Much like pre-orders, gamers tend to have mixed feelings about the entire concept of Early Access. For some, it’s worth it to be able to get in there early and enjoy some perks while supporting a game they feel pretty strongly will be worth their time in the long run. For others… It’s a scam. Whatever you feel about it, a lot of companies are embracing the entire concept of Early Access for one reason or another.
Daybreak Games — who when still flying under the banner of SOE was free-to-play all the way — is one of those companies. Recently, the company’s Chief Publishing Officer, Laura Naviaux Sturr, spoke with Games Industry about this shift, saying that the model is ideal for games with longer product life cycles and that it encourages and empowers the community more — allowing them more involvement with the development process.
She did note that the model isn’t for everyone, but she does expect more companies to start using it — especially non-AAA games that don’t have to make it to publication at a specific time. Her belief is that like free-to-play, early access is a good option for the industry to have.
“You really have to commit as a developer… the development team really has to ingest that feedback into the work flow and be able to pivot and course correct and make adjustments and I think that that’s one thing that Daybreak does really well is that we are fairly nimble. We’ve been doing games as a service since our inception. It’s in our DNA.”
Sturr also added that the company is making the shift in models due to the fact that it’s not a “one-size-fits-all” situation, and that while some of their games benefit from the company’s traditional free-to-play models, others — such as H1Z1 — do not.