Steam’s Early Access program allows publishers to sell their unfinished games to consumers while they’re still in development, and it’s a program that has gamers on the fence. Consumers have a good reason to be hesitant, but it seems that Steam is finally starting to take action against developers who fail to continually work on their projects, although it doesn’t seem very aggressive.
The Stomping Land, an ambitious multi-player survival game in which you survive in a world inhabited by dinosaurs, is the latest in a line of Early Access flops. After two months of zero contact and no updates, Steam has removed the ability for consumers to buy in to their game, but has not mentioned anything about possibly giving consumers a refund.
According to Kotaku, the last update for The Stomping Land released in June, but afterwards the game’s developers were completely silent about the lack of updates thereafter. They’ve completely ignored consumer inquiries on their message board, and their public relations representative eventually posted that his contract expired on May 31st, but continued to work with the project as a labor of love. He finally called it quits in July due to the lack of developer communication and his unwillingness to string consumers along.
Now that Steam is showing that they will take action against developers who do not continue to regularly work on their projects, do you have any renewed faith in the Early Access program? In my opinion, this isn’t punishment enough. Sure, consumers know the risks when they buy an Early Access game, but this kind of behavior from the developer deserves much harsher punishment than just removing the game from Steam.
I honestly feel that Steam should force them to issue refunds to anyone who forked over $24.99 to support the game, as they completely failed to communicate with those consumers, even after they successfully raised over $114,000.00 on Kickstarter to help fund its development. It’s definitely a step in the right direction by Steam, but removing the game doesn’t help the consumers who’ve already paid for it.
Bradley Keene is the Executive Editor here at What’s Your Tag?, generally handling reviews, public relations, and our social media communications. He’s an aspiring video game journalist, Baltimore native, and on again/off again WoW player that favors roguelikes, horror games, and point-and-click adventures. His favorite console is the Dreamcast, favorite game is the original Metroid, and he could watch The Goonies for the rest of his life. Contact him by e-mail at the address above, or follow his insanity on Twitter.