There's no denying how popular Valve's PC service, Steam, has become over the years. Steam Early Access has been a boom for the company as well giving developers the ability to soft launch games, letting fans purchase the title during development and offer feedback on the title as it's being worked on.
During their E3 press conference, Microsoft announced a new program which looks to directly tap into those ideas put forth by Steam's Early Access program.
Known as the Game Preview program, Microsoft revealed that Xbox One players will be able to purchase and play titles that are still in active development. By jumping into the game early, the community will be able to become more active in the game's development by providing feedback which may even help shape the title before it's released.
While fully admitting that this feature is popular on the PC, Microsoft is working to introduce this feature to console players in a way that makes sense. One such way is adding the ability for players to first download a short demo of the title, which should then help gamers decide if the game is something they'd like to spend money on or wait and see how development progresses.
Microsoft is planning to launch the service later this afternoon with both of The Long Dark, and Elite Dangerous available for purchase. Popular PC game, DayZ is also coming at an unspecified date along with another indie title, Sheltered.
The Early Access feature, which Valve debuted on Steam back in 2013, has been a source of contention for developers and fans alike. While the system is a good idea on paper, it has been abused in the past as some games launch in a disastrous state. This is sometimes due to developers looking for a quick buck, and the end result is that some titles are never ultimately finished. Valve has taken steps to protect consumers but there's no denying that the program doesn't always work as intended.
This announcement, coupled with backwards compatibility and Fallout 4 modding support, may signal that Microsoft is trying to add in more PC-like support to the Xbox One, with Windows 10 launching next month on PCs. As Microsoft enters into the early access arena with their indie titles via the ID@Xbox program, it'll be interesting to see what additional steps Microsoft implements to this system to help safe guard players.
What do you guys think of the Early Access news for the Xbox One? Lets us know below in the comments.