Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Spore Creature Creator as a standalone product

I still haven´t posted my lecture on Games as Creative Tools. At least I´ll have time to revise it, since this happened:

Redwood City, CA - April 25, 2008 – Electronic Arts Inc. (NASDAQ: ERTS) and Maxis today announced that a free downloadable demo, and complete retail version of the Spore™ Creature Creator will be available starting June 17, 2008. The Spore Creature Creator gives Spore fans, and those who are creatively curious, the first hands-on opportunity to design their own species and share it with their friends.
A complete retail version of the Spore Creature Creator will also be available in North America for $9.99 and most European territories for €9.99, which gives players access to all the creature-making parts in the game."

Arguably, the creature creator is one of the best parts of the game - if not the best (just look at how many videos there are on the internet about this single feature). However, selling this editor before the game makes me wonder:

1 - Will players have to pay for the tool again, once they buy the full game?
2 - Would the selling of the Creature Creator be a financial necessity for EA? Why not give away the full version for free?
3 - Will it be useful for anyone who has not the full game to place the creatures into?

I really agree that populating the Spore MSOG (Massive Single Player Game, as Will Wright puts it) universe even before the game is released is a good move. Plus, I love to see how games are transforming tools into something fun. But there´s something about charging players for the creation tool - when they could buy the full game with all editors a few months later - that strikes me as odd.


Chris said...

This is a brilliant idea... from EA's perspective. Capitalise on the hype for Spore by selling the editing tool in advance: you make even more money, and you get your audience to publicise the game for you.

But like you, if they don't then let you have that amount off the cost of the game itself, they are rather screwing the audience.

I rather feel that the tool might have a different audience to the game, to be honest... I'm still sceptical of Spore's ability to penetrate the mass market - although they can probably make profit just from the hobbyists. The tool - if its easy enough to use - might be a better mass market prospect.

Trust all is well with you!

Chico Queiroz said...

Hello Chris, thank you for the input!

Interesting perspective. If the tool actually sells better than the game itself, that would be quite revolutionary in the way games and game culture impact production tools and how games themselves are used as tools.

And everything is fine, thanks!

Copyright, Chico Queiroz