Valve is now calling early access to pre-ordered games Advanced Access

Valve is now calling early access to pre-ordered games Advanced Access

PC giant Valve has come up with a new term for when consumers can play a game ahead of its release because they pre-ordered.

As spotted by PC Gamer, this is now designated Advanced Access, which is distinct from Early Access because the former is for a complete game, while the latter is for a title that is very much still in development. Previously, when gamers were able to play a game ahead of release for pre-ordering it was often dubbed "early access" which obviously clashes with Valve's own Early Access platform, causing confusion.

"Advanced Access is a feature that allows users that have pre-purchased a game to play prior to the game's official release. For example, a 'deluxe' pre-purchase version may include Advanced Access," Valve wrote.

"Unlike Early Access, Advanced Access is not a unique model of development for a game, it's simply an opportunity to play a game before it fully releases on Steam."

The company has also tweaked how refunds work on Steam every so slightly. The time that consumers spend playing a beta build of a title ahead of its release does not count to the two hour playtime limit for a refund. Valve has clarified that the time gamers spend playing an Advanced Access title ahead of release will count towards this limit.

"When you purchase a title on Steam prior to the release date, the two-hour playtime limit for refunds will apply (except for beta testing), but the 14-day period for refunds will not start until the release date," Valve wrote.

"For example, if you purchase a game that is in Early Access or Advanced Access, any playtime will count against the two-hour refund limit. If you pre-purchase a title which is not playable prior to the release date, you can request a refund at any time prior to release of that title, and the standard 14-day/two-hour refund period will apply starting on the game’s release date."

PCGamesInsider Contributing Editor

Alex Calvin is a freelance journalist who writes about the business of games. He started out at UK trade paper MCV in 2013 and left as deputy editor over three years later. In June 2017, he joined Steel Media as the editor for new site In October 2019 he left this full-time position at the company but still contributes to the site on a daily basis. He has also written for, VGC, Games London, The Observer/Guardian and Esquire UK.