Indie studios aren’t finishing their games before releasing them on Steam, so now Ubisoft isn’t going to, either.
The French publisher announced that it’s releasing an early test version of Ghost Recon Online on Steam’s Early Access platform. Ubisoft first released Ghost Recon in its unfinished “beta” phase in August 2012. Players can still register to play the game on its official website, but Ubisoft obviously wants to take advantage of Steam’s gigantic PC audience.
“Bringing Ghost Recon Online to Steam has been our goal since the game’s inception,” Ubisoft producer Corey Facteau said in a statement. “We took the time necessary to reach a quality level that can go head to head with the best online games available today before releasing on Steam.”
Ghost Recon Online is due out on Steam Early Access “this spring.” It’s a third-person free-to-play shooter that has players competing against one another. Gamers can use familiar and futuristic weapons and equipment while improving and upgrading their character.
Ubisoft also revealed that its game is attracting fans of League of Legends, Dota 2, and other multiplayer online battle-arena titles.
“[MOBA fans] comprise 50 percent of our user base,” said Facteau.
While Ubisoft has kept Ghost Recon Online in a prerelease state for more than year, it does plan on eventually debuting a full, final version of the game at some point.
“To ensure a seamless transition to the new platform, we will use Early Access to fine tune the Ghost Recon Online experience before releasing it to the rest of the world,” said Facteau.
Valve added Early Acccess to Steam in March — although indie phenomenon Minecraft first popularized the model of enabling gamers to pay for the unfinished version of the title in 2009 up until it released the final version in 2011.
The benefit of Early Access for gamers is that they can pay less for a title up front and get all updates of a game as the developers go through their creation process. Developers get an influx of cash and potentially dedicated fanbase that will help see it through to the game’s final release.
The top two best-selling games on Steam right now, DayZ and Rust, are both Early Access titles from indie developers.