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Digital distribution 'could ease' release congestion

Media Molecule founder expects lower prices and online accessibility have an impact

The kind of release schedule congestion that hit the videogames industry last November could be eased with the increasing popularity of digital distribution, with potentially lower price points also teasing gamers into buying more games throughout the year.

That's the opinion of Media Molecule co-founder Alex Evans, who saw his company's much-anticipated LittleBigPlanet - released late last year - suffer from the deluge of triple-A titles that were launched in a hectic four-week period.

But while he told GamesIndustry.biz that, in hindsight, he wouldn't have altered the game's release date - preferring to get it to people as soon as possible - he did see a possible way forward for the industry in that area, despite the huge revenues available from festive gift-giving.

"And with the high barrier to entry as well - USD 40, or 60, or whatever it is - you have to fall at those times," he said, referring to that lucrative period for the market.

"I think that's one of the things that's interesting about digital distribution - yes it changes the distribution and marketing model, but I think it also lowers the costs, and that actually ends up spreading when people are willing to drop the cash.

"I'm not talking about hardcore gamers, but those in the middle ground. I have a feeling that it's not quite the same in the music business - people buy CDs all year round. But I'm really interested to see if that as prices come down, and you can get stuff online, you'll see more forgiving release schedules when stuff can come out and break even."

Evans went on to talk about some of the new tools that the company is working on in relation to LittleBigPlanet, specifically aimed at making the content creation and sharing aspects easier.

"One of the things we're focusing on next is looking at stuff that insane - generally French and Japanese - people have built, and then making that more accessible, just making some of the ideas that are possible, easier," he revealed.

"The second side of it is that at the moment you can exchange objects via PSN messages. One of the original ideas that was axed from the original game was that you could publish objects from the game online, not just levels, and you'd be credited with the use of those objects.

"I think something like that will really boost it - if you're just a beginner user, you can go and browse not just for levels, but for cars, let's say. Take that, sticker it up, and you're done - and that will change the barriers to entry.

"So both of those things - changing the tools themselves, and changing how you share - are coming."

The full interview with Alex Evans, conducted at this year's Nordic Game conference in Sweden, is available now.

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