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Stop using Early Access as a funding source, says Studio Wildcard co-founder

"If many games look at it that way and lots of games don't ship or fail to come to market, this model is going to go away."
"If many games look at it that way and lots of games don't ship or fail to come to market, this model is going to go away."

- Studio Wildcard co-founder Jesse Rapczak on the danger of viewing Early Access as a means to an end.

Although Early Access might be seen as a way for developers to establish a fanbase and bring in more cash, Jesse Rapczak, co-founder of Ark: Survival Evolved developer Studio Wildcard, says anyone using Early Access to secure the future of their game is missing the point entirely. 

Ark: Survival Evolved has already sold over 2.5 million units since it launched as an Early Access title back in June, and, thanks to the game's continued success, Rapczak and the Wildcard team don't need to worry about funding anymore. 

In a recent interview with GamesIndustry.biz, however, Rapczak explained that raising the money to bring the game to Xbox One and cover development costs for the foreseeable future was never the studio's primary objective. 

In fact, the team only wanted to take the Early Access route as a means to get as much feedback as possible. 

"It can really provide a way for a developer to put out a game that is relatively ready to be in a state of iteration, to improve that game and be confident that when the game's finished, it'll be something the players love and have a lot of feedback in creating," explains Rapczak. 

"You're not waiting until launch to find out problems you might have with your design or balancing or things like that. By the time we hit our launch across all platforms, we feel like the game is really going to have been put through its paces."

Early Access, says Rapczak, isn't a funding source, and if developers continue to view it as such it won't be long until the program falls by the wayside. 

"It can be a way to generate revenue for your title while you're working on it, but I would not advise anybody think of it like that," continues Rapczak.

"Thinking of Early Access like a funding source introduces a sense of risk. Although it's on the disclaimer that this game might not ship, etc., that's not something this model needs in the consumer perspective. 

"If many games look at it that way and lots of games don't ship or fail to come to market, this model is going to go away."

Hear more of Rapczak's thoughts by reading the full interview over on GamesIndustry.biz.

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