Friday, February 10, 2023
Steam Next Fest
I am old enough to remember a time when people used to get information about video games from printed magazines. And even back then I was annoyed by those print magazine spending the majority of their coverage on games that weren't out yet. So I have to say that I am not a huge fan of the currently ongoing Steam Next Fest. I am all in favor of there being demos for games, or developer live streams. But at the Next Fest, all of these games aren't even out in early access yet.
I understand the use of early access, and I do play early access games. I don't mind terribly that for example in early access Baldur's Gate 3, you can't get further than level 5, or past the events of the first act of the game, that act being really large enough to try a lot of different things. And I really enjoy Against the Storm, which has major additions to the game every two weeks; but while the game is constantly changing, it is at any stage a complete game. There are bad early access experiences where the game not only isn't finished, it isn't even a complete playable game at the early access stage.
So I looked at some of the Steam Next Fest demos, and some of them basically are the version of the game *before* you could even describe them as early access. Proof of concepts, so to say. The poor man's version of a game trailer. For example I looked at Plan B: Terraform, which is a city builder / logistics game at a planetary scale, with deliberate global warming to make the poles melt and create a habitable world out of a desert. At least that is what it says on the label, you can't actually get near anything resembling terraforming in the demo. The demo is more like a much simplified version of Factorio. Which isn't a bad concept, but obviously still very far from content promised by the title of the game.
I don't usually buy videogames on Kickstarter. The failure rate of that category is high. So I definitively don't want Steam to turn into a Kickstarter-like platform for proof of concept videogames. There are enough games that are already finished, or at least early access playable. We don't need a promotion for a step still before early access.