If I had paid money for H1Z1, I’d be pretty pissed off right now. Some players have already taken to demanding refunds. And I can’t blame them.
I laughed out loud when I saw that Polygon put up a review of H1Z1 on their site this morning. But I have to admit that a review is a fitting response to Daybreak Game Company selling the game on Steam. Not that Polygon hasn’t been on the H1Z1 beat already.
Yeah, yeah, cry me a river about that “Early Access” disclaimer.
I wouldn’t dream of endorsing a review of a product that was in alpha or beta and testing with volunteers. But my view, and this is an opinion that I hold pretty strongly, is that once you are charging money and have a cash shop setup, trying to hide behind words like “Beta” (the long time Zynga ploy… do you want to be like Zynga?) or “Early Access” is a bullshit move.
The “Early Access” disclaimer has to compete with the pie-in-the-sky marketing vision about what the game might be some day way down the road when it is finished.
A “fully transparent” approach to game design would require the equivalent of “Warning: Lark’s Vomit” on the Steam store page and the SOE web site. (Since there is no Daybreak web site yet.)
And Daybreak Game Company is out there with not one but two early access events, with Landmark having mucked about in some sort of limbo for over a year at this point. And to echo the quote at the top of the page, after my free time in Landmark I was pretty happy I didn’t pay any money for it. And don’t get me started on the irony of a company whose motto is “Free to Play Your Way” and has a subscription program called “All Access” that doesn’t actually give you access to all of their games.
Yeah, I am on a bit of a rant here over what is probably a pretty small item in the grand scheme of things. And it would certainly be fair game to ask how I reconcile this with Kickstarter campaigns and pre-orders and whatever other industry practices I don’t seem to take issue with that share some similarities with early access. My primary goal in all things of late is the finished game, something I even mentioned in the earlier post about Crowfall. I already have a day job in software development, I don’t need/want to keep fretting about code when I get home at night.
And who knows, the whole early access thing might work out. I’m just not convinced right now that paid early access is a good thing for the industry, and it is Smed’s handiwork with Landmark and H1Z1 that has pushed me in that direction.
Anyway, cheers to Polygon for having a policy about reviewing early access games so people know what they are getting for their money. How do you feel about that?