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As recession bites, video gamers turn to downloads
Updated: 2009-10-16 07:30

This exclusive downloadable five-on-five football game offers a $15 casual alternative to the fully-packed "Madden NFL 10" console games, which retail for $40 to $60. It's not just the mainstream audience that's migrating to downloads. Chris Buffa, editor-in-chief of AOL's, said as hardcore gamers have tightened their belts during the recession, they've opted for more affordable gaming options.

"Instead of going to the store and picking up three or four games, they're buying that one big game each week," said Buffa. "Personally, I opt for more downloadable content over retail releases because I get more for my dollar."

Pete Hines, vice president of marketing at Bethesda Softworks, added that downloadable content for games like "Fallout 3," which has had five expansions for PC, Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, extend the life of the original product.

"We aim to offer four to five hours of new content with each expansion, which sustains gamers' existing adventures," said Hines.

Cliff Bleszinski, design director at Epic Games, said the recently-released "Dark Corners" expansion pack for Microsoft's "Gears of War 2" offers a 90-minute sequence featuring heroes Dom and Marcus that was originally cut from the game due to time constraints.

Chair Entertainment was able to create a 12-hour gameplay experience with its side-scrolling shooter, "Shadow Complex," and offer it to Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 gamers for a fraction of the cost by bypassing retailers.

The game, which was created with best-selling author Orson Scott Card, serves as a prequel to his best-selling novel, "Empire."

Even Hollywood has jumped on the downloadable game bandwagon. The upcoming Paramount Pictures Home Entertainment release of "Star Trek" will include an Xbox 360 and PC trial of the Naked Sky Entertainment's downloadable space combat game "Star Trek: D-A-C" on every DVD and Blu-ray Disc.

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