“A price increase coming out of Early Access makes a lot of sense to me,” Sigman said via email. “As far as I’m concerned, as the developer you want to reward early adopters the best that you can. After all, early adopters who took an early risk got a discount and were able to ARK Items take part in influencing the game. That’s real value for people to buy into Early Access.”
In this sense, a launch price increase serves as an incentive to buy early, and a reward for those who do. You could also argue it acts as a testament to a game’s completion, a concrete way for developers to tell would-be buyers that they’ve fixed all the problems from Early Access and the game is now worth more.
Mark Morris, managing director at Introversion Software, which released Prison Architect via Early Access, offered another perspective. “I think that when you first price a game, even in Early Access, you anchor it to a particular price point,” Morris said via email. “Significant increases are always going to be perceived as a problem … if I’m being honest, I think that a doubling of the price is a pretty bitter pill to swallow—I’m not sure it’s something I would be comfortable doing!”