GOG's Games in Development program has been announced

Early access, in other words the sale of games in alpha or beta state, is not a component of the modern gaming world I particularly enjoy, mostly because its hard to actually guarantee the half-finished game you paid good money for will ever actually get finished.

While GOG's recently announced "Games in Development" section can't offer you that guarantee either it will however only feature hand-picked games and offer a 14-day no-questions-asked refund policy for them. Here's how it differs from Steam's Early Access system:

Quality over quantity — When choosing the games that are a good fit for GOG.com, we make sure to pick the ones we can truly stand behind.

14-day refund policy — You can download, play, and refund any game in development within 14 days of purchase - no questions asked.

Rollback in GOG Galaxy — Keep playing your game if the newest update is not doing it for you, or revisit historical version snapshots.

The games are DRM-free — No annoyances, no online checks.

The five games currently available under the Games in Development program are: Starbound, Ashes of the Singularity, Project Zomboid, TerraTech and The Curious Expedition.

In theory this seems like a perfect system because due to its curated nature it will never become a rabid wasteland of never-to-be-finished Slender and DayZ clones but the same risk as usual applies, you have no guarantee that even "serious" games will ever get finished. Or even if they do that they will be finished in a satisfactory manner.

One thing that does bug me though is the 14 day refund system. Particularly avid players can beat games in under a single day so what's stopping people from buying a game in development that's releasing next month, playing it through to completion at their leisure for two weeks and then refunding it only to repeat the process elsewhere.

I'm assuming GOG has some sort of safeguard against this so I'll remain cautiously optimistic about the whole system but I'm still not a big fan of having alpha/beta games with price tags as it does everything but encourage developers to actually finish their game and leave the safety bubble of "its just a beta, we'll fix it".

Hopefully I'm worrying for no reason and GOG's Games in Development program ends up being a huge success.

Please Log In to post a comment