Valve found a way to include gamers in the development process of new titles.
Sure, any old Joe with enough funds can go out and purchase a finished game to play at his leisure, but you typically need to have a foot in the door with a developer to test upcoming titles before they're made available to the general public. Valve is doing its part to change that with a new "Early Access" initiative that allows Steam gamers to purchase, play, and provide feedback for select games that are still in development.
Yes, you read that right, you still have to pay to play games that aren't fully fleshed out and potentially buggy. You're essentially investing in a backstage pass, only your feedback is both welcomed and encouraged by the developers who might end up implementing your suggestions.
"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. "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."
Early Access players will receive automatic game updates. They'll also be able to interact with other players to share and swap screenshots, tips, and in-depth guides, Valve says.
There are currently a dozen Early Access titles ranging in price from $8 to $33, including a title called "Drunken Robot Pornography," which is nothing like it sounds.
Thoughts on Steam's new initiative? Post them below!