Finishing games isn’t cool. You know what’s cool? Not finishing games.
Developer Bugbear Entertainment made over $1 million in a week by releasing its unfinished racing title Next Car Game on Steam’s Early Access platform. The racer is available now for $30 in a testing phase. Early Access is a portal on Steam’s online store that enables developers to release games before they finish them.
“This is an amazing success for a racing game, especially considering our tough road to the success,” reads Bugbear’s announcement. “Along the way we pitched the game to numerous publishers in the hopes that the game would eventually get released. Unfortunately, we receive the same response all over again — there were no market for a game like ours.”
After failing to get backing from publishers, Bugbear attempted to fund its game on Kickstarter. The studio asked gamers to help it raise $350,000 in crowdfunding. The game only reached $81 before the developer pulled the plug on the project in November.
“However, we still believed in the game, and we decided to release a playable technology sneak peek,” reads the studio’s post. “We were literally aw-struck by the great response the sneak peek received. The preorder sales skyrocketed, and we reached and actually topped our original Kickstarter funding goal in just week.”
A number of the best-selling games on Steam right now are Early Access. Many smaller developers appreciate this unconventional release schedule because it enables them to start generating serious revenue while still creating the game. In addition to Next Car Game, Early Access games Rust, DayZ, and Starbound are topping the Steam sales charts and funding their development with the help of gamers.
Next Car Game is currently the 25th best-selling game on Steam.
And surprisingly, gamers also don’t seem to mind that they’re paying actual human currency for incomplete games.
One of the benefits of Early Access is that people get to pay a reduced price up front and then they get all the updates to the game for free at no additional charge. Typically, as developers complete more of their games, they raise the price for the final release.
Fans also seem to enjoy playing broken and buggy games, and they’re willing to pay to get to experience that.
Bugbear says it plans on using the money it is making to improve Next Car Game because it finally has the funding to make what it always wanted.