The Direction of Media

6 06 2010

On May 18, 2010, a video game ¬†I’ve personally been waiting since mid-2005 for came out. It’s named for it’s main character, a fiction writer named Alan Wake. While the game has been a joy for me to play, it’s represented a major shift in gaming. I began playing games over 15 years ago and the delivery method of content itself has gone through several iterations.

Alan Wake comes packaged with six ‘episodes’, all of which are around two hours long. This makes for a short game (which only touts single player, I might add) with the promise of more content – three more episodes for 2010. Alan Wake is the first game I can think of, besides music games, which will rely on consumers buying the initial product and sticking around for the add-ons. Yes, this has been done before in more vague terms; most notably, in my mind, being Borderlands, which uses a similar principle. But I feel that Alan Wake is difference because it’s not going to be ‘bonus’ material, the future downloadable content will effect the plot of the game – to a large extent. In past years (especially the 2000’s), gamers have been met with oodles of sequels, which in reality is that era’s reaction to systems and delivery method in general (now you can download updates on your console). We are getting to a point where we don’t need to add a number to the end of a game to continue the story, we just have to connect to the internet then spend some¬†arbitrarily dedicated “points”/money on new content.

In just five years (2005-2010), the gaming industry (as well as music) has begun to change from traditional long forms to instant, short forms. Where will things be in another five?

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