Nintendo of America's third-party relations and indie development boss Damon Baker has revealed that the company is currently pondering the idea of "Early Access" games on its consoles.
Speaking to Polygon, Baker said:
We don't have anything to announce, but I can say that we're certainly exploring options and capabilities. So anything is possible. I guess the important part of it is we're very conscious of it and definitely looking at it.
Early Access is something that Valve's PC-based Steam service offers, allowing gamers to help fund projects that might not otherwise get a release. Titles launch before they are completed and players purchase them at a reduced cost. The reward for the consumer is getting an early sample of the game and helping shape its development.
However, it's an approach which isn't without risk - many Steam Early Access titles don't actually get finished - and Baker is mindful of the fact that Nintendo has standards to consider:
Working out some of the kinks, the server loads or what matching those expectations so that it's a prime experience when it does, when the full version actually launches. So there could be some benefits there, but I think it's a very sensitive topic, because you wouldn't ever want to ask for money for something that doesn't become fully-realized.
The recent [email protected] promotion - where gamers could download demos of forthcoming eShop titles and receive a 15 percent discount on the final product - was, in many ways, a type of "Early Access" move itself, as Baker states:
We had to change policies over this, guidelines. I mean we basically created almost an early access-type of situation because some of this content isn't even coming out until towards the end of the year. So to be able to give such early visibility to some of the developers and these builds, there was a lot of work that went into it.
Both Microsoft and Sony have already expressed interest in similar programs for their consoles. Would you like to see Early Access games come to the 3DS, Wii U or NX? Let us know with a comment.