Aspyr Announces: The Gamerhood

via today’s Aspyr Games Newsletter (July 31, 2006):

The Gamerhood(TM), coming soon, will allow Mac users to download casual
games and video games.

Earlier this month we announced the development of a new game application,
The Gamerhood(TM), that will allow a user to purchase and download a game
directly to their Macintosh using a standard Internet connection. A wide
range of Mac games, from very casual titles to some of Aspyr’s AAA titles,
will be made available through The Gamerhood(TM).

Over the next few months, we will be releasing more specific information
on The Gamerhood’s(TM) capabilities and a list of the titles, which will
be immediately available upon the application’s launch. A broad range of
features already being implemented in The Gamerhood are listed below.

The Gamerhood(TM) Features

• Purchase games and download them online
• Play games without physical CD/DVD media
• Check user compatibility by comparing machine’s hardware against a
game’s minimum system requirements before purchase
• Alert users to current Aspyr projects and new games
• Allow users to register games online
• Alert users to game updates and provide installs for updates
• Provide a user-friendly interface and convenient way to organize
personal gaming catalogue
• Allow parents to restrict game play and online game store material based
on ESRB ratings
• Provide users opportunity to take advantage of special offers

Downloading The Gamerhood(TM) will be free to all Mac users and will be
available to North American customers only at launch. Look for more
details about The Gamerhood(TM) from Aspyr as we approach the launch

I recently wondered why Aspyr didn’t have this already.

Mac Shareware Distribution

MacWorld’s Peter Cohen writes about commercial games taking up the shareware distribution model in his The Game Room column:

Shareware isn’t exactly a new idea. But the distribution model for shareware is being adapted by commercial game publishers for a new breed of commercial game that’s starting to impact how Mac games are sold.

Cohen mentions that the stalwarts of the Mac game industry, Macsoft, Aspyr, and Feral Interactive are “painfully aware” that they are missing the boat on download-based delivery of Mac games, and to expect them to jump on the bandwagon in the future.

I’m left to wonder, what has taken them so long? Electronic distribution is such an obvious mechanism, it’s hard for me to understand why they are not already fully invested in such a strategy.

Granted, most of these triple-A games are huge and would have very large bandwidth requirements, but bandwidth is cheap these days. Certainly it’s cheeper than printing DVDs, producing retail shelf boxes and shrink wrap materials, not to mention the “overhead” of dealing with middlemen and retail outlets.