Steam: Early Access Games let’s you play betas and alphas of games

You heard right, Steam is now letting you buy a game while it’s being created AND play it. Most recently, Arma 3 Alpha was released for sale by Bohemia Interactive at a low introductory price. This enables you to play Arma 3 now and be a part of the testing community, providing feedback to improve the game. Now they’ve joined up with Valve’s Steam online game store to let you buy it there too along with several other games.

Steam explains Early Access Games via their website…

Get immediate access to games that are being developed with the community’s involvement. These are games that evolve as you play them, as you give feedback, and as the developers update and add content.

We like to think of games and game development as services that grow and evolve with the involvement of customers and the community. There have been a number of prominent titles that have embraced this model of development recently and found a lot of value in the process. We like to support and encourage developers who want to ship early, involve customers, and build lasting relationships that help everyone make better games.
This is the way games should be made.”

Steam Early Access Games

So far the games that are part of Steam Early Access Games are…

Arma 3 Alpha
Kerbal Space Program
Prison Architect
Kinetic Void
Under the Ocean
Drunken Robot Pornography
Gear Up: Premium
1… 2… 3… Kick It! (Drop That Beat Like an Ugly Baby)

More games will be added pending the new services success.

Check out the official Steam Early Access Site.

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