Another great show, guys! The while Cheap Fu thing is a great topic, because I’m convinced it’s going to save this industry.

Basically, the gaming industry has, in many cases, become bloated. Games’ budgets exceed many Hollywood films. Yet they have a smaller audience and a much higher price point of entry. While it’s fine for big devs / pubs such as Activision, EA, Epic, etc. to drop that kind of money, it leaves smaller studios in a really rough place. In the film world, a movie like Little Miss Sunshine is relatively inexpensive to make. The gaming equivalent, where everything would look “real” still needs to compete graphically and gameplay wise with something like Call of Duty for it to garner any attention. Then good luck selling what is perceived as a subpar title for the same $60.

The explosion of $15 downloadable titles has given a great opportunity to smaller devs and independents. You asked if we should weep for Tim Schafer and Ron Gilbert. I think this is the greatest thing to happen to them. They are fonts of creativity, and it has sadly been proven that the mass market is not willing to drop $60 on the promise of their innovation. So now they can invest less money to put out a shorter game still full of whatever awesome/crazy stuff they can come up with and survive as a business. It sure as hell beats the alternative of them leaving the industry altogether.

Just two years ago, Monday Night Combat would have never happened. Ditto for Braid. Flower? Forget it. Some of my favorite games have been made possible thanks to this new business model.

In truth, I think we have Portal to thank for this. While it wasn’t a $15 digital release (though it did eventually become one), Portal showed mass gaming audiences that it was OK for a game to be a tight, well put together, interesting, and experimental game that only took a few hours to play. It was still a good game. That is the mold that many of the Cheap Fu titles follow.