All the sessions from Transform 2021 are available on-demand now. Watch now.


The Early Access concept is coming to Discord. After launching its game store and subscription service in October, the communications platform is expanding with even more ways for developers to connect with fans. With its Early Access portal, Discord is now selling unfinished games and then enabling studios to quickly get feedback on those products.

Discord Early Access is getting a handful of games today. The excellent downhill bicycling game Descenders is one of the headliners of this new service. But it is also getting games like Parkasaurus, Kynseed, Visage, and Mad Machines.

“As players ourselves, we’re stoked at the chance to provide feedback and shape the game experiences we love,” reads a Discord blog post. “Chatting directly with devs in their verified servers and helping guide the game towards what we want to play is, well, sick. This is why we’re launching Discord Early Access. Now, devs can release their games as early access and players like you can support them during their development. Help create some awesome game experiences.”

An ideal fit for Early Access

Early Access is a concept that came into popularity with Minecraft. In 2009, developer Mojang released an unfinished version of that game that people could buy to help fund development. It would eventually hit its “finished” 1.0 version in 2011. Following that success, Valve — the company that owns and operates PC-gaming platform Steam — embraced that business model. Early Access on Steam is now a thriving ecosystem. It’s a place for studios to bring in revenue and gauge player excitement during the first steps of their process. And it has launched hugely successful games like PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds.

Webinar

Three top investment pros open up about what it takes to get your video game funded.

Watch On Demand

But Discord could have an even bigger impact on Early Access. Many people are already using this platform’s chat and voice features to communication with developers, and now Discord wants to bring all of that into a unified experience. That’s something that developers, like Descenders studio No More Robots, are happy about.

“Without opportunities like Early Access, we would not have made Descenders,” No More Robots founder Mike Rose said. “By specifically joining Discord’s curated Early Access program, we now have a way to connect where our community lives and where they buy our games. It’s easier for players to find the games or find us or both — which is exactly what we need.”

Finally, Discord is going to work to bring various Early Access developers together so that they can share feedback and best practices with one another.

GamesBeat

GamesBeat's creed when covering the game industry is "where passion meets business." What does this mean? We want to tell you how the news matters to you -- not just as a decision-maker at a game studio, but also as a fan of games. Whether you read our articles, listen to our podcasts, or watch our videos, GamesBeat will help you learn about the industry and enjoy engaging with it. How will you do that? Membership includes access to:
  • Newsletters, such as DeanBeat
  • The wonderful, educational, and fun speakers at our events
  • Networking opportunities
  • Special members-only interviews, chats, and "open office" events with GamesBeat staff
  • Chatting with community members, GamesBeat staff, and other guests in our Discord
  • And maybe even a fun prize or two
  • Introductions to like-minded parties
Become a member