DayZ Steam sale: Everything wrong with early access price cuts

Today marks the first day of the Steam Summer Sale, and zombie-survival game DayZ has gone on sale for 15 percent off.

Compared to other huge price cuts in the sale, 15 percent is hardly noteworthy. However, DayZ is an early access game and is far from a completed product (it’s currently an early alpha).

Its lead developer, Dean Hall, had previously said the game would not go on sale until it reached the beta stage. However, this is the second time now that the game has gone on sale – and it appears to be out of Hall’s control:

It seems to be a corporate decision made by Bohemia Interactive without consulting the development team, according to DayZ producer Brian Hicks:

The whole issue reinforces the stance that early access games are becoming a problem in the development scene. When a game like DayZ sells 2 million copies with an unfinished game that includes fewer features than its mod predecessor, what incentive is there to fulfill promises made to players?

The DayZ development team isn’t really to blame – they clearly weren’t the ones behind the sale. And it’s hard to fault Bohemia Interactive for capitalizing on demand for their product. While DayZ product page includes a bold warning of “DO NOT PURCHASE,” surprisingly enough, people still bought it when it went on sale! That’s like putting cake in front of a 5-year-old and expecting him or her not to eat it when you turn your back.

But gamers seem to have the patience of a toddler when it comes to early access games. And that’s where the fault lies – as long as so many people buy into the hype of early access titles, companies will continue releasing unfinished games and promising to improve on them over time. Most will probably deliver on their promises, but it’s hard to deny that early access games remove some incentive from game development.

Gamers: if you want the quality of the titles you buy to improve, if you want developers to strive for perfection and innovation – stop throwing your wallets at unfinished games.

Money is the ultimate motivator, after all. And DayZ is only on sale because Bohemia Interactive knows you’ll buy it.

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