I don’t like it. More specifically, I think it’s a very dishonest practice, with limited consumer protection. Anyone can name a dozen “games” that were in early access and that never delivered.
Kickstarter is something different. You are not paying for an early version of the game, you are paying to help developers. Early Access, the STEAM kind, is you paying to be an alpha/beta tester. Landmark did this, collected oodles of money, and they took a sunset. A large amount stay in early access for years. In practical terms, the difference between pre-ordering and early access is that there’s a date on the former. And I have a massive dislike for pre-orders.
I am going to harp on ME:4. I know that Isey is in love with the game. Metacritic does not share that attitude. The difference here is that if you enjoy the story/lore, then you can look past the technical hurdles. The fact that EA had a rather large patch to address the technical items, in a short time frame, is fairly indicative that they knew this was a problem beforehand. How many games now have day 1 patches? Or week 1? That measure in gigs?
I played D3 on release. I avoided SimCity like the plague. I won’t buy any EA game on release day, or release week. These are broken models.
I understand the marketing gimmicks of release windows. I get that software development is hard, and only gets harder as you close in on due dates. I also understand that a game that releases in a buggy format is remembered for that failure, while a game that is released late is remembered for working.
We gamers need to stop rewarding this horrible business practices. We are so consumed with instant access to everything that we’ve lost the ability to wait for quality. Being a tester is not a privilege that we should be paying for. It’s a privilege that developers should be paying us, as we’re doing their jobs. We need to spend our money on quality, rather than quantity, and reward ethical behavior.
Money is the only thing that makes this world go round. Let’s use our wallets to get voices heard.