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Add Early Access Date as well as Release Dates

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Would it be possible to add an 'Entered Early Access' date as well as the 'Release Dates' for games? Currently if a game is in early access, there's no way of telling when it started early access, and when a game finally gets fully released, then the fact it was in early access is lost because you have to remove 'Early Access' with the release date.

Hopefully this wouldn't be a big thing to implement or anything, it just seems clunky to have just 'Early access' until the game gets fully released.

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This is interesting - I don't see why we couldn't do this, we could also have a counter to show how many days a game is/was on Early Access before being released. It's a good indicator of the development cycle of a game e.g. Star Citizen.

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If we are to track the Early Access date of a game, I'd also include a third date in those cases where the developers actively cancel an Early Access game. For example, the developers of a game I purchased in Steam Early Access, The Kindred, announced on 20 January 2018 they were pulling the game from Early Access and purchase as they could no longer develop the game nor easily find an interested developer to continue development.

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Another game where a 'cancelled during early access' would be useful for is Halo Online, which was released in beta, but then was then cancelled and shut down whilst still in beta, and is only kept going through modding. Definitely a good idea 🙂

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I'd like to know when a game is 'cancelled' as well. So the proposal would be for 2 new properties:

  • Date entered early access
  • Date cancelled

What do people think? We could even produce some interesting parameters - 

E.g. we could track longest games in early access

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"Date entered early access" is a bit specific, maybe "Date published" or "Date first available"? As this field is just usually the release date it should default to that. Might also account for games such as Fallout 4 that was released according to your local time zone -- Fallout 4 was first made available 2015-11-09 UTC, but the developer/publisher set release date is 2015-11-10, see https://i.imgur.com/p539rbe.png

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There are more specific date possibilities too - e.g. Chaosbane which was available 4 days earlier as a pre-order bonus. I'd arguably say that the 31st May 2019 was the true release date (even reflects this on Steam) even though the 'official' date was 4 days later. Perhaps this could be 'Date first available' @Rose

I'd say 'Date first available' means the 1st day you could pay money for the 'full' game.

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The case of Chaosbane is confusing because there were reports by people buying the standard edition and playing it on the 31st.

In general, I don't think it's of much value to have a separate field for games that have this type of pre-order early access. Even if we do implement it, unless we name it "pre-order release date" or something as clear, we'd still need notes on how the date is tied to pre-orders only, and this need for extra notes means we might as well just keep delivering this information through notes only. I don't think it's that common to offer early access as part of pre-orders but you can correct me if I'm wrong.

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My suggestion is to have 3 categories, keep the current 'release date', and add a 'entered early access' and 'left early access', the latter only to be used if you don't enter a date into 'release date'. The 'early access' should include any public closed alphas/betas, etc.

For a game like Subnautica that entered early access and then got fully released, these would be used as so:

Entered Early Access: December 16, 2014

Release Date:  January 23, 2018

for a game like Fallout 4, it would be:

Entered Early Access: November 9, 2015

Release Date:  November 10, 2015

And a game like Halo Online that got cancelled during beta, you put:

Entered Early Access: Spring 2015 (can't find exact date)

Left Early Access:  August 24 2016

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I think revisiting this would be a good idea. I think we only need 1 new field:

'Early access' - ie when did the game enter Early access (as in, when was it purchaseable by the public).

The 'Left early access' date suggestion is simply covered by the 'Release date' which is per-platform setting. If the game is 'cancelled' then it can say: 'Windows: Cancelled'

This is the template handling the date row, any suggestions anyone? https://www.pcgamingwiki.com/wiki/Template:Infobox_game/row/date

 

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So just revisiting this again.

Satisfactory released on Epic Games Store on May 19, 2020. However the release date on our wiki article is Windows: Early access - this doesn't really make sense to me - as this is more to do with Steam's Early Access.

We also now have an Introduction template which helps to explain exactly what the history of the game's release date is.

Proposals:

  • Platform (Windows/Mac/Linux) release dates are the 'official' 1.0 date of release (unless they are still in Early access).
  • New row called Early access where the first version of the game is playable/purchaseable and is specifically not a demo.
  • Ignore any specifics about dates if it is within 7 days's margin of error.

Examples:

  • Chaosbane released June 4th, ignore the fact that it was available to preorders on May 31st as it was within 7 days - this could be covered in Introduction.
  • Star Citizen has Early access row filled for the Hangar module on August 29, 2013. No Windows 1.0 release date, so Windows row states 'Early access'
  • System Shock 3 demo is not Early access, it is just a demo.

Example for Satisfactory:

chrome_jgDVstMImJ.png

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On 6/9/2019 at 1:25 AM, Vetle said:

"Date entered early access" is a bit specific, maybe "Date published" or "Date first available"? As this field is just usually the release date it should default to that. Might also account for games such as Fallout 4 that was released according to your local time zone -- Fallout 4 was first made available 2015-11-09 UTC, but the developer/publisher set release date is 2015-11-10, see https://i.imgur.com/p539rbe.png

I am thinking now this could be adjusted to this new row:

First available rather than Early access - this would cover:

  • normal 'Early Access' with a capital A games
  • situations like Chaosbane where there is pre-release window
  • games like Star Citizen which are kind of playable/purchaseable now even though there is no 'full release'

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What about cases like Rogue Company where you pay for beta access until the game becomes free-to-play?

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1 minute ago, Rose said:

What about cases like Rogue Company where you pay for beta access until the game becomes free-to-play?

Yes I think that would be covered similarly to Chaosbane - it's sort of irrelevant whether it's paid/free-to-play - as long as it's publicly available in some form (i.e. any member of the public can 'play/pay/opt-in' like an alpha/beta/demo/trial/pre-release then I'd consider it 'First available' even if it's not meeting the publisher's arbitrary 'Version 1.0 Release Day' marketing term.

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