Despite the increased popularity of Steam’s Early Access model, only a quarter of the games published through it actually get a full release, according to EEDAR.
Patrick Walker, EEDAR’s head of Insights and Analytics revealed the troubling numbers and more on GamesIndustry.biz.
The numbers concern games released via the program in 2013 and 2014. While it may be unfair to count games released in 2014 into this bracket, given 2014 is when the model really took off and given how long it takes to develop games, the statistics for games released in 2013 are not looking good either.
Nine games launched through Early Access in March 2013, only three of those games received a full release. The same is true for the overall number of games released in the same year, only 43 games out of a total of 103 were released as full games.
“While there are clearly many benefits to an Early Access model, there is also the possibility of a broken promise to the consumer,” Walker said. “This is not unlike other models in the games industry, such as crowdfunding through Kickstarter or selling a DLC Season Pass, where the consumer pays up front for promised content.”
“A notable difference between those particular models and Steam’s Early Access program is the lack of a firm release window; on Early Access, a game could theoretically stay in development and be sold to consumers indefinitely, whereas a Season Pass is rolled out within a specific time frame and all Kickstarter projects are presented with an estimated ‘delivery date’.
“Thus far, Early Access has not received as much negative attention as these similar business models. Quite the opposite, as the Steam Early Access program has provided a legitimacy to paid beta programs outside of Steam. However, it will be interesting to see if this becomes an issue for consumers if the current trend of Early Access games spending a long time in development (or never reaching release) continues.”