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Valve updates Early Access rules for developers

Valve has sent out an updated copy of its terms and conditions to developers looking to use the Steam Early Access program. The new rules and guidelines are aimed to help consumers out a bit more with more transparency from developers on projects.

The updated rules recognizes that unforeseen circumstances may put a stop to certain plans but says that all developers looking to go in to Early Access should be fully prepared to finish their game whether it sells many or just a few copies. Giant Bomb was the first to get a look at the new rules, which require developers to label games as Early Access not only on Steam but on other stores as well.

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Developers are also encouraged to explain exactly what stage the current project is in so that potential buyers are as informed as possible before purchasing. Developers should avoid making “specific promises about future events”, such as updates, new features or the final release date.

From now on, paid alpha titles must launch on Steam at the same time as other stores and prices can not be higher than they are elsewhere. Valve has two final suggestions, set proper expectations and ensure that your game is suitable for the program. If a game is almost finished then it isn’t suitable for Early Access while on the other end of the spectrum, if a game is just a tech demo and nothing more, then it is too early to put on to Steam and charge money for.

This follows on from news that only three of the first nine Early Access games have actually made it to release.

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KitGuru Says: It’s good to see Valve getting a little stricter on how Early Access operates. What do you guys think of the new Early Access terms and conditions? Could Valve be doing more to protect consumers? Do you think the company should be more hands on when it comes to content duration and evaluating individual developers? 

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