While some Early Access games are going under, others are flourishing.

The open-world crafting game Starbound, which has players building starships and traveling to different planets, is still going strong, according to developer Chucklefish. Earlier today, we reported that production stopped on the $500,000 Kickstarter virtual sword-fighting game Clang from sci-fi author Neal Stephenson. Now, the people responsible for Starbound, which is still in a prerelease state, assures fans that development will continue. The game is still available to purchase through Steam’s Early Access portal, which enables developers to sell games before they are complete.

“I wanted, in no uncertain terms, to assure everyone that there’s no chance of Starbound going [the way of some recently failed Early Access release],” Chucklefish designer Finn Brice wrote in a blog post. “Not only is the development of Starbound extremely healthy — more so than it’s ever been in fact, with more team members than ever and all of us in the same location — but Chucklefish could fund Starbound for another 9 years at least.”

Brice explains that even if Starbound and Chucklefish never make another time, the company has enough money in the bank to pay for office costs, employee salaries, and other expenditures.


GamesBeat Next 2023

Join the GamesBeat community in San Francisco this October 24-25. You’ll hear from the brightest minds within the gaming industry on latest developments and their take on the future of gaming.

Learn More

“Not only that but every member of the team is super dedicated to getting Starbound to where they want it to be, which is 1.0 and beyond,” he said.

Early Access and crowdfunded projects are a major part of how developers financing games, but they aren’t perfect. In addition to Clang, development collapsed on high-profile games like the Kickstarter-funded Yogventures open-world online experience. Something similar happened on the Early Access management sim Towns after 200,000 people bought into it during its early alpha and beta phases.

But successes like Starbound show that the model can work. Minecraft popularized the idea of paying into a game before its truly ready, and Starbound is just one of the titles continuing to push that forward.

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. Discover our Briefings.