Called "broken" and a "scam," Earth: Year 2066 is no longer available on Steam as an Early Access game.
Valve removed Early Access title Earth: Year 2066 from Steam yesterday for dishonest marketing and has offered refunds to customers. In a post on the Steam forums, Valve's Chris Douglass briefly explained Earth: Year 2066's removal.
"On Steam, developers make their own decisions about promotion, features, pricing, and publication," Douglass wrote. "However, Steam does require honesty from developers in the marketing of their games. We have removed Earth: Year 2066 from Early Access on Steam. Customers who purchased the game will be able to get a refund on the store page until Monday, May 19th."
Earth: Year 2066 first went on sale for $19.99 through Steam Early Access on April 17. Customers complained on and off of Steam about the game, and The Escapist's Jim Sterling said the game's developer, who called himself Muxwell on Steam, deleted comments in the game's Steam forums to portray the game in a more positive light. Sterling also noted that the artwork for Earth: Year 2066 was stolen from an artist who had never given Muxwell permission to use it.
Early Access allows players to buy unfinished games from developers, report bugs, and provide input. These games are still in development, but they are in a playable state. An overwhelming number of people who tried playing Earth: Year 2066 reported it was broken, barebones, and unplayable in its current state.
Criticism of Valve's Early Access program has increased with the number of games going on sale with no guarantee of being finished. With Early Access and crowdfunding sites like Kickstarter becoming more of the norm, consumers will need to be more aware of where their money is going.