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The new message from Valve regarding Steam Early Access is 'caveat emptor,' more or less. More specifically, Valve decided to update its Steam Early Access FAQ page to warn gamers that some titles may never end up finished and released, so don't make a purchase unless you're stoked to play the game in its current form. Apparently Valve felt it was a necessary clarification following the Earth: Year 2066 fiasco.
In case you missed it, Valve yanked Earth: Year 2066 from Early Access back in May and gave customers full refunds. The game was in such shoddy form that gamers felt bamboozled and became outraged at the developers. The amended FAQ for Early Access doesn't give developers the green light to screw over gamers, but it does serve as a warning for less extreme cases.
"Early Access is a full purchase of a playable game. By purchasing, you gain immediate access to download and play the game in its current form and as it evolves. You keep access to the game, even if the game later moves from Early Access into fully released," Valve explains.
Note the use of the word "if" not "when," meaning it's not guaranteed that an Early Access title will ever be complete. If that's not obvious enough, Valve adds in another entry that gamers "should be aware that some teams be unable to 'finish' their game. So you should only buy an Early Access game if you are excited about playing it in its current state."
You can read more here.