Steam Early Access: Your rights when game development stops

Monsters and Munitions

Genre: Physics-based Collectible Card Game
Release Date: Jan. 9
Last update: Jan. 20

Monsters and Munitions has been removed from sale.

Above: Monsters and Munitions has been removed from sale.

Image Credit: Steam store

The Steam community view

“Wish you could refund games like this. They promise updates but then they give 1 update and let this game rot.”

“Yet another early access fail. Good work steam and devs.”

“What did you expect? Did you really believe after this fail they will work on it more? They never reach the targeted sells [sic] (not even close to it). The best way out of this is run off and leave the game as long they only have a small bill instead of a bigger one. Just read there [sic] website: Last Update 20 Jan. They properly run out of money.”

The developer response

Developer Amazing Atom did not respond to our requests for comment. The game is now no longer available to purchase via Steam.

Community discussions claim that Steam Support has refused to offer refunds to players who previously purchased Monsters and Munitions.

Steam users claim that customer service will not refund their Monsters and Munitions purchases.

Above: Steam members claim that Steam Support will not refund their Monsters and Munitions purchases.

Image Credit: Dan Crawley

1… 2… 3… KICK IT! (Drop That Beat Like an Ugly Baby)

Genre: First-person music game
Release date: April 2011 (pre-Early Access)
Last update: July 18

This games has been around on Steam since 2011. It's still in Early Access.

Above: This game has been around on Steam since 2011. It’s still in Early Access.

Image Credit: Steam store

The Steam community view

“For the love of Christ, do not spend your money on this game. It is completely broken and the Devs haven’t touched it in ages. Waste of money and time, and is a great source of frustration is provided when trying to get my personal songs to calibrate (All star).”

“The potential is there, but it seems the developers have no interest in ever getting this game out of early access, enforcing my distrust in the whole early access principle. I don’t think this game will ever get finished and I kind of feel scammed out of my money. My love for music games made me ignore my suspicions, and I now wish it hadn’t.”

“I purchased this game back in 2011 (before this Early Access stuff started), in hopes that the Developers would get around to finishing it. Instead, they went back and re-released a “new” version of ‘AaaaaAAaaaAAAaaAAAAaAAAAA!!! — A Reckless Disregard for Gravity’ and have barely touched this game ever since.”

The developer response

Developer Dejobaan Games did not respond to our requests for comment. Founder Ichiro Lambe posted a written update on the Steam community board on May 1, which states: “I’m just not happy with gameplay, and that’s the primary reason for the lack of a recent update. Instead of building on what we have, we’ve been gutting it.”

You can read the full statement at the Steam community page.

Steel Storm A.M.M.O.

Genre: Competitive arena shoot-em-up
Release date: Sept. 25
Last update: Oct. 2

Steel Storm A.M.M.O. has been on Early Access since September 2013 but has only received one update.

Above: Steel Storm A.M.M.O. has been on Early Access since September but has only received one update.

Image Credit: Invision Community

The community view

“Only had 1 announcement patch and 2 pages of thread on which ~15% of threads are pinned. Devs gave up?”

“That seems like a lie to me since there are like 2 days a row only 1 server up and this 1 is always empty … so back to the main question yes it is dead.”

The developer response

Developer Michael Lubker talked about Steel Storm A.M.M.O. via Skype. He explained that he was the community manager for the original Steel Storm game and interest in multiplayer sparked development of this title.

Lubker told me there hadn’t been any further progress with the game since its October update.

“I guess you would call it a chicken-and-egg scenario,” said Lubker. Average numbers playing were reasonable up to the end of 2013, but “the past six months or so have been bad,” he told me.

“We don’t have the amount of customers we need to do an update,” he said. “There’s not enough people on there at the same time.”

Lubker told me that, despite the lack of players, he is still looking to bring the game out of Early Access at some point. I asked whether Valve was asking for updates to the game: “Basically, what we have been told is to do what we can to bring it out of Early Access if we’re not going to continue updating it,” said Lubker. “It may not have all of the updates that we wanted to do, but it will be something that is playable.”

As for Early Access as a concept, Lubker said: “It’s opening up the secrets of the underbelly that may not be so pretty.

“It’s a risk for both customers and developers. But it’s something that people are having to try because they’re not getting sales otherwise. It takes time to develop a game and sometimes you have to raise money in unconventional ways.”

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More information:

Valve is an entertainment software and technology company founded in 1996 by Gabe Newell and Mike Harrington and based in Bellevue, Washington. The company became famous from it’s first game Half-Life. Valve currently develops and ma... read more »

Valve is the creator of Steam, the world’s largest online gaming platform. Steam turns any PC or Mac into a gaming powerhouse by providing instant access to a huge library of titles, and by automatically keeping a user’s games comp... read more »

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Cameron Merriman
Cameron Merriman VB Staff

To be fair - it would be extremely hypocritical of Valve to hold anyone else to a deadline.

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