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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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