From: Cornwall, UK
There is a new game called Horizon on Steam available for early access. I am after some advice from other gamers if it worth getting into an early access game or waiting. I have too many bad memories of 360 games releasing very buggy games and the associated frustration.
'Early access' is a pseudonym for 'paid beta'. Or 'paid alpha'. Or even 'paid pre-alpha'. Or often any of those combined with "we've run out of money because our Kickstarter failed". You may have a buggy game, an incomplete game, or virtually no game at all.
It's hard to answer your question in general terms as the actual state of completeness seems to vary so much. That particular one looks fairly well cooked compared with many, although you have to judge how much you any description matches what you download. Some are widely recognized in the gaming community as being a safe bet and already well worth the cash, such as Kerbal Space Program. Some were 'Greenlighted' pretty much just on an engine and a concept.
You may also have a particular take on whether you want to act in the same way as traditional alpha/beta testers on a particular project if the devs seem receptive to your input as well as receipt of your cash. Overall, I'd say 'avoid' at first, if only because IMHO 'early access' pricing is too high for what is usually a pretty big gamble. If you start seeing a lot of positive feedback appearing, though, regarding a game you really like the look of, then go for it.
P.S. Prepared to get really pissed by seeing your 'early access' game go on SALE at some point while STILL 'early access'! I've already seen that with a couple. That would make me mad anyway, it just seems such a kick in the teeth to those who backed the project at the start.
< Message edited by Hertston -- 7/4/2013 8:14:45 AM >