The second season of The Guild, a popular gamer-oriented webisode, will be distributed exclusively across three Microsoft platforms during its initial run.
According to the Hollywood Reporter, these platforms will include Xbox 360’s Live Marketplace, MSN and Zune, exposing the popular series to a world-wide market. In fact, Microsoft has an exclusive lock on the entire second season, however the show’s creator will be able to make a new deal for a non-exclusive deal outside Microsoft’s clutches. Sprint has also signed on to sponsor the show, splashing its logo before each episode and inserting subtle product placement.
Currently season 2 episode 1 (2x01), entitled "Link the Loot," is ready for viewing on all Microsoft platforms. The 5-minute webisode comes in two flavors on XBL: 480p (63MB) and 720p (253MB). This latest installment centers on The Guild finding a valuable in-game object while Codex adjusts to Zaboo as a house guest. To download the video, head into the Video Marketplace portion of the NXE dashboard, hit the Explore Video Content panel, All Videos, the move over to the Collections panel and choose Independent videos. The Guild is listed under Web videos along with other series including Horror Meets Comedy, CTRL+ALT+DEL, Squeegees and more.
Xbox Live also features all ten episodes of The Guild, Season 1 as well. The initial season racked in nine million views during its independent run, supported by fans who donated funds through PayPal. The show’s creator and writer-producer, Felicia Day, is the spunky-but-cute redheaded central point of the entire series. Apparently, Day shopped around for an entire year before landing a deal with Microsoft; she sought out a distributor who would let her retain the intellectual property rights to the show. "I was adamant about holding on to the rights of my series," she told The Hollywood Reporter. Microsoft paid Day an unspecified upfront license fee.
Microsoft claims that it will not participate in revenue should The Guild break into the big leagues through an actual TV show or movie, stating that the company only deals with hardware and software. That’s surprising considering how popular The guild has become. However, Microsoft currently racks in the bucks through ad revenue over all three platforms including the show’s repeated run on Watchtheguild.com.
The Guild, a comical look about a handful of gamers playing an unspecified fantasy MMORPG, follows the live of each guild member both online and offline. Felicia Day plays the central character and guild Healer, lusted by the quirky Zaboo (the guild’s Warlock) who shows up on her doorstep in the very first episode. Other guild members include Bladezz, a longhaired horndog serving as the Rogue/Thief; Vork, the balding geek heading the guild; Tinkerballa, a cute-n-sassy Ranger; the married, overweight mother of three serving as the guild’s Mage.
The Guild is certainly a show not to miss, as it features outstanding writing, photography and acting. With season 2 hitting MSN, XBL and the Zune platform, there’s no reason not to download an episode and see what the buzz is all about.