One of the most challenging aspects of video-games culture for a newcomer, especially for a busy parent, is trying to learn and understand the many, many acronyms and specialised terms. GameHub HQ entries are jargon-free, so you can get the information you need as easily and painlessly as possible, but there are still some words worth knowing. Every Monday, we break down one Word Worth Knowing from the world of gaming.

It’s out last Words Worth Knowing post of 2015! December is a crazy, crazy time, especially when you have little ones (and not so little ones) so we are winding this column down in order to bring you more Christmas and Holidays themed content. Don’t worry, Words Worth Knowing will be back in 2016! But for now, for the last time, we ask what is Early Access, what do you need to know and why do you need to care?

What It Is: Early Access = Games released in an unfinished format, so players can see the game being completed around them as they play.

What It Means: Early Access games are games that are released for sale in an unfinished BETA or even ALPHA  state. Players are usually invited to contribute feedback to the game as it is finished and in return receive regular content updates as the game is built.  Due to their ever-changing nature, we cannot include Early-Access titles in the GameHub HQ database at this time.

Why You Care: Opinions on whether early access is a good thing, a bad thing or simply a scam are both varied and fervently held. Early Access is a new business model, and not without its critics, who point out that the players are paying for an unfinished product, that they then BETA test for free for the creators, essentially acting as unsalaried employees. Those in favour of the system argue that it provides a wage for content creators by allowing them to generate sales prior to launch and, by fostering collaboration between creators and consumers, a much larger scope and quality of game can be made than under traditional development systems.

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