Posted by : Jameson Durall Friday, July 02, 2010

My post yesterday about if going episodic is the future of games got some discussions going in various locations. So, I've decide to pool some of that together here for everyone to catch up on.

The responses were pretty mixed actually on if mainstream games could go the way of episodic...with some people being almost religiously in each corner.  I'm not really convinced either way yet, but I think it has a ton of potential and should be thoroughly looked into.

A point that Dave brought up "If your product doesn't get the following that brings you into the sweet spot for profit then the potential to lose money is even higher. "  This is a valid point and I agree that this would be a major concern if development costs are high up front, but I personally believe this model requires that to be addressed.  My response to this was that the team should be using things like existing tech and smaller team sizes so that the initial price can cover most of the costs.  Then any money made from subsequent episodes would be mostly profit and huge for the studio.

My favorite quite was from Tim: "I think as devs become smarter about reusing tech (which this longer console life is allowing more and more) or licensing an engine, it'll be more feasible to do this. It'll be hit or miss like any other development, and the benefit to this is if the game doesn't sell or catch on, you didn't waste as much time and money as you would have if it was a full blown title."  To me, this is the key to transitioning into episodic content...the costs need to be lowered up front and then if it fails, its not as huge of a loss. 

I think one thing most people will agree on is the success of episodic content for some types of games and that alone is a reason to think about how it can be used further.  I got an interesting tweet from @pmera "Last year I was thinking about an episodic game for FB. It would work like a TV show, with a new episode available each week."  I think something like this is a fantastic idea, especially if the player can miss or skip weeks and be able to pick right up where they left off.

The thing I find most interesting about this topic is the apparent amount of "enthusiasm" for each particular point of view.  Anyone else care to weigh in?

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