Will major publishers also start adapting the paid alpha model?

There are a lot of new models exuding from the likes of Kickstarter and Indiegogo in last couple of years. While most of the them have been successful with it, others have gone down the drain. So, what is going to happen to paid alpha model? Is it finally going to get some limelight/ Let's find out.

There was a time once when there used to be one and only sole model as far as gaming was concerned. It used be called the paid full-fledged model where the games were sold for a price of $60 once the game was ready to come out. It wasn't possible to sell the idea of the game back then. But with the recent rise of other gaming models like free-to-play and premium model, they have opened up a lot of new opportunities of other developers in the market who can't quite afford to follow the traditional gaming model.

Risk and reward

The risk that comes with the traditional gaming model is quite high, and naturally the rewards are higher as well. While it may pay off to take such a significant risk, is it worth taking for small developers? The answer is no. You can't afford to do that unless you are someone like EA or Ubisoft who can let a few projects fail and still stay afloat because of their huge cash inflows and reserves they have. So when it comes to big publishers, the profit is in taking on and embracing the traditional gaming model. For the rest, though, the risk is not worth taking. They have to take on the new models of gaming and try it out for themselves to see which on works for them.

For Dark Souls developers Form Software, the traditional gaming model is working just fine; for someone like Tim Sherfer, the Kickstarter crowdfunding model has done wonders; for Sony Entertainment Online, the free-to-play model is working really fine as it has been manifested in recent games like Planetside 2 and their upcoming game Everquest Next.

What is paid alpha model?

But there is a new model which has been working for the likes of DayZ and Rust developers really well. It's called paid alpha model. First broached by Minecraft creator Notch, this model has come quite a way from its inception back in 2011. It allows you to sell and idea to gamers instead of a full-fledged game. If they are interested in this game, they will invest further, otherwise the game will be shunned. It ensures that developers won't spend a penny on the game if enough people are not interested in the game. That's what Mincecraft creator did as he sold the alpha version of the game to early backers to let them see how it plays. Fortunately for him, this new idea worked wonders as a lot of people blundered in to take a look and paid for the pre-alpha version. Look where he is at today? He is a millionaire now!

Taking cues from Minecraft, a lot of other developers have started adopting the same model as it's one of the less risky models with the potential of maximizing your resources to the fullest extent. DayZ, Starbound and Rust have also adopted the same strategy of selling ideas to people. They prepare an early build of the game and share it with the community for almost at no cost. This ensures that they will be repaid for their initial investment when people buy this early alpha version. And they start developing the game thereafter.

Will it work for big players

While it's working really well for these small indie developers, the question is, will it work for the big giant behemoths like EA, Ubisoft and Square Enix? The success rate of this model seems to suggest that sooner or later, big players are also going to chime in. No matter how much we loathe EA and Ubisoft, the fact of the matter is, they are healthy and alive today in this hostile environment because they know how to adapt with the changing wind. So it's only fitting if they decide to take a leap of faith in this model too. They would really like to take a huge chunk of what this gaming model has to offer. But they'll have to be wary of the dangers here as well as they could be target by the gaming community. While it really pays off if you are successful, if you try to be greedy, the passionate gaming community will throw you off the high hills in no time. So whoever is trying to penetrate and venture into this unknown territory, needs to be rally careful as to what they want to do.

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