Over the last year and a half Ark: Survival Evolved has rocketed to the top of the Steam charts and has managed consistent sales, even though the game is Early Access, but what does Early Access mean and how does it affect sales of the game?

Several years ago Steam allowed game developers to begin distributing games that weren’t quite finished yet in order to gain feedback from potential players and develop the game properly. Many of these games start out free during the Early Access period but in the case of Ark the game actually initially went on sale for 60% of the cost when it is completed and fully comes to market. This isn’t conventional because your average buyer isn’t willing to risk spending their money on a game that isn’t finished. Instead, by providing a steep discount on the cost the developers of Ark have incentivized their potential customers.

The developers have been actively involved with Early Access players and many of these players see the Early Access period as their chance to influence how the game develops

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