Valve has revised the terms and conditions of its Steam Early Access program to avoid bad games that are pretty much doomed from the beginning.
The Steam Early Access program does not guarantee that every game will make it to the front page and that every developer will have a success story.
The program was initiated by Valve so that developers can involve the community into their development process. However, recently it seems that developers are looking at the platform as a way for crowdfunding their projects.
This makes it a gamble and many titles that run out of funds or other obstacles get dropped later on. Valve feels that this has led to its developer program garner some bad reputation and hence the new guidelines look to correct this.
There are four new guidelines that are especially worth noticing:
- Don’t launch in Early Access if you can’t afford to develop with very few or no sales.
- Make sure you set expectations properly everywhere you talk about your game.
- Don’t launch in Early Access without a playable game.
- Don’t launch in Early Access if you are done with development.
Giantbomb has a very detailed report on the matter and incorporates what Valve is trying to communicate.
Indie developers will have to go through the new guidelines before submitting their Early Access games on Steam.