Friday, December 12, 2008

Xbox Live Community Content... Is the game worth $2.50?

I downloaded and tried three different Xbox Live Community Content games. They were:

  • Lines: A Lumines/Tetris derivative. 
  • Being: A 2d sidescroller platformer (derivative of Mario).
  • Weapon of Choice: Another side scroller that is derivative of some Japanese side scrollers where you move with one stick and fire in all directions using the other stick.
I ended up purchasing Lines for $2.50. It was a very relaxing game, had nice music, had a reasonable amount of polish, and a decent trial version. The other two trial versions failed in that they didn't let me see enough content and stopped abruptly after a certain amount of time (as opposed to after the completion of a level). This kind of "trialus interruptus" is lame.

Interestingly, Lines' trial version was time constrained -- but it gets a pass because the time constraint was part of the game mode "time trial". I was still able to play it through several times and achieve closure before deciding to purchase the full game -- which basically unlocked the "endurance mode". If I didn't already own Lumines -- and if Lines had achievements and leaderboards -- then I'd probably play a bunch of it. But given those two limitations I'm probably done with it after tonight.

I'll be interested to see whether there will ever be a critical mass of community content games and people playing these games to make this a cool component of the Xbox Live experience. Without lots of games and gamers, you can't really come up with a good way of collecting, aggregating, and distributing social community data. This means that you can't use social tools to surface relevant, quality content.

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