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The Impact of Episodic Gaming 110

Posted by Zonk
from the drawing-it-out dept.
GameDailyBiz has a piece up looking at what episodic content is, and what it means to the future of the games industry. From the article: "Our age is one of aging. Mainstream gamers are now older on average than they have ever been. When you are single and unemployed, it is easy to play The Godfather for nine straight hours the day the game hits the shelf. When you are married, it becomes tougher. When you have kids, it might be impossible. It is difficult to slice some time for yourself. And in that slice, you have to carve a portion for gaming. It is no wonder casual games that require no more than 10 minutes to play continue to grow in popularity. This is why we are more likely to login to Call of Duty 2 on Xbox Live to play a quick five-minute Team Deathmatch and leave the Lobby."
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The Impact of Episodic Gaming

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  • Not a joke (Score:4, Informative)

    by MBraynard (653724) on Tuesday April 18, 2006 @05:54PM (#15152980) Journal
    I am still single but I have gotten involves in amateur athletics and started my own company. Before all this started, I could come home from work and play an MMORPG, an Xbox game, or a PC shooter with a mate until I fell asleep. Weekends were pure game time. I ran a guild in one with over 1000 people at one point. Serious time comitment.

    Now, it has all changed. I got a 360 at the beginning of the month. I think I have played it a total of 3 hours. I have not played any PC games that I use to. I barely am able to log into Eve just to make sure I am still training something.

    It's called growing up. I really do wish I could blow a few days in Battlefield2, and maybe in the future I will try to work that in. But right now, I just do a little Geometry Wars before bed (the demo version) or Blazing Angels demo (a lot of fun, that one).

    • Re:Not a joke (Score:5, Interesting)

      by GmAz (916505) on Tuesday April 18, 2006 @05:58PM (#15153003) Journal
      I hear that. I used to love to play World of Warcraft all day on Saturdays and after work. But since my baby was born, I get to play when she doesn't need attention (for those of you who don't have kids, thats rarely ever). And when I do play, I can't do anything that takes a while to do because before you know it, she's crying and I need to put the laptop down. It really changes things.
      • Im in a similar situation (albeit with two kids now). I dropped out of WOW because of the time commitments needed at the high levels to run instances.

        I now play DDO on occasion with friends late night friday if I have the energy to stay awake, and sneak in an hour or so of oblivion when I can.

        I figure once the offspring are older, I can go back to more time gaming with them if they can stand playing with the old man and they have the inclination to play games at all.

        However, I will try (and most likely fai
        • That I can agree with. I want my kids to be active in their youth. I was very active in my youth because I didn't have video games. All my friends had Nintendos and Segas and all those other ones. But I didn't. My parents wanted me to be healthy and active. When my child (and future children) get old enough, the gaming will probably quit completely, or as you do, play late at night when they are in bed so I am not setting the example of 'I can do it, but you can't'. Either way, gaming is going bye by
          • You definitely will miss it somewhat, but at the same time it becomes more fun when you get a chance to play since you wont burn out and the games take longer to complete.

            Besides, given a choice between playing with the kids and gaming, the kids are more fun (and get me to be more active--which is a feat in itself :)
          • "I was very active in my youth because I didn't have video games. All my friends had Nintendos and Segas and all those other ones. But I didn't. My parents wanted me to be healthy and active."

            Your parents wanted to teach you that you are unable to moderate yourself and would instantly stop functioning as a human being if you had a video game system. Were they forced to buy only enough food for a single meal at a time for fear that, if food for more than one meal was available, you'd gorge yourself and eat

      • How in the world did you have time to have the baby in the first place??

    • Re:Not a joke (Score:3, Interesting)

      by SetupWeasel (54062)
      Yeah, but if you don't have enough time to play The Godfather for instance, will you, as this article suggests, have enough time to play the same exact game distributed to you in parts.

      The answer is, of course, no. This is just a way to start a game with little funding hoping that you will make enough money to complete it. It is what I'll call the current PC "patch model" of distribution taken to its logical extreme.

      Here's what will happen. Most games will never be finished, and even the ones that do will f
      • Here's what will happen. Most games will never be finished, and even the ones that do will fall into the "release and patch" format for the individual episodes. No one who didn't have the full time to play the whole game will buy its parts (at least they won't get any more use out of them if they), and nothing worthwhile will come of this.

        Actually, there are a lot of untried business models that eposodic gaming could use to work. Publishers could actually allow user generated content into the game on a regu
        • Does anyone remember Asheron's Call, the MMO with regular monthly storyline updates including new content, and new storyline? At one point in this game, PvP players were defending a crystal from other PvP players, and the developers had promised that any server on which the crystal was not broken would have a completely different storyline. The only reason there was an Asheron's Call expansion was because there was too much content to release a patch and have it finish downloading in a reasonable amount of
      • This is just a way to start a game with little funding hoping that you will make enough money to complete it. It is what I'll call the current PC "patch model" of distribution taken to its logical extreme.

        Patch model?

        I thought most of (all?) the bugs in a game were in the graphics/physics/AI engine.

        Designing good levels/episodes may not be easy, but I imagine it has to be a whole lot easier than getting a proper game engine written up.

        Even games that use an existing graphics engine still have their fair sha

      • Yes and No.

        You are totally right about your Godfather example. Most games would never get more then a few chapters in before they lost so many players that they couldn't afford to finish. If you're not going to spend $50 on a 80-hour game, you're not going to spend $400 on 80-one hour games (selling for $5 each).

        But the model can work. In fact, there are some MMOGs that are doing this now to a certain degree. Some MMOs are obvious about this and sell "expansion packs" while others give out "free" conten

      • This is just a way to start a game with little funding hoping that you will make enough money to complete it. It is what I'll call the current PC "patch model" of distribution taken to its logical extreme.

        The article addresses this issue, "We believe it is less about the big guy vs. the small guy, or the mitigation of risk in the face of escalating development cost. It is about controlling the subscription model for gaming."

        Their contention is that this is all about redistribution of the value chain, or mor
    • I ran a guild in one with over 1000 people at one point... I barely am able to log into Eve just to make sure I am still training something.
      Gotta ask, was this 'guild' in Eve, and if so what corp was it?
    • It's called growing up.

      And why's that? Am I not a grownup if I don't start my own company and get a wife and two kids (or get involved in amateur athletics), and then loudly complain that there's no time to play games anymore? It was your choice to invest your time in those things. The line of work I'm getting into will be something like a nine to five job (physical labour) which doesn't require me to do anything, like paperwork, when I'm not at work. I also won't be getting married. I guess I'll have lots

      • Yeah, I guess you have a point. I am playing a different game now - 'chase the benjamins' and 'be a decent athlete.' It is far more rewarding than the other games out there though it doesn't deliver the same immediate gratification on demand.

        Trust me, you will probably curse yourself one day for the time spent on the games when you could have been working out or growing a business. And it sounds like you are going down the 'work harder, not smarter' route.

        • I'm 2 weeks back into working out. Age 31. Attempting to get rid of a mild case of beer gut (210lbs, 6'3")

          I've found that I'm way too tired in the evenings to stay up past 11pm now to play UT2004 with my clan members... kinda sucks in a way, but I'm way more energetic at work.

          • Totally hear you. That was me a few years ago. But every day is a chance to turn it all around. I went from 25% Body fat to 8 - and I weigh the same.

            Most important to you now is diet. South Beach or Atkins. No alcohol.

            Maybe look into some races or sign up from a marathon that is 6 months away. Good luck.

  • ... perfect for coming home, completing a quick zone or two, then saving the game in time for supper. The seperate zones take a little time to get through, but provide a natural break for short gaming sessions. And then there's the online content added, great for a quick team event or deathmatch.
  • Honestly, episodic content's great across all demographics. Because there's not this drive to complete a game instantly, it makes it far more replayable. If you get tired of a game for a while, it's easy to put down, but when that urge comes back, it's right there again. That's not just an "older gamer" thing, that's across all age categories. Little kids do it, teenagers do that, college students go through it, and older gamers do it. I suspect it's one of the great successes of the early eras: those games
    • What have you been playing lately? Episodic gaming has historically been slow to be released, lacking in replay value and short in terms of gameplay time. HL2: Episode One STILL isn't out, BF2's version of 'episodic' expansions have been hit-or-miss, and MMORPGs that attempt this route have generally had too small or too infrequent (free) 'expansions.'
  • Ugh (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Digital Vomit (891734) on Tuesday April 18, 2006 @05:58PM (#15153001) Homepage Journal
    Subscription-based video game consumption via digital distribution appears to be one of those paradigmatic shifts that could dramatically and permanently alter which side gets how much in the foreseeable future.

    I hate newspeak. I buy games in order to play them. This has worked fine up until now. I can buy a game for $50 and play it for 4 or 5 years. I'm happy with that.

    The main problem I see with this push toward "pay us via subscription" is that there's only room for a handful of successful games with the kind of monthly charge they're expecting. $1/month? Fine. $20/month? Homey don't play dat.

    • Re:Ugh (Score:3, Informative)

      by AuMatar (183847)
      On the other hand, there's things like gamefly- rent N games at a time. For less than the cost of a game a month, you can get and beat 3 or 4 easily. That may well be worth it, if the price is the cost of a game or less.
    • Re:Ugh (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Xugumad (39311)
      > I can buy a game for $50 and play it for 4 or 5 years.

      Yeah - I'm kinda puzzled by this idea of "Of course you'll want to complete the game you paid for, as quickly as possible."; if a game lasts me a month or two, it's a good thing! In particular, when I hear episodic gaming, I think Half-Life 2, and I think SiN. I don't know how SiN will turn out, but the idea of buying something shorter than Half-Life 2 is absurd - I completed the game in 3 days, and would neither consider myself particularly skilled
  • by darthservo (942083) on Tuesday April 18, 2006 @05:58PM (#15153007)
    Ever since I got married, I don't have time to play games as much anymore. At least that's what I've been told.

    But, in all seriousness, it is true. My life no longer focuses on, "What should I do tonight?", it became, "What should we do tonight?" Otherwise, if I was to tell my wife that I was going to sit down for a few hours and game, my marriage would not be as happy as it is. I enjoy spending time with my wife much more than gaming.

    In fact, my wife isn't opposed to games. She grew up with the same games I did - old school DOS Games like Commander Keen or Cosmo's Cosmic Adventure. Or, we'll play FloboPuyo or Jump N Bump together. Sometimes we'll fire up DOS-Box and one of us will play those games for a while. Or, we'll even fire up the NES and play Mario for a while. My wife plays my old Gameboy Advanced more than I ever did, and sometimes we'll link them up and play against each other. However, we play more board/card games together than electronic games.

    But, I don't feel that I'm missing much, especially with newer games. Mediocre titles and long gameplay are factors that turn me away. If anything requires that I have to spend over an hour focusing on, forget it.

    • by Anonymous Coward
      When the old lady is out, I have to debate whether to spend my freetime with pr0n or gaming. She hates both with a passion. Marriage comes with so many sacrifices. *sigh* Enjoy your single life while you can, you youngsters!
    • Ever since I got married, I don't have time to play games as much anymore. At least that's what I've been told.

      But, in all seriousness, it is true. My life no longer focuses on, "What should I do tonight?", it became, "What should we do tonight?" Otherwise, if I was to tell my wife that I was going to sit down for a few hours and game, my marriage would not be as happy as it is.

      Frankly, you show the classic signs of an immature relationship with an overdependency on each other.

      Many is the time when my ans

      • What, are ya in the SCA [sca.org]? Seriously though, I'm curious, who else calls their practice "fighter practice" other than us in the SCA?
      • Frankly, you show the classic signs of an immature relationship with an overdependency on each other.

        Thanks, but I don't need marriage counsel from /., especially when people try to demean my life by calling it 'immature'. Go ahead and live your life how you do, and I'll live mine.

        If by overdependency you mean we work together as a team, then I suppose your view of dependency is skewed. I view marriage as a partnership - two people working together to bring happiness to each other; not two people doing t

        • by karnal (22275)
          In this scenario, never have I said, "Sorry you're bored, I'm busy."

          I've actually told my wife that before. It doesn't get you very far, what being a negative statement and all.

          It is depressing when you have a hobby (gaming, music, cars, whatever) and my wife felt like pestering me... "You don't spend enough time with me!"

          After communication and working through life's issues, though, I've found that we have "our time" and "quiet time". I now have my time for hobbies, and we still do things together.
    • Yep. Been there done that and still have the T-Shirt. I remember when my marraige was new and things were fun. We had sex and did things together. Those were the days.

      Now I game and am celibate. I can only assume these two life truths will hold until I die or get divorced. Enjoy it while it lasts. On the upside, it won't be too terribly long before you have a lot more gaming time on your hands once again. That is an upside, right?
    • My life no longer focuses on, "What should I do tonight?", it became, "What should we do tonight?"

      Otherwise, if I was to tell my wife that I was going to sit down for a few hours and game, my marriage would not be as happy as it is.

      If you honestly can't tell your wife that you're going to game (or do anything else, for that matter) for a few hours by yourself, then perhaps you should consider whether something's wrong there.

      Speaking as someone who's wife is also a gamer, and much more so than yours sounds t
      • If you honestly can't tell your wife that you're going to game (or do anything else, for that matter) for a few hours by yourself, then perhaps you should consider whether something's wrong there.

        Sorry if you misinterpretted. I never tried to imply that I cannot do anything without her when she's around. However, I won't let her be bored out of her mind while I'm in my own world. We both recognize the need for personal time every now-and-then, but we enjoy spending time with each other moreso.

        Combined

    • married? may I suggest bridge. Have 5 other couples over once a month, play a rubber at three tables then move the winners east and the losers west. When your partner wins the bid you bring drinks.
    • Wow, something must be seriously wrong with my marriage and family.

      Let's see, during the day my wife plays with our 5 year old and plays WoW. I came home yesterday to see the 5 year old playing WoW for the first time. :-) When the 8 year old gets home from school, she chooses to watch TV, play with her sister or play her hunter in WoW with Mommy after her homework is done.

      In the evening, we have dinner together, maybe watch a TV show (Dirty Jobs is a family favorite), or the girls will play outside or in

  • by spun (1352) <(moc.oohay) (ta) (yranoituloverevol)> on Tuesday April 18, 2006 @06:02PM (#15153027) Journal
    My family bought it's first pc back in 1979, a TRS80 Model 1. My dad loved computer games back then, but he hated how long it took to get anywhere. He said, "why doesn't someone come up with a game where you can define how long you have to play, and it will make sure you finish something meaningful in that amount of time." Well, no one has made anything like that, and now he doesn't play games.

    Back then I thought it was a dumb idea, but now that I'm in my thirties I know exactly what he meant.
    • Quake 3 Arena (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Sunlighter (177996)

      You know, in Quake 3 Arena, you can hit Single Player, Skirmish, pick a map, hit Next, pick your opponents, and set a Time Limit and no Frag Limit. Like say for 15 minutes. And that's when the game ends.

      I've been doing that for years.

    • My family bought it's first pc back in 1979, a TRS80 Model 1. My dad loved computer games back then, but he hated how long it took to get anywhere. He said, "why doesn't someone come up with a game where you can define how long you have to play, and it will make sure you finish something meaningful in that amount of time." Well, no one has made anything like that, and now he doesn't play games.

      Most games nowadays implement something called "Saved Games". Good or bad, you can save the game at any time aft

      • Most games with this "Saved Games" option have something called "Save Points."

        You can't just save the game in any old spot, just certain locations. If you are in the middle of some tedious part between saves and you get bored or simply can't keep playing, the only options are 1)keep playing untill you eventually hit the save point 2)eventually replay the game or 3)give up the game completely. Then there are games like Black that take it even a level further... There are checkpoints that you will respaw
        • Most games with this "Saved Games" option have something called "Save Points."


          I find that it is a 50/50 split - some saves use the save-point system, some others use full quick saves. For the PC, the games that go by save-points are generally less popular than the quick save counterparts. There are exceptions (e.g. FarCry and to a lesser extent, PainKiller), but these are generally more common with console games (or on old computer systems.)

    • Arcade games came up with this in the early 80s, and Nintendo perfected it in the SNES. What I'm talking about is Super Mario Bros. This is a game where in five minutes you either finish a level (make progress) or time expires. If you're complaining about situations where don't have five minutes to play and nothing accomodates your needs, perhaps its time to check into a clinic ;) This is probably the biggest problem with Zelda. Your average dungeon is epic in scope. It's fun when you have the time to dedic
    • I agree. That's why it took me well over 2 years to finish Xenosaga Ep 1. Sure, you could pause the FMV's, but it doesn't matter unless it's a bathroom/food break. I've got to got to work and may not have and game time for two or three days. The only reason I finished Xenogears is because I was in high school and I didn't have anything else to do.

      Basically I don't play a lot of RPGs anymore because the 45min + time investment for progress cannot be guaranteed to me.

  • ... it is easy to play The Godfather for nine straight hours ...

    When I was younger, we used to watch The Godfather for hours at a time. (Or was that Conan The Barbarian on the VHS tape that got worn out.) Anyway, sheesh... these kids and their interactive entertainment these days.
  • by turbopunk (806995) <cgardnerNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Tuesday April 18, 2006 @06:05PM (#15153053)
    I have to agree with the idea on casual games. I am surprised, however, that it hasn't been carried through to other game formats. I'm in the middle of about 3 or 4 games right now that I would love to finish. all three require you to go to a savepoint. The problem is that, as the game progresses, the savepoints get further and further apart. Therefore, I get 20 hours into a 30 hour game, but I can't finish it because I don't have a block of 4 hours to set aside to get to the next checkpoint.

    The problem isn't going to be fixed with edispodic content. As long as the game makers keep placing checkpoints farther and farther away to increase difficulty, then the problem will always persist.
    • I ran into this in a way with a couple games. In GTA III, I lost patience in trying to complete a timed level (the one where you have to crash into coffee stands). I haven't touched the game in almost a year since I have better things to do. Same deal with Spider-man 2 and another level that began to piss me off. In the end I'm probably going to give away my PS2 and all my games to a friend with more time on his hands or with more patience. And, no, none of you are my friends :)
      • haha, thats funny, i gave up on the same mission in GTA3... timed levels can be BS some times. there are a few games that i've just stopped playing because i couldn't get past a level and there were no cheats to bypass it.
      • I abandoned GTA3 at that level for well over a year as well. Fortunately, when I eventually went back to it I noticed that the coffee stands are always in the same place - if you can figure out a good route (start from the furthest one away, to give yourself the easiest route back after the last one has gone) it's actually pretty simple.

        I've since abandoned it again, however. The final level is difficult in the cheapest possible ways; right from the off it steals all your weaponry so you have to do it on fo
  • Get a divorce and let them have sole custody of the kids... BAM! instant gaming time attained!!!!!11
    • You forget that you're gaming time decreases again proportional to the amount of child support you have to pay. Oh, and she probably got the big screen out of the deal, and the 360 she will never play. Sorry man...

      Now you're rooming with your single buddy who never stops partying and broke the PS1 your ex didn't know about and always watches porn on the 9" TV you found in the appartment dumpster. Sure sucks to be you.

  • Compatibility Check (Score:2, Interesting)

    by xNoLaNx (653172)
    Maybe I'm too obsessive of a gamer, but when I was first dating the woman now my wife, I thought it was important that she was into gaming at least half as much as I was, just generally interested in my interests. My wife attends LAN parties I go to, we play WoW together, and she kicks my ass at Dr Mario when we play.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      Well let's take the number of (heterosexual) guys interested in gaming, and then subtract from that the number of (heterosexual) girls interested in gaming. We now have group A, guys who get a gaming girl, and B, guys who are out of luck.

      Group B has three options:
      1) Spend the rest of their lives alone
      2) Settle for someone who isn't nearly as interested in gaming as they are (and possibly hope to encourage an interest in games, with no guarantee of success)
      3) Hunt down the people like you who made it in

    • Maybe I'm too obsessive of a gamer, but when I was first dating the woman now my wife, I thought it was important that she was into gaming at least half as much as I was, just generally interested in my interests. My wife attends LAN parties I go to, we play WoW together, and she kicks my ass at Dr Mario when we play.

      I'm not that obsessive of a gamer, and I didn't even think to bring it up with the woman I was dating (who is now my wife). This was an unfortunate mistake on my part. It wouldn't have bee
  • When you are single and unemployed, it is easy to play The Godfather for nine straight hours the day the game hits the shelf. When you are married, it becomes tougher.

    Ahhh... So the problem is the kids, then the wife, and then the job.

    Well... I need a job to support my drinking habbits so I can't really give that up.

    But the wife and the kids I could do without.

    I came close to getting married and then realized I was a horrible person when it comes to being loyal and later discovered the joy of being in a per
  • I am 30 years old and single (never had a date or relationship before). I am finding lack of free time during both full-time work days (and some overtimes) and non-work days. I barely play games these days even on weekend. If I do, then I get maybe 1-2 hours a week. I used to play a lot before. I even made a poll on my Web site [aqfl.net] about free time as a full-time worker as a single adult.
    • by SpecialAgentXXX (623692) on Tuesday April 18, 2006 @08:14PM (#15153821)
      I'm your age and single. I have just as much free time as when I graduated college and started working. In fact, I have even more free time since I'm not sucking up at the office and putting in O.T. to get on the boss's good side. I'm in cruise mode at the office.

      The reason you, a single guy with no g/f, have less free time is because you are unorganized. Here, do this. Put 15-minute blocks for the whole day in MS Excel (96 total). Now fill in what you have to do in those blocks. i.e. 8 hours of sleep, 8 hours of work, 1 hour of commuting, etc. The blocks that you have not filled in are your free-time blocks. It may surprise you how much time you have. Maybe you waste time surfing /.? I know I do. ;-)
      • Or it's possible that he does other things offline that don't necessarily involve dating? I know I could fill my non-work time completely with any number of non-computer hobbies if I wanted to. Just because he doesn't have the time he wants for gaming, doesn't mean he's disorganized, just that maybe he has different priorities.
      • Well, here's the thing. I don't drive. I car pool from others due to my physical disabilities. Commutings suck. It can be up to four hours total due to L.A. traffic (35 miles ONE way). And I work from 10/11 AM to 7/8 PM evening. Traffics still suck though. Living closer would be nice but have you seen the crazy high prices? Ugh.
        • Wow, er, I feel bad for ripping a handicap guy. I'm sorry. Could you possibly telecommute?
          • SpecialAgentXXX: Nope. I am not high level enough (not a manager) and that would be hard to do over since I deal with lots of big files (GB!). Heh, not good for dial-up and slow cable modem connections (especially with uploads).
            • Actually, if you were that high (a manager), wouldn't you have to go into the office everyday? It's the grunts like us that can work from home. i.e. if you job can be outsourced, then you can most likely work from home.

              As for dealing with big files, why not ask about using Microsoft Remote Desktop? Just connect to your Win XP Pro PC at work from your Win XP Pro PC at home. Or you can use VNC if you desktop is Linux.
              • That will be too slow. I need access to physical computers like reimaging my HDDs, etc. I deal with disk utilities, various operating systems, etc. as a SQA tester/analyst.
                • Hate to flog a dead horse, but you should ask your manager to look at VMware. I can do everything from home now. I had to add new CPUs to a few servers and I did it from home on a Saturday night. Anyway, good luck. I can sympathize because on the days I do work in the office, I find myself only having about 3-4 free hours of time a day.
                  • illumin8: We do use VMware (been using it since v3.x), but we CANNOT fully replace real machines for testings especially when we have to test disk utilities, firewall/security products, performance, etc.
        • Oh crap that's bad (though I'm sure there are worse). Myself, I work 8 hours a day with at most an hour of commute/shopping/etc which works out to 4-6 hours of free time every weekday. This is why I would not even consider moving to a town with longer commutes. Occasionally I have to do a day in the next town which is 2 hours away, but I refuse to do that very often.

  • Half the price of a full priced game with less than half of the length. The developers make more money in terms of how much content they create. There is other benefits such as the more episodic nature of the game and the possibility of the storyline changing based on player feedback, but I believe these are secondary considerations.
  • by aztektum (170569) on Tuesday April 18, 2006 @07:52PM (#15153654)
    Minimal.

    Especially at the 20 bucks a pop method that I keep hearing rumored Valve will use. Particularly when it will just amount to a few linear shooter levels.

    Meanwhile I continue to play Gal Civ II over and over with all the different outcomes for 29.99. Or even Civ IV for 50 bucks is a better investment.
    • Especially at the 20 bucks a pop method that I keep hearing rumored Valve will use. Particularly when it will just amount to a few linear shooter levels.

      I agree. As it stands now, most new games debut at $40, $50, or $60 for an entire game. But if you wait just 3-5 months you can usually pick it up for $20-$30. There are hardcore gamers who "must have the game" and will pay nearly any price to get it. They are the low hanging fruit. Once you have sold copies to all of them at $60 in the first week
      • As always, the smartest person is the one who figured out how companies cut product and keep the price the same. We might as well be talking about Charmin's "Less is More" commercials or a 13.5 oz. "pound" of potato chips. Or any of the various products, like margarine, soda, mp3 downloads, or even compact discs, which literally cost nothing to make, but sell at nearly the same price as their "real" conterparts (butter, juice, vinyl).

        For established businesses, this is the ONLY trick in the book.
  • Oblivion (Score:4, Interesting)

    by SmallFurryCreature (593017) on Wednesday April 19, 2006 @02:47AM (#15155246) Journal
    Now if there is one recent game you can't complete in 10 minutes that is it. 9 hours? HA!

    So if this article got a point this superlong game would not be selling. Except that it is.

    So the story is complete and utter crap.

    What is "important" for people with other demands on their time is the ability to segment their gaming. Or in other words. Save anywhere.

    Call of Cthulhu is another Betsheda game yet while it is much shorter (except for some fake replay forcing) I can play it far less. In Oblivion I could play for say 5 minutes before saving and doing whatever is demanded of me. CoC would mean I had to quit and next time do whatever I did over again because I had not reached a save point.

    The online 5 minute FPS section offcourse can't be saved but then again doesn't need to. Same with MMO games wich in way save CONSTANTLY.

    I think the most important lesson game companies should learn is that older players with real live demands on their time will have less patience for being forced to play from savepoint to savepoint. Being forced to replay a game if they want maximum difficulty (what the fuck is up with that? Consoles are weird) or all the goodies.

    Putting out games in small bits is not going to solve anything. So what if the godfather was segmented into 1 hour episodes. That STILL would not meet your 5 minute game session time.

    I just wish gamemakers would wake up and realize that savepoints are a leftover from the days consoles didn't have enough memory to save a full game.

    It is a tech limit NOT a design feature. I paid for the product, I decide how to play it.

    If you think about it savepoint system is like that recent Philips patent to disable your TV controls during ads. It is the content maker telling you how you should play. Fuck that.

    • I'd disagree with you. I hve precisely the same time issues as the original submitter, and Oblivion is great. Yes, there are probably HUNDREDS of hours of content there, but if you only have a half hour you can jump in, find a wilderness dungeon, and have a great time doing it.

      IMO this is one thing that the MMO games haven't yet come to grips with.
      I played WW2OL for 4 years straight, and loved it (still do, actually) but as the realism and fidelity to the actual military experience increased, it became le
    • As someone who has been playing Morrowind recently in 20-minute (or so) blocks, I'd definitely agree with you on that one.

      Meanwhile, I've got Black sitting virtually untouched, because I don't have time to play the whole second level in order to reach the next savepoint, and I never actually managed to get past the opening cutscene of MGS2.
    • Save anywhere.

      Man, that reminds me how much I *hate* that damn "checkpoint" system on so many console games.

      That was the one downside to Halo 1 & 2. Drove me abosultely *NUTS* (especially when in "Legendary" mode). I'd work my butt off, finally clearing that notorious hanger on legendary setting, only to have some Elite ambush me before I could make the checkpoint.

      It left me with the constant feeling of just having wasted a lot of time. I'd complete whole gaming sessions with absolutely NOTHING to show

  • Adventure games? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Aramgutang (620327) on Wednesday April 19, 2006 @03:15AM (#15155320)
    Maybe this is part of the reason why adventure games have nearly died out (not the only reason, obviously). It's one of the few genres where continuous playing for a long time is crucial to an enjoyable experience.

    With, say, an FPS, as long as you stop playing when you finish an area/level, it's easy to pick up again on the next day. With an adventure game, it can be pretty crucial to have a lot of things fresh in your memory, like "I've definitely tried using my rabbit's foot with that checkout counter" or "I think the blind hermit mentioned something about frogs and WD-40 being an explosive combination".

    Otherwise, trying things over and over again in separate gaming session gets really old really fast. So older folk don't have the time to enjoy playing them, while the kids, dumbed down by TV and MySpace, don't have the attention span.
  • I'm usually not going to waste hours to reach game goals or just have fun.
    for example if i like i can load Starcraft and Play a single map for half-hour(not melee) and leave.

    Episodic gaming is widespread because,
    there few reasons:
    1.Lack of time.
    2.Games are not interesting after you
    familiar with them enough.I.e. no novelty factor in spending time on old games.
    3.Games aren't important enough to use up free time.If there is something else it takes priority over gaming.
    4,using games as recreation isn't much fun
  • I suppose 'episodic gaming' refers to either games being released as small episodes, or having players that can only spend small amounts of time for playing. Anyway, I think the original Doom/II/TNT/Evilution shows the power small episodes. Just check the doom wad archives. You can easily get thousands of levels or complete episodes, with fans releasing at least a few completely new levels each week. That's what, like 12.5 years after the release of Doom? Just get your copy of ZDoom/ZDaemon and start blasti
  • I find that having a decent current gen DS (though same may apply for PSP) is the saviour of gaming. I don't always have access to the TV in the lounge with the console connected to it and after sitting at a PC at work all day means I'm not so enthusiastic about the hassle of setting up the game to run on that. But the portable is great way of getting the gaming fix in a manner that fits into the lifestyle better (eg when dinners being cooked, and best of all when on the khazi!).

    Plus the fact that I've got
  • Diablo II (Score:2, Interesting)

    by 0311 (796591)
    I like Diablo II a lot. It's the only game I play. It's a lot of fun because I know I can sit down for 10 or 15 minutes or whatever and make a small contribution to my next level. I guess I would call it incremental gaming. After spending 4 or 6 hour chunks of time studying ochem or material for the MCAT in August, it is nice to run around whacking monsters and finding magical stuff. And since I play a little here or a little there, it doesn't really affect my family time at all.
    • I agree. It's like that for me in WoW. I have an alt character that I'm grinding to 60, but by grinding I mean, I log in and out right next to the optimal grinding spots for my level. That way, I can log in for a half hour, get some good XP, then log out. However, at some point, my desire for progression takes hold and I just need to sit down for an entire Saturday and do nothing but focus on getting to the next level.

      Also, that character is my alt. On my main, I log in three nights a week and participate
  • Now that I'm married casual gaming is a better fit with my life. It's great to fire up a 15 min death match or go a couple rounds in a fighting game or a couple laps in a racing game. I would be more interested in more updates to those types of games. New death match levels, new fighting environments/costumes, new tracks. The long 80 hour single player games aren't very fun when the other person feels like they have to leave the room so they don't get plot points ruined. At this point in my life I'm more in
  • ah I see. Episodic gaming = "we want you to pay full price for games while we only give you half the content & then expect you to pay additionally for the rest of the content over time."

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