essentially gives other developers the option to have a similar funding model to that of Mojang's sandbox game Minecraft.

When Minecraft was still in development, Mojang released the alpha version of the game so that those interested could  buy the game at a reduced price and play it, and invariably help with the bug testing. This worked out great for the company, as the game was hit right from its alpha days.

Valve kicks off the Early Access system

Valve kicks off the Early Access system

“A lot of games are already operating as ongoing services that grow and evolve with the involvement of customers and the community,” said Sean Pollman of Badland Studio, according to Eurogamer, whose space sim Kinetic Void is one of the first 12 games to be a part of the program. “Greenlight helped us raise awareness for Kinetic Void, and now Steam Early Access will let us continue the development of our game while gathering crucial feedback, input and support from the steam Community.”

The first 12 games on the new service are as follows:

  • 1… 2… 3… KICK IT! (Drop That Beat Like an Ugly Baby)
  • Arma 3
  • Drunken Robot Pornography
  • Gear Up
  • Gnomoria
  • Kenshi
  • Kerbal Space Program
  • Kinetic Void
  • Patterns
  • Prison Architect
  • StarForge
  • Under the Ocean

Valve's previous attempt at promoting transparency between developers and gamers was Greenlight. Greenlight was launched back in September last year, and while a lot of games have been vetted out through the system and have made it to the main Steam store, the developers at Valve clearly aren't happy about it.

Steam Greenlight allows developers and publishers to post information and media about their game in an effort to convince the community that the game should be released on Steam. Greenlight piggybacks on Steam Workshop’s flexible system that organises content and lets customers rate and leave feedback.

The problem smaller developers had with Steam was that when they were attempting to get their game on Steam, they’d either get a “yes” or “no” for an answer. No explanation was given otherwise. Greenlight looks to help the developers who submit videos, demos, screenshots etc. and let the community decide if the game is worth being on Steam.

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