GRIMM FUTURE: If you want a really enormous library of classic games, however, you need to turn on your PC and head over to GameTap. The online service owned by Turner Broadcasting System has more than 850 titles, 30 of which are free to play even if you don’t pay the subscription fee.
However, GameTap’s biggest success over the past year has come from its commitment to episodic games â€” namely, the six-episode run of Telltale Games’”Sam & Max.” GameTap’s next episodic project is even more ambitious: “American McGee’s Grimm” is a 24-chapter game scheduled to launch in the first half of 2008. It’s an action-adventure game based on the Grimm brothers’ fairy tales, from Rapunzel and Rumpelstiltskin to Snow White and Little Red Riding Hood.
I find this whole “downloadable games is the wave of the future” topic slightly amusing given the fact that so much of the games industry was built on the success of digital distribution in its 1st era – 15 years ago.
During my time at id Software I witnessed firsthand the power of online distribution. At one point a guy from the University of Wisconsin contacted us to tell us exactly how our games were impacting the school. When a new id game demo was released this guy could see bandwidth usage go up dramatically. And he’d charted an opposite graph – student test scores, which dropped significantly in the weeks after a demo or game release.
Something I often wonder: Why did publishers move away from online distribution of all their PC products? Why the 10+ year hiatus, which for most publishers continues? Was it internet bandwidth vs. product size? Addiction to “box product”? Love of revenue generation (never mind profit)? Consolidation of market (the monopolistic sort)? Well, whatever the reasons – I for one am happy to see the trend reversing.