Ubisoft has announced the release of G.R.A.W. Chapter 2. It is downloadable on Live for a mere 1200 credits. What is that in real money? Up to now MobyGames hasn't supported Live games. There is some internal debate about how to model the data and we have not come to consensus. What about this episodic content? It is an expansion pack of sorts, but currently only on Live. What to do about things like cover art? Or the other various elements to distinguish the game?
Well, consider downloadable games for PC... it's really the same stuff missing for those releases (cover art, UPC/etc numbers, often ESRB/etc Ratings, and so on).
I think the hard part is really the model for it... for example, is it shareware? freeware? commercial? If you pay credits, do you have to buy those with money or can you also earn them in some other manner? If you can earn them, is it necessarily a commercial product or just a freeware thing that you can get by playing enough games/tournaments/whatever if you'd rather not pay with money? That's just one issue with it.
Well, I know that Live Arcade games have to be rated by the OFLC before they can be released in Australia (the rating is displayed when you highlight the game in the Live Arcade menu). Unless of course, you make a US account and bypass the localisation process entirely!
Some Xbox Live! titles are going to be released in retail stores, with cover art, so that should easily solve that problem.
However I could like to have cover art for all live titles.
You raise an interesting point: Episodic content is halfway between shareware (where you have episodes) and halfway between commercial (where there is no full-featured demo before you buy). Does that mean we need a fourth business model: Shareware, Freeware, Commerical, and Episodic?
I think episodic content fits comfortably in the Commercial model. Isn't each epsiode essentially stand alone? I'm thinking of Bone as an example.
(Edited by WildKard (12186), Jun 26, 2006)Re: I would like to buy a vowel
WildKard (12186), Jun 26, 2006
Even shareware itself isn't well defined. You have some games where an entire episode is released free and the user is expected to purchase the rest if they like it. And you have other shareware games where you can progress to a certain point and then the game stops.
The first example is how most people probably remember "shareware" looking back at the early 90s. The second example actually resembles more of a commercial demo in my mind... only that to obtain the full product, usually an unlock code is needed rather than a new download of the "full version".
Based on those definitions.... Episodic content isn't "shareware", there's nothing being given away for free. Instead each episode is being sold as a separate commercial product. In my mind that makes it commercial and not particularly different than regular retail games. I had to pay for Call of Duty and I had to pay for Call of Duty 2. That's not particularly different from having to play for Half-Life: Episode 1 and again for Half-Life: Episode 2. The only real difference is that product is (supposedly) shorter and that the price tag reflects this. It still follows the commercial model quite nicely unless something seriously changes in the marketing strategy of these games.
To add a final point, what do you think would contain more hours of gameplay? A new "episode" to a series or an expansion package to an existing game? I almost see Episodic Content as the process of marketing continuing expansions to a world, while bypassing the marketing of the original "full" product..... of course my analogy isn't perfect; it depends if "Episode 2" is standalone or not.
If you ask me, I think the solution is simple:
1. It isn't freeware not shareware for the reasons mentioned by Wildkard. They are commercial products like HL: Episode 1 or SiN:Episode 1, and since you are required to pay with some kind of currency (real or virtual) to play them, the product is NOT free. I don't use the Live service, but afaik, you need to pay real money to earn credits, right? That in my book is called paying, and that means it's commercial.
But, perhaps, a new category that sits along "Commercial", "Freeware" and "Shareware" must be created to reflect this special version of Commercial, like "Commercial (Virtual Currency)" or "Digital Download" or something like that, but in the end I think it's redundant.
Besides, I think there's already an option called Digital Download (or something equivalent) in the game wizard contribution screen, along with other media types such as 3.5" floppy, CDROM and DVDROM.
2. Cover art. Obviously, there won't ever be cover art for a product that its only delivered electronically. Perhaps a generic standard image for "Digital Download" or "Electronic Delivery" should be created that is automatically selected by the system if one selects the option discussed in the previous point.
3. Expansion/Addon. I think those products are all standalone, at least those from Steam and XBL, so that label is not much accurate. Yes, they are expanding their respective universes, but they are like a part of a saga, not expansions of a previous product since they doesn't need the previous ones to work.
Perhaps, if the main interest is instantly recognize those products when we are doing a search, then i propose that the solution may be to add the media along with the title, year, platform and company. That way, you could see right away if a given game was released as a CDROM, a DVDROM, or it is a digital download.
What do you think?