While you've been able to buy your way into a few games' alpha builds for a while now, Valve has created a special section of Steam just for that. Called, “Early Access,” those of you that want to pay early to get a chance to play unfinished games, can now do so.
The list of games currently available through Steam in alpha mode are:
- Arma 3
- Prison Architect
- Kinetic Void
- Gear Up: Premium
- Kerbal Space Program
- Under the Ocean
- 1… 2… 3… KICK IT! (Drop That Beat Like an Ugly Baby)
However Valve isn't just trying to sell Early Access to gamers, but to developers too. The official Early Access FAQ page has a short section on why you should take part as a developer. Some of the suggestions include “Connect with your community early,” and “get crucial feedback and bug reports.” Something that will turn console developers on though is: “update as often as you like.”
Those that have already had their game greenlit or approved by Valve, are advised to get in touch with the official release team to discuss providing alpha builds through Early Access.
KitGuru Says: I think this is a good idea as with some games, I too simply can't wait to play it and have to try it in whatever state it's currently in. However, I often find getting access to something like that before it's ready, that I burn out on it quite quickly and then when it's fully released, I'm not excited.