PlayStation May Get an Early Access-Style Program in the Future, Sony Says

Soon, you may be able to purchase games in early alpha or beta states on PlayStation 4 like you can through Steam Early Access.

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Some of the top-selling Steam games over the past few months have not been full releases. They've been early builds, often buggy, of games that might launch years in the future. This program, Steam Early Access, allows developers to fund their games throughout the development cycles by putting up alpha and beta versions of their games for purchase.

Now, it looks like Sony might implement a similar program for the PlayStation Network in the future. In an interview with Gamasutra, Sony Computer Entertainment America vice president Adam Boyes stated that the company is looking into allowing developers to release in-progress versions of their games. "That's one of the massive conversations we have internally," he explained, "that, at what point does [a game meet standards of release]? We still at some point ensure that we're being mindful of the consumer. We don't want somebody to stumble across that title and expect a full product, and have a negative experience. At the same time, I want to help bootstrap people, to help them out. Like supporting the underdog for a sports team."

When pressed, Boyes affirmed that Sony is attempting to work out the problems of such a program so that it might pave the way for developers to make their games available in early states. "We obviously have our tech requirement checklist that people have to adhere to," he said. "So we're internally discussing, what does that list look like this? What are the caveats? Stuff like this. So it's still a project that a lot of minds are considering. No details yet, but it's something on the top of my mind every day."

Microsoft is also thinking about something similar. In an interview with Kotaku, Phil Spencer recently said that the company has discussed an early access program, but nothing substantial has come from the talks. He said, "I have thought: 'Is there a way to look at that platform all up for games, so you have this environment where, yeah, sometimes you have games where things might not work as perfectly as you would want but you're able to see things a bit early?' I don't have a plan that's locked on that."

Sony's strategy with PlayStation has been shifting in recent years. Recently, the company described its focus on indies as a result of a strong corporate love for smaller developers.

What do you think of Early Access coming to PlayStation? Let us know in the comments!

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