Early Access, like Kickstarter, still has an issue when it comes to delivering exepctations, as the EEDAR revealed in their latest study.
They have found in their recent results that only 25 % of Early Access games made it to full release. Compared to last year, when 42 % made it, the significantly larger number of new games in Early Access also has a larger number of unfinished games.
EEDAR does acknowledge that the general travails of game development, often leading to delays and even complete redesigns, may have led to many of these games not being finished yet, and the devs are right to hold off in those circumstances. However, the concerns regarding delivering expectations and consumers not getting what they paid for remain.
EEDAR Head of Insights and Analytics Patrick Walker explains in detail:
While there are clearly many benefits to an Early Access model, there is also the possibility of a broken promise to the consumer. This is not unlike other models in the games industry, such as crowdfunding through Kickstarter or selling a DLC Season Pass, where the consumer pays up front for promised content. A notable difference between those particular models and Steam’s Early Access program is the lack of a firm release window; on Early Access, a game could theoretically stay in development and be sold to consumers indefinitely, whereas a Season Pass is rolled out within a specific time frame and all Kickstarter projects are presented with an estimated ‘delivery date’.
Valve’s silence and inaction on this, much like Kickstarter’s and Indiegogo’s implies a lack of accountability, an issue for all stakeholders involved.