The Greenhouse Effect

The two of "world's most influential gamers" today have showed why they deserve the title yet again today. Jerry 'Tycho' Holkins and Mike 'Gabe' Krahulik of Penny-Arcade webcomic announced their partnership with Hothead Games to launch a new independant games digital distribution service Greenhouse.

The idea behind the platform is to create "a way that would be easy for the developer to get it out there with a royalty structure that is not full of shit".

Which sounds pretty fantastic to me.

The service is platform agnostic, it supports Windows, Mac and Linux. Head over to the homepage now to help out with the beta, and hear a really nice podcast of Jerry and Mike talking about the service, and how the development of their first ever game "Penny Arcade Adventures - On the Rain-Slick Precipice of Darkness, Episode One" lead to the services creation.

That's all the details, but that is only half the story.

I registered on the forums to solve a small problem I was having with the podcast download. The problem I had was solved in minutes by a helpful forumer, bearing in mind these forums opened about half an hour ago. Then I went along to the news forum, and saw a really friendly welcome message from Community Manager Kristin. She tells us that we should feel free to ask any questions about the development of the service, or of 'PAA - OTRSPODA E1' and she'll get back to us.

A bunch of people (including myself) go on to ask questions about things. Her and her team answer pretty much anything honestly and openly. I got answers about UK pricing, people asked lots of technical questions about the service, and just lots of general feedback. Everything is answered, Hothead are giving quality direct feedback to it's audience, and taking on board suggestions and showing quick response to it.

Learn from this publishers. Next time you think of giving Gamespot a big cheque for some positive coverage, maybe rethink your strategy. Maybe spend your cash on running a decent community. Take on board what your fans and the people that pay your bills have to say about your product, embrace their input and feedback.

About the UK pricing -

"Ep. 1 will be $19.95 US everywhere (except Canada)" meaning we will get it for $19.95 converted into sterling, plus fee for conversion. A great deal for the UK at the minute, and honestly how digital distribution should be.

"Honestly, I can't comment on future titles. I can imagine that we wouldn't want to penalize you because of where you live. The only reason I can think that a game would cost more in certain regions is if heavy localization required, and I don't think we'll be running into that in the near future." Sound good so far.

Now this information I wanted to know, so I asked them, and they told me what they could. This is how games journalism should be. Honestly, who cares was Matt Casmamasnsamanssiaiamsnaia wants to know about Wii Fit. Let's democratise this party. Direct interaction with honest and open developers. Let it percolate the blogosphere, fora and social media and networking hubs, and then you have a direct relationship between the end user and the creator.

I honestly strongly suggest you register and post with anything you would want to know about this service, or this game. Even if they can't tell you something they will be open about why.

Or maybe I am just a web hippy.

GameCube Console (black) - £24.99

GameCube Console (black) - £24.99 delivered

Condemned: Criminal Origins, Xbox 360 - £9.99

Condemned: Criminal Origins, Xbox 360 - £9.99 delivered

PaRappa The Rapper, PSP - £7.99

PaRappa The Rapper, PSP - £7.99 delivered

Apply code "PP-PARAPPA-2" to bring the price down to £7.99

Supreme Commander Gold Edition, PC - £6.99

Supreme Commander Gold Edition, PC - £6.99 delivered

Contains 'Supreme Commander' and 'Supreme Commander: Forged Alliance' expansion pack.

Apply code "cheap games" for free delivery

Sega Rally, PC - £6.93

Sega Rally, PC - £6.93 delivered

The new one that is.

Second Sight, Xbox - £3.50

Second Sight, Xbox - £3.50 delivered

Great game, really nice narrative, from the guys behind the Timesplitters series.

Avoid reading the synopsis on CEX though, one of the game's strong points is the narrative, and it kind of ruins it.

Orcs & Elves, DS - £10.99

Orcs & Elves, DS - £10.99 delivered

House Of The Dead 2 & 3 Return, Wii - £18.98

House Of The Dead 2 & 3 Return, Wii - £18.98 delivered