Guess what, guys? Soon games will never again be finished. They will forever sit in a perpetually unfinished state.
Okay okay. Joking aside, GOG (you can’t call them Good Ole Games anymore, so don’t even try) today unveiled their take on selling unfinished games, the “Games in Development” program. Basically it’s early access, but done the GOG way. Hand-picked, DRM free, and a 14-day return policy.
GOG’s announcement goes into all the details.
The good news is that this seems a whole lot more curated than Steam’s attempt. Their motto has sort of been, “we give you all the games, every game, and it’s up to you to decide if you like it, or if it should’ve even been sold in the first place.”
Contrary to that, right now there are only five games in GOG’s program:
GOG will even let you roll back your game to a previous version if something ends up borked. Not just the most recent versions, either, all of them. So when a game is done, you can go back and play that first version and reminisce on what a piece of junk it was.
I think it’s a safe bet at this point that unfinished games aren’t going anywhere anytime soon, and honestly, they probably shouldn’t. Games that have done early access well via Steam have benefited from it tremendously.
Sure, there are the few games that simply get abandoned, but that’s the same for some AAA titles, too. Plenty of those games get the plug pulled before they’re done, and we’re none the wiser because nobody told us about them in the first place.
Sure, it’s still a gamble. Starbound went into early access on Steam well over two years ago, and they’re still plugging away at it, but I guess a game forever unfinished, but still technically being made, is far better than a game like Spacebase DF-9, which had the rug yanked out from it, and went from an early alpha state to a “finished” state with a single patch. Or the Stomping Grounds, which as far as I can tell is just plain dead.
So unfinished games will always be a crap shoot, and they’re not going anywhere.
GOG sees this, and are obviously willing to try to capitalize on it while trying to minimize as much risk as possible for the consumer.
Now if only AAA developers would start admitting when their games are just not done instead of releasing them in a completely broken state.