What is Vaporware in Gaming? Vaporware Meaning, Explained

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Brady Klinger-Meyers published on 18 August 2022

Imagine this: A gaming studio just announced a project they’re working on. The mechanics are interesting, the concept art is beautiful, and the studio may even have an alpha version of the gaming up and running. The best part is that they have set a release date sometime next year. Many games following that trajectory make it to store shelves. But if not, you can hear the gaming community throwing around the term “vaporware.” What is vaporware in gaming? Let’s take a dive into its meaning.

The Meaning of Vaporware in Gaming Explained

Image Source : Cloud Imperium Games Corporation

Long story short: Vaporware in gaming is a title that has been announced but will likely never see the light of day. If the game you’re looking for gets delayed, then delayed, and again, with no end in sight – that’s vaporware. Get hyped if you see a trailer for a game, but it never comes out — that’s vaporware. Even canned videogame projects can be vaporware.

There are many reasons why these titles hang in the balance. Perhaps the vision of a studio grew to a size too large for them to handle, so the project was either canceled or archived for later. This may be due to financial reasons. Even a lack of good management can potentially turn great games into vaporware.

Half-Life-2-Episode-3-What-What-VaporwareImage Source: Valve Corporation

And if you were thinking vaporware is rare at popular studios, you’d be wrong. Many of the most famous franchises have a skeleton in their wardrobe. Half-Life 2: Episode 2 was clearly meant to expand into a third chapter, but that never happened. “Half-Life 3 Confirmed” became one of the longest running jokes in the gaming community due to its unknown nature (no, you won’t get a clue here).

Another infamous example is Star Citizen. Having a demo or alpha version of the game does not exclude it from vaporware status; Star Citizen has been sitting comfortably in its early stages since 2012. You can play Star Citizen right now, but just understand that there’s no information on its official release date — if it will ever happen.

Now you should have a complete understanding of What is vaporware in gaming and its meaning, For more gaming goodness, find out what are the 10 best underrated games to play in the summer or if Xbox Game Pass is worth picking up.

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