GOG just announced that they're now selling some "Early Access" games which are still in development:
Excellent hand-picked games, 14-day refund policy, always DRM-free.
We want GOG.com to be the home of games that are both excellent and really worth your time.
In today's gaming world, we're seeing more and more titles that become hits before development dwindles down. We want to give you a way to enjoy what these games have to offer, a way that's comfortable and fair to you — the GOG.com way: that means evaluating each and every game, a 14-day no-questions-asked refund policy, and more.
Some may be (understandably) wary of buying an unfinished product, especially given some of the poor results we've seen from Steam's Early Access program. But GOG thinks things will be different for them:
The GOG.com way.
First and foremost: we're hand-picking only the games we can truly stand behind. Offering a selection of the most promising titles, and those most highly requested on the Community Wishlist, is our way of avoiding bloat and ensuring that every game will be worth your time.
It takes some confidence to discover games that are still being shaped — and to build that trust, every game in development comes with a simple refund policy: 14 days, no questions asked. It doesn't matter if you're having technical issues, if you don't think the game is sufficiently fleshed out, or if it simply doesn't click with you — all games in development can be returned for any reason within 14 days of purchase.
The GOG Galaxy client should also come in handy for games in development. It lets you control updates manually if you want, while the rollback feature allows you to easily restore any earlier version of your game if an update breaks something or makes unwanted changes. For games in development, rollback will also track and create historical snapshots throughout a game's development. That means you can always revisit any point in a game's history — for fun, or for science.
Just before I found out about this announcement, I was just thinking to myself that I wish I didn't have to update my Early Access games to be able to play them on Steam. One in particular, ARK: Survival Evolved, has frequent updates of about 20GB. I'd like to be able to play it occasionally without having to download such a huge update, due to my ISP giving me a data cap. I was thinking maybe they could have multiple deployment branches where one version is only updated, say, once per month, while you could opt-in to a faster branch that is updated weekly (or whatever their normal update schedule is). That problem is solved from the get-go in GOG's Games In Development program.
I also like the idea that it in some cases it will no longer be necessary to purchase a game on Steam to get access to it while it's in development. I have a pretty large Steam library, but more and more I'm disliking Steam (for various reasons) and opting for GOG and other DRM-free options. I quite like GOG and their new GOG Galaxy client. It seems like it has most of the benefits/convenience of the Steam client, without most of the drawbacks.
Anyway, for more info about GOG's Games In Development, including info about the first titles to be included in the program, see the link below:https://www.gog.com/...games_in_development