Sony pondering Early Access program for PSN

An equivalent of Steam’s Early Access initiative could be on its way to PS4, PS3 and Vita via the PlayStation Network.

That’s one of the massive conversations we have internally,” VP of developer and publisher relations at Sony Computer Entertainment America Adam Boyes told Gamasutra.

We’re working through [paid alpha discussions] right now. We’re figuring out what is OK. And obviously we have the technical requirement checklist that people have to adhere to. We’re sort of internally discussing what does that list look like, with titles like this — what are the caveats?

It’s still a project that a lot of minds are knocking around together. At what point does [a game meet standards of release]? At some point, we have to ensure that we’re being mindful of the consumer. You don’t want someone to stumble across [a game in alpha] and expect it to be finished and have a negative experience.”

Steam’s Early Access has been responsible for a number of very notable successes such as DayZ, Rust, Starbound and Next Car Game.

However, it hasn’t been all smooth sailing. High-profile controversies such as Earth: Year 2066 have cast a shadow over the security of Early Access purchases, with Valve even updated its T&Cs to warn buyers that their purchases may never actually reach completion.

Indeed, MCV has in the past warned of consumers’ new-found love of paying for unfinished code – none of which has stopped the big publishers eyeing up potential opportunities and assessing the possibility of establishing rival services.

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