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21 SEPTEMBER 2015

Life Is Strange: episodic video games prove as addictive as episodic television

"In another important respect, however, Life Is Strange is quite on-trend: it's being released episodically, every six weeks, in two- to three-hour instalments. The premiere episode arrived on 30 January; episode two followed at the end of March, and the next is set for May.

Dividing a title into chapters and publishing them in succession has become something of a phenomenon in the gaming industry in recent years. It started as a low-risk alternative to the usual blockbuster release strategy – and of late has begun to yield many games that, like Life Is Strange, might never have been green-lit under the traditional system.

Simon Parkin, a freelance writer on games for the New Yorker magazine, believes the popularity of the episodic approach has been 'facilitated by the rise of digital distribution methods', which have made it 'much easier and cheaper to release any number of titles'. Instead of pressing and shipping costly discs to brick-and-mortar stores, publishers can now upload a title to online marketplaces like Steam and Sony's Playstation Store, where players can download them instantly.

That ease of digital access has all but revolutionized the dissemination of games."

(Calum Marsh, 26 April 2015)

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TAGS

2015 • adolescent female • awkward adolescence • branching options • butterfly effect • choices • digital distributiondistribution models • Dontnod Entertainment • episodic format • episodic interactive drama • episodic structurefemale protagonistgirl • graphic adventure • illustrative style • inner struggle • interactive narrative • Life Is Strange (2015) • Maxine Caulfield • media distribution • memory and identity • memory and nostalgia • Michel Koch • nostalgia • photography student • PolaroidPolaroid camera • Raoul Barbet • reverse timerewind time • Square Enix • third-persontime manipulationtime rewindtime-based game mechanic • travel back in time • video game

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
13 OCTOBER 2011

Opera Australia: coming to a cinema near you

"Opera Australia's first season of cinema screenings has proven so popular it is set to roll out again to an expanded network of between 60 and 70 cinemas across Australia and New Zealand. They're also launching their own independent CD and DVD label and starting TV broadcasts with the ABC.

These three initiatives form part of Opera Australia's digital broadcast strategy designed to combat obstacles of price and location, and reach audiences in a way that fits with contemporary lifestyles."

(artsHub.com.au, 18 May 2011)

2). Media release: Opera Australia launches own CD/DVD label and TV broadcasts after successful debut at cinemas, Three–phase 'digital broadcast strategy' takes opera into a bright new future. May 12, 2011

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CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
13 OCTOBER 2011

Arts Alliance Signs Deal with Pillar Group, DigiScreen and Royal Opera House

"Arts Alliance Media has announced an exclusive digital distribution agreement with Montreal–based DigiScreen Corporation, the Pillar Group and the Royal Opera House. Under the terms of the agreement Opus Arte, the opera's TV and DVD production company, will to bring ballets, operas and dance from the Royal Opera House and other international performing arts companies to cinema screens across Europe. The deal encompasses theatres in the UK and Ireland, France, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Benelux and the Nordic territories. Filmed in high definition, the screenings will be both pre–recorded and live, projected in digital cinema, with 5.1 surround sound. The inaugural screenings will include the first cinematic performances of ballet, with The Royal Ballet's award–winning production of Frederick Ashton's Sylvia with Darcey Bussell in the title role, and The Royal Opera's production of Le Nozze Di Figaro directed by David McVicar. Other upcoming titles to be screened from the new series will include Sleeping Beauty, Carmen, Romeo and Juliet as well as Cavalleria Rusticana and Pagliacci from Teatro Real in Madrid. Further ballet and opera performances from the extensive Opus Arte relationships will be announced in due course. AAM will be responsible for cinema exhibitor booking negotiation, digital print services, security and tracking, and live event project management, as well as comprehensive marketing and public relations support, in collaboration with Opus Arte, ROH and DigiScreen. Opera in cinemas has recently proved to be a success in Europe for both The Metropolitan Opera and the Arts Alliance Media–distributed La Scala series, with many saying that the experience is like having the best seat in the house and at a fraction of the cost. Cinema audiences are able to see the performers, the costumes and the sets up close and personal, at their convenience, in their local cinema. The Royal Opera House is embracing this new opportunity as part of its audience engagement strategy, committed to reaching wider and more diverse audiences around the world, as well as opening the minds of people to new creative experiences. The agreement signifies how digital cinema is dramatically changing the cinema–going experience, enabling audiences to enjoy alternative entertainment previously only accessible in live venues. Prior to digital cinema projection technology, the high cost of 35mm prints did not allow this type of content to be seen in cinemas. Now, with affordable digital prints and satellite distribution technology, content can be programmed widely into cinemas. In the UK, Odeon and Cityscreen Picturehouse cinemas have initially signed up to exhibit. The first screening will be Le Nozze Di Figaro later this month in thirteen Odeon cinemas, with Picturehouse showing in up to twenty cinemas in June. Other cinema exhibitors across the UK and Europe will be announced in early summer. Paul Chesney, director of business development for AAM says, 'Digital cinema is enabling cinemas to become vibrant cultural entertainment centres, as well as movie houses. We are delighted to be working with the Royal Opera House, Opus Arte and DigiScreen and thrilled to be bringing these stunning performances to cinema exhibitors across the UK and Europe.' In a joint statement Mark Hooper, CEO of DigiScreen and Michael J. St. Clair, Chairman of The Pillar Group, said, 'We are pleased to be working with Arts Alliance Media, one of Europe's leading specialists in implementing the digital cinema deployment, to bring this great content to the Home Market. AAM's local knowledge will be of significant value to us as we work to fulfill the wishes of the ROH and Opus Arte to bring this content to the farthest corners of the UK. With AAM as our partner, we will bring artistic content and independent film from around the world to the European cinemas. The audience is sure to benefit from this relationship.' Tony Hall, chief executive of the Royal Opera House and executive chairman of Opus Arte, says, 'I am excited by this pioneering new direction for the Royal Opera House at the start of the 21st Century. Being at the forefront of the burgeoning digital platform allows us to bring brilliant ballets and operas from the world renowned Royal Ballet and Royal Opera to cinema screens all over the globe. As Opus Arte film more at the ROH, and at other great opera and dance companies, we will have an unbeatable line–up of cinema entertainment for exhibitors around the world. Having experienced the performances first hand, I cannot emphasize enough what an exhilarating experience these screenings live or recorded are, the high def digital technology coupled with Surround Sound is remarkable.' Hans Petri, managing director of Opus Arte says, 'In order to recreate the excellence of the stage performances in a cinematic environment, we have been highly selective about our choice of partners. DigiScreen, The Pillar Group and Arts Alliance Media are market leaders in providing top quality alternative content to cinema chains. We are confident we can provide audiences with the very best digital experience. There is so much more to look forward to.'"

(Digital Cinema Report, 2008)

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TAGS

2008 • AAM • alternative content • alternative entertainment • Arts Alliance Media • audienceaudience engagementballet • best seat in the house • Carmen • Cavalleria Rusticana • cinema • cinema audiences • cinema exhibitor • cinema screens • cinema-going experience • cinemagoers • Cityscreen Picturehouse • dance • DigiScreen Corporation • digital cinemadigital cinema projectiondigital distributiondigital platformdiverse audiencesexhibitionexperiencehigh-definition • La Scala • Le Nozze di Figaro • livelive eventlive performance on cinema screens • live productions • live screening • local cinema • London • Metropolitan Opera • Montreal • new creative experiences • Odeon • Odeon cinemas • opera • Opus Arte • Pagliacci • performing arts • Pillar Group • pioneering • projected in digital • ROH • Romeo and Juliet • Royal Opera House • Sleeping Beauty • surround sound • Sylvia • Teatro Real • theatreUK • up close and personal • venue • wider audiences

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
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