Valve's Early Access section on Steam is something the platform has desperately needed for some time. Previously, games which were ostensibly in beta or alpha (like the completely unfinished Towns) made their way onto Steam under the guise of complete retail packages, even going so far as to change their version number. This lack of transparency led to many a consumer picking up a game that appeared to be finished, when it was actually far from ready for public consumption.
Among the alphas being featured in the section is Prison Architect, a title I've grown very fond of. Introversion lead designer and developer Chris Delay had this to say about Early Access: "We think this makes a ton of sense - paid alpha is a fantastic business model for small indie game developers, but until now we had to completely finish the game before Steam would consider listing it. Indies can be in alpha for years - part of what makes indie games so exciting is the open development process with tons of major updates over a long period of time. Here at Introversion we are delighted to see Valve opening up the Steam service to Indies that are playing that game."
Chris assures everyone who already owns Prison Architect that they will get the Steam version of the game, while those who purchase it from Steam will have access to all the benefits those who bought it on the Prison Architect site got, and they'll even be able to download updated builds straight from the website. So, once you buy it on Steam, you get complete access to it, even on a PC where you don't have Steam installed. To coincide with the launch on Steam, the alpha has been updated with a slew of fixes and additions. You may even spot Fraser "Bacon Killer" Brown wandering around your prison. You'll notice him because he looks like a white, bespectacled Jesus.... read more