Xbox Early Access is Something Devs Want, Says ID@Xbox's Charla
Written Monday, July 14, 2014 By Richard WalkerView author's profile
An Early Access programme is something that Steam has being providing PC users with for a long time, and as Sony considers its own Early Access initiative for PS4 games, Microsoft too could be introducing a similar service, especially since it's becoming an increasingly common request among ID@Xbox developers. That's according to ID@Xbox's Chris Charla.
Early Access enables developers to build revenue during the final stages of active development, while helping to gather helpful feedback from the community, providing they're prepared to purchase an early version of the game. Things like bug reports and other feedback can prove invaluable for devs, while consumers can get their hands on a game early.
"Right now on Xbox One and Xbox 360, you can do betas. A lot of games do, and some games do private betas," Charla told Develop. "When we talk about early access, it typically means a game that you buy and it evolves over time to become 1.0, so you're buying it before it's 1.0 – Minecraft on PC is a perfect example.
"It's something developers have been asking for, and we are listening really closely to developers, but I don't have anything to announce on that right now."
However, Charla notes that Xbox is keen to avoid the pitfalls associated with Steam Greenlight, in which users vote for projects they want released. This has led to a marketplace filled with unfinished and sometimes entirely broken games under the label of 'alpha release'.
"It's a really interesting issue with digital marketplaces, and it's something our store and marketplace team think about all the time," Charla stated. "There's a lot of heavy deep thinkers, experts, PhDs working on these problems at Xbox every day – not just for the Xbox store, but for Windows Store and Windows Phone. Our goal is to have a rational marketplace, where good games are visible and sell well."
Do you reckon an Early Access programme for Xbox sounds like a good idea?