Posted on July 11, 2014, Marshall Lemon Sony Considers PS4 Early Access Program
Early access games are something of a divisive subject right now, but with good reason. At its best, early access allowed for stellar, well-refined games like Minecraft or Kerbal Space Program to find success without publisher support. At its worst, it led to products like Earth: Year 2066 that were barely considered games to begin with. Nonetheless, early access remains an incredibly lucrative market in the hands of the right publisher or developer, which is why it’s not entirely surprising that even Sony is considering bringing it to the PS4.
“That’s one of the massive conversations we have internally — that, at what point does [a game meet standards of release]?” Sony’s Adam Boyes told Gamasutra. “We still at some point ensure that we’re being mindful of the consumer. We don’t want somebody to stumble across that title and expect a full product, and have a negative experience. At the same time, I’m like you — I want to help bootstrap people, to bootstrap them, to help them out. Like supporting the underdog for a sports team.”
While far from a ringing endorsement of early access programs, Boyes does imply it’s a direction Sony might one day consider. At the moment, Steam is the undisputed king of early access platforms, but at the same time has been criticized for lowering the standards of what constitutes a paid product. If Sony could put additional safeguards in place, avoiding the conflict, the company could potentially set a higher standard for early access releases. And considering Sony’s current support for indie developers, I expect there would be no shortage of projects that making their way to the PlayStation 4.