Sony is discussing internally the possibility of introducing a Steam-like early access program for PlayStation platforms, according to Sony Computer Entertainment America VP of publisher and developer relations Adam Boyes.
Steam Early Access launched back in early 2013 and allows customers to purchase a game while it is still in beta, or sometimes even alpha, testing. This purchase will allow players to start playing the game straight away, and also grants access to the finished version when it is eventually released. However, early access purchasers are warned multiple times that the game they are buying is unfinished and may contain several bugs and glitches, and even unfinished content.
When asked about the possibility of a similar system for indie developers on PlayStation platforms, Boyes told Gamasutra: “That’s one of the massive conversations we have internally—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’m like you — I want to help bootstrap people, to bootstrap them, to help them out. Like supporting the underdog for a sports team.”
Discussing how early into developement Sony would consider allowing a game to be sold, he added: “Honestly, we’re working through that right now. We’re figuring out what’s ok. We obviously have our tech requirement checklist that people have to adhere to. 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.”