With so many gamers getting Early Access confused with pre-orders, Valve has amended the Steam Early Access FAQ to explain that developers aren't legally obliged to every finish their games and many never will.
VentureBeat spotted the change in wording earlier today, which originally read, "it's up to the developer to determine when they are ready to 'release'. Some developers have a concrete deadline in mind, while others will get a better sense as the development of the game progresses."
However, there's now a caveat in that "you should be aware that some teams will be unable to 'finish' their game. So you should only buy an Early Access game if you are excited about playing it in its current state."
It's likely that the recent controversy surrounding Towns lit a fire under Valve, as the tiny team abandoned the popular project while promising a sequel.
"The changes to the FAQ are intended to help set customer expectations of what may or may not happen over the course of development of an Early Access game. We frequently iterate on Steam features as we gather feedback and find areas for improvement," Valve's Doug Lombardi explained to GI.biz. "In this case, it became apparent that further clarification would help customers evaluate their potential purchase of Early Access titles. We think of Steam, Early Access, and game development as services that grow and evolve best with the involvement of customers and the community."
Early Access (or alpha funding, technically) is all the rage these days after Minecraft proved the model worked - but there's a lot to consider whether you're a gamer or developer thinking about whether to use the business model. It's all explained in our comprehensive Early Access 101 article -- don't spend what you can't afford to lose.
In completely unrelated news, our game night this week is Interstellar Marines. Yes. Completely unrelated news.