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The perils, opportunities, and responsibilities of Steam Early Access

Prominent Steam Early Access developers weigh in on the state of the service — how it helps them make games, but how its reputation is beginning to hurt them, too. …

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The Long Dark’s Early Access sandbox opens September 22

It can be fun to wonder whether you could survive being stranded in the wilderness using solely your wits, but actually testing that theory isn’t particularly advisable. The Long Dark is probably a safer way to get your answer, and developer…
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Musical puzzler Sentris brings the funk to Early Access

Following a successful crowdfunding campaign, developer Timbre Interactive has released Sentris to Steam Early Access.

Equal parts rhythm game and puzzler, Sentris sees players aligning musical components on a series of rotating disks. Line up the…
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EA Access tip of the spear for giving players new ways to pay

EA CEO Andrew Wilson says it’s up to the game company to give different audiences different ways to pay for, and play, its games. …

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EA Access Members Get Six Hours Of Madden Before Release

EA has today shed some light on a key EA Access feature. Early game time isn’t new to EA (the company offered it as part of the EA Sports Season Ticket a few years back). This incarnation is slightly different, though.

According to EA, players won’t have unlimited playtime when Madden goes live for EA Access members five days before the August 26 release. Instead, users will get six hours of gameplay.

We’ve reached out to EA for clarification about whether that is actual in-game time (rather than idling on the menus), what happens if the clock expires during an in-progress game, and whether those six hours will be usable post-release or if that offer expires come August 26. We’ll update should we receive a response.

In addition to early game time (which will not replace demos, according to EA, with FIFA and NHL as evidence), EA Access offers players the opportunity to download and play catalog titles in “the vault.” EA has promised that titles will not be removed from the roster, indicating that the $ 5 per month ($ 30 per year) service will increase in value as more games are included.

[Source: EA Access] 


Our Take
Those who bought into the old EA Sports Season Ticket are likely to be disappointed by this more limited incarnation. For everyone else who might be interested in EA’s broader offerings, this might be interpreted quite differently. 

Unfortunately, the communication up front wasn’t entirely specific. While EA did say that amount of time in-game would vary from title to title, laying out the details of the first early play time game might have, in hindsight, helped set expectations. – The Feed

Managing the expectations of ‘Earliest Access’

Some studios have begun to strip the Early Access concept down even closer to its bones. Some call it the “pre-alpha,” but Dungeons of Dredmor studio Gaslamp Games has its own name for the concept: “Earliest Access.” …

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Want To Play Madden NFL 15 Early? Pony Up For EA Access

Today Electronic Arts confirmed what many of us expected after the company announced its EA Access program on Xbox One – if you want to play Madden NFL 15 early, you'll have to sign up for the new service.

This paid access replaces EA's typical approach, which on last-gen consoles was to give players an early taste of the gameplay via a downloadable demo. But when the company revealed the new program last month, the information listed early access to EA titles as one of the benefits to joining. The EA Access program costs $ 4.99 a month, and offers subscribers to play a back catalog of games published by Electronic Arts, a 10 percent discount for digital items (think Ultimate Team packs), and season passes for games like Battlefield.

EA told Polygon that this program isn't the only reason that a demo won't be coming for Madden before its August 26 release date. "The difficult decision not to do a demo for Madden was strictly a result of the team's commitment to deliver the highest-quality game possible," the statement read. "We chose to put 100 percent of our development resources toward the full game."

Our Take
Did you expect anything different? If a publisher sells early access as one of the benefits to signing up for a monthly subscription service, it would likely anger the group who paid for this subscription if EA offered the same perks for non-payers as well. – The Feed

Report: Madden NFL 15 demo only for EA Access buyers

There won’t be a freely available demo of Madden NFL 15 for players to download this year, an EA rep has confirmed to Joystiq. The publisher made a habit of offering a downloadable demo for its annual pro football series since December 2005, when it…
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EA Access Goes Live Today On Xbox One

Electronic Arts’ recently announced premium subscription service EA Access is out of Beta and officially available to all Xbox One owners today. The premium service allows members access to downloadable EA games, a discount on EA digital content, and pre-release demos of full games.  

For the $ 4.99 monthly (or $ 29.99 for a full year) subscription fee, Xbox gamers get access to downloadable games from the EA “Vault” at no additional charge. These games will be downloaded, not streamed, and are accessible as long as the subscription lasts. The games currently available in the Vault include Battlefield 4, FIFA 14, Madden NFL 25, and Peggle 2.

EA Access members will also gain free access to full, playable versions of EA games five days before their release date. The full versions of these games will be playable for a limited time. If a subscriber elects to purchase the release version of the game they demoed, the progress they made in their pre-release demo can be carried over. Games that have been announced as playable pre-release for EA Access subscribers so far include Madden NFL 15, FIFA 15, NHL 15, and Dragon Age: Inquisition.

As long as an EA Access subscription lasts, members will receive a 10% discount on all EA digital content, including purchases of the release versions of demo-able EA games, and digital expansion packs in Battlefield and FIFA Ultimate Team. 

For more info on EA Access, check out our updated announcement coverage. If you’re wondering why EA Access is available on Xbox One only, read why Sony didn’t want it.

[Source: EA]

Our Take
As we’ve said before, time will ultimately tell whether or not the EA Access experiment is a good value for gamers and a good investment for EA. The subscription fee seems reasonable for the amount of content and discounts it gives, and the ability to play new games early is particularly exciting. What will determine if EA Access works or not is how well EA supports the service going forward, as well as the quality of the gaming experience that the service provides. – The Feed

Eerie trailer welcomes Crawl to Steam Early Access

Having survived a brief delay, Powerhoof’s Crawl arrives on Steam Early Access alongside the most melodramatic trailer you’ll see today.

In keeping with its title, Crawl is a multiplayer dungeon crawl that casts one player as the heroic human and…
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