Microsoft says developers have been requesting an Early Access option

"It's something our store and marketplace team think about all the time."

Last week SCEA's head of developer relations Adam Boyes said that Sony is contemplating adding an Early Access-like program on PlayStation and it looks like Microsoft is in a similar boat with its eye on this potentially groundbreaking shift in the console release infrastructure.

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Would you pay to play Capy's action-roguelike Below early? That's not an option yet, but who knows what the future will bring.

When asked about Microsoft adding a pre-release service for still-in-development games, ID@Xbox boss Chris Charla told Develop, "It's something developers have been asking for, and we are listening really closely to developers, but I don't have anything to announce on that right now."

Charla continued to explain that it's something the Redmond-based company is researching thoroughly. "It's a really interesting issue with digital marketplaces, and it's something our store and marketplace team think about all the time," Charla said. "There's a lot of heavy deep thinkers, experts, PhDs working on these problems at Xbox every day - not just for the Xbox store, but for Windows Store and Windows Phone. Our goal is to have a rational marketplace, where good games are visible and sell well."

It's an interesting query and something the two most popular console manufacturers are keeping a close eye on. Could Microsoft beat Sony to the punch in doing this? Do you want it to? Did Early Access help or hurt your feelings towards Steam? Let us know your thoughts on the matter of this potentially huge paradigm shift in how we consume commercial releases on consoles.

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