Tag Archives: digital distribution

Get Grimm – Now on TryGames

Victorian House and Bank

“The Bank of Digital Distribution”

Grimm episodes continue to garner positive praise from reviewers and audiences alike. Erin Bell over at Crispy Gamer especially liked the “Belly of the Wolf” sequence from Episode 2, “Red Riding Hood”, saying:

The scene that takes place inside the wolf after Riding Hood and Granny are swallowed verges on psychedelic as Grimm hops among the wolf’s innards turning everything blotchy shades of fuchsia and purple. There’s a surreal and well-crafted moment where the woodsman’s axe suddenly appears, cleaving downward, and the camera angle shifts to show the woodsman’s face peering in.

And Ian Grundy at Final Boss is mentions his appreciation of some Grimm-inspired gore during his review of Episode 2:

I quite liked part of the last scene as well, in it there are lots of axemen wandering around who serve as the cleaners of the area. If you manage to make one of them evil, he will go on a murderous rampage and axe all the good axemen to death in a shower of gibs that would make John Romero nod vigorously with approval.

Both reviewers also take time to offer constructive criticism towards game mechanics, harder platforming, power-ups, and other elements we know many people are looking for in future episodes of Grimm. To be clear: We ARE integrating these elements into upcoming episodes, but it’s impossible for us to implement these changes overnight. Expect to see incremental improvements to many aspects of the game in future episodes.

On that note, just yesterday the team had a meeting to prioritize and changes from a very specific list of requests and suggestions. For some of the bigger changes, look towards the episodes in the “second group of 8”, and for many of the smaller changes, look to this week’s episode – The Fisherman and His Wife.

“Fishwife” as we like to call it is one of my favorites. The characters and environments are distinct from previous episodes – much of the episode taking place near or on the sea.

Finally, I’m excited to announce that Grimm is now officially available via alternate distribution and download channels (well, one “channel” as of this morning, but more to come). For those of you unable to download from GameTap, please go check out the Grimm, “A Boy Learns What Fear Is” bundled together with “Little Red Riding Hood” available on TryGames.

At TryGames you’ll be able to purchase episodes of Grimm from any country in the world. So, for those of you having trouble access Grimm from overseas – now you have no excuse. Go give it a try!

Also expect more digital distribution partner announcements in the coming days.

The Beginning of the End

Matthew Razak over at That Video Game Blog revealed in a post today that the new episodic game Penny Arcade Adventures has set a record for being the highest grossing debut of an Xbox Live Arcade game. The article says:

It must be good to be the PA guys. Not only are they basically nerd gods, read by millions, funny and the originators of one of the most popular gaming conventions out there but now they’re also the creators of the highest grossing debut in Xbox LIVE Arcade history with their new episodic game Penny Arcade Adventures. The game has made a massive $330,000 over three days, obliterating Worms HD’s previous hold on the spot by $50,000. Yup, it is pretty good to be Gabe and Tycho.

“Massive” might be overstating it, $330,000 over three days translates to 16,500 downloads – and it remains to be seen how long those initial download rates will hold – but two things are clear: download game content of an episodic nature IS viable and XBLA as a distribution platform for this sort of content IS gaining traction. Is this the beginning of the end for the traditional game development model?

Grimm Musicians

Grimm Musicians

Razak goes on to say:

It’s also good to be XBL Arcade. Not only did this game prove that people are willing to pay a bit more for bigger games, it also marked the arrival of said bigger games with Penny Arcade Adventures being the first game to exceed the 150 MB limit. This is also the first outrageously successful episodic content to be released on XBLA and if the second chapter, which I’m sure is now being pushed forward with even more gusto, is just as successful, hopefully we’ll be seeing more game designers jumping on board with the method.

I think the “hope” that game designers will jump on board is a valid one. But the issue isn’t game designers. Of course they want more platforms and models to push their ideas upon. The obstacle in my opinion is the publishing environment. With the exception of a few specialized (Gametap being one) publishers, the concept of digitally distributed small-to-medium scale game content is still regarded with suspicion – even hostility – by the publishing establishment. This resistance is of interest to me – and I think it should be of interest to game makers and gamers as well.

In many ways digital distribution of game content threatens to destroy the current box product based financier-publisher-distribution model. It renders useless the mechanisms of marketing, packaging, distribution, and perhaps most importantly – financing. Ultimately, it means freedom for content creators and consumers – but a “captured market” is suddenly lost for retailers, publishers, and marketers. This same thing happened to music, almost overnight.

At the same time I recognize the “threat” – that big publishers aren’t fully embracing smaller budget, faster scheduled, inexpensively distributed episodic download game content is a bit of a mystery. There’s always opportunity in change. It seems that the ideal “game producer” (I mean producer in the Hollywood sense) would model itself after a company like Jerry Bruckheimer Films – bridging the gap between commercial, TV, film, and more (btw, I’m not saying they always produce good content, just that their wider format model is something to be envied.)

The market of the future there will always have a place for $100mm Grand Theft Auto 4 type “blockbuster games” – and in fact, it might turn out that publishers ONLY want to make big budget blockbusters, the same way Hollywood would prefer to make a $100mm movie over a $20mm one. The format is big – the gamble is big – and the reward is big. This has been the logical progression over the last decade. But a gap is left – a space filled by commercial/TV/mini-series content in the “linear world” – and one that can (perhaps should?) be filled by casual/episodic/downloadable content in the interactive world.

Like Penny Arcade Adventures, Grimm is an experiment in this new model. It gives me hope that PAA has done so well – it means there’s a mechanism and an audience – supplying good content is what’s remaining to prove the model.

We think Grimm is great content. I hope you will too.