In an article over at Eurogamer this morning, Marcin Iwinski, co-founder of CD Projekt, said that GOG is considering an Early Access program similar to Steam, but it would be quite different in a lot of ways. One of those ways is that not all games would be able to get on the service.
"We're obviously looking at it," he told Eurogamer after being asked about it. "As you know our concept is different; first of all it's DRM-free and second it's curated. I'm often very lost in a lot of stores – apps being my example today. Or even Steam. I don't know what's happening; there's hundreds of releases a month, and I really believe – and our community's clearly showing that – there is a place for a platform which is choosing the stuff."
He goes on to say that it is tempting for some developers to present an early alpha game in a certain light and then to pocket the money without finishing the game.
"With the approach that Steam has they decided not to, and it's fine, it works extremely well for them and some developers, but it has threats like the one of bad Early Access games. And it's tempting, it's really tempting: you're a developer and you can get to Early Access and charge 40-whatever for your game, for your non-working alpha. And they're pocketing immediately."
At the end of the day, Iwinski says that it is being considered for GOG.com but it would have to be done in a specific way to protect the reputation of the DRM-free digital platform.
"We would definitely consider it," he said, "but again it would be the GOG way. It would have to be curated and, we believe – we are always saying this very openly – we are responsible in front of the gamer for what they're buying on GOG."
He goes on to say that users who buy into a game that turns out to be less than satisfactory should have the ability to have some protection from GOG.
"If you would do it, it would have to have some kind of protection," he believes, "because consumers are coming, they are seeing certain promise. Of course it's like 'hey it's alpha', but the little devil inside your head is saying 'ooh I want to play, it looks so cool in the screens', and you don't know that [you will be] unhappy."
Ultimately Iwinski thinks it's a good idea that could use a lot of tweaking to make it better for both customers and developers.
Given the success of Steam's early access program, it would be crazy for GOG.com not to consider it. Whether they implement such a program or not remains to be seen but if it happens you can bet you'll be reading about it here. Stay tuned.