In May 2012, Polish studio CD Projekt Red announced Cyberpunk 2077, a dystopian RPG set in the futuristic Night City. Following the success of their 2011 title, Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings, expectations were enormous. When they launched a trailer in January 2013, it reached 12 million views within the first week.
Many tech companies now have their own online communities for providing support to their customers as well as a place for them to hang out and share their ideas and feedback. These communities are valuable marketing assets that foster engagement and build customer loyalty. At the same time, they also help your brand inspire the rise of advocates who will happily spread the good word about your company.
Ever since its inception around a decade ago, the early access model has seen a fair amount of criticism. Allowing game developers to sell an unfinished product would hardly sound reasonable a few years ago, yet now it is very much the norm. In fact, some of the most popular indie video games of all are in early access, since the model gives smaller studios a chance to fund the ongoing development process.
Tech companies must make use of an ever-expanding arsenal of different tools to maintain competitive advantage. Peer-to-peer community support now plays an integral role in customer relationship management. To put it bluntly, they’re becoming inseparable. That’s why you need a community platform that can be integrated with your other platforms - i.e. CRM and contact software, allowing you to make better use of data to drive business results while providing a smoother experience for your staff and customers.
For many gamers, the mere announcement of a title coming to early access is enough to dent their enthusiasm. After all, for every successful title that makes it to full release, there are several more perpetually locked in endless development. There are even games that developers abandon entirely, leading them to be pulled from Steam or whichever platform they launched on. Regrettably, early access has proven to be a quagmire of abandoned projects, low-quality cash-grabs and incomplete games being forced into full release.
That being said, things are changing. Despite inherent drawbacks of the early access model, there’s great potential to be realized, both from the perspective of developers and from that of the players. Done right, early access presents a win-win situation for both parties. Done wrong, and it’s a surefire way to tarnish your reputation as a developer or publisher for good.