Tag Archives: demo

Late To The Party: Forza Motorsport


I never got the chance or never got around to playing any of Microsoft and Turn 10’s Forza Motorsport games until they started releasing them on Windows. And by “releasing them on Windows,” I mean making free versions of them available for me to try out — the free-to-play Forza 6 Apex and the recently released demo for Forza Horizon 3. Continue reading

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Dragon Quest Builders Demo, Japanese RPGs, And Free-Form Gameplay


I am one of those people who still hasn’t played Minecraft. When I realized Dragon Quest Builders was getting a demo for PS4 I saw this as a chance to see what one of these survival crafting games was all about. Plus this is supposed to be a somewhat unique take on the genre from a Japanese developer. Continue reading

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Demo Smorgasbord


I’ve had a bunch of demos backed up on various devices over the last few months so I figured I take this time in-between full games to check them out. People think demos are dead but that’s really only the case for western blockbuster games. Indie developers and Japanese developers still do them pretty regularly. I’m just gonna talk about a handful of the ones I did get out of the way. You could call it sort of a demo backlog. Continue reading

Tagged , , , , , , , ,

Was Bundling The Best Way To Distribute Demos?

Free Demos

In the past few weeks a couple of high-profile demos have appeared for DOOM and the remake of System Shock. This is understandably getting some people nostalgic about game demos and contemplating their almost total disappearance from the big publisher scene.

I believe I’ve gone over the business reasons why demos are a lot less common these days. If I haven’t, just watch this video basically explaining that there are few situations where a demo is actually a net positive for sales. I still don’t 100 percent agree with that but it makes a good excuse for publishers.

Kotaku’s Patrick Klepek recently put up an article decrying how rare demos have become these days and in response someone tweeted a June 16th article about what’s happening to demos. The one from a couple weeks ago brings up a point I’d like to talk about: demo discs, or the old way of distributing demos, which when you think about it may have been more effective at advertising some games. Continue reading

Tagged , , , , ,

Indie Game Radar: CrossCode, Indie Demos, And RPGMaker


With the back-to-back massive time-sucks of The Witcher 3 and Metal Gear Solid V finally behind me, I found the time to do a few things I’d been putting off… with one stone in fact. Not only have I been looking at quite a few demos that showed up on Steam over the last few months, but I’ve also been wondering about all these indie RPGs that seem to inundate my discovery que almost every day. Continue reading

Tagged , , , , , , , , ,

Dying Light Indicates The State Of Demos Today


So a demo just came out for Dying Light and I think that’s kind of a big deal given the current landscape of demos. It’s also the one game I had recently wished had a demo. The way Techland and Warner Bros. handled this, and the way other companies do demos, is indicating a change in how and why companies release them.

Last year I noted how demos had become very rare for big-budget console games in this new PS4 and Xbox One era. Today not much has changed. It wouldn’t be absurd to say in that capacity pre-release demos are dying. When you look at the landscape of who does and doesn’t do demos anymore it’s probably more accurate to say not all developers need them anymore, or need them for the same reasons. Continue reading

Tagged , , , , , , ,

Is It Me Or Are Demos Rarer Recently?


So my Halloween “activity” was pretty much just playing the Evil Within demo that Capcom released on Steam in a surprisingly timely manner. More than anything else this brought to my attention how few demos we’ve had for AAA games on the new consoles or PC in the last year or so. Continue reading

Tagged , , , , ,

The Business Of Demos


Over the course of the last console generation, the discussion has popped up a few times of whether developers should keep making demos for their games pre-release. While the demo is common sense for the consumer, some developers have started asserting that they’re bad for business. What I haven’t seen yet though is a sort of moral reasoning behind all this.

Most recently, a guy at a recent Gamelab conference in Barcelona, Spain said pre-release demos can actually cut a game’s sales in half. A while ago the people at Extra Credits did an episode basically saying demos very rarely convinced people to buy a game on their own. I also remember people at Crytek saying at least once free demos should go extinct because of the resources they siphon from development of the game proper.

Basically, these guys are saying a lot of people will play a pre-release demo and come to the conclusion that they’ve either already had their fill of the game, or it just didn’t interest them enough to buy the full game. They suggest these people would have been more likely to buy the full game had a demo not put a stale taste in their mouths. From the consumer’s standpoint though, isn’t that what should happen?

The purpose of a demo is to let consumers try out a game to see if they actually like it enough to buy it. Why assume that absolutely everyone will like the demo and thus buy the game? Do movie producers assume everyone who sees a trailer will like it enough to see the whole movie? The guy who made Gunpoint said something along these lines in his blog.

“You’ll lose sales this way!” Tom Francis said some people told him. “From people who don’t really like it? I think I want to lose those sales.” He definitively lays out his point: “I wasn’t going to quit my job for a career in tricking people into giving me money and regretting it.”

The Extra Credits video points out however the occasional case of a great game with a bad demo that hampers sales. In my personal experience that doesn’t happen often. I hear people describing Spec Ops: The Line as very different from the bland demo I played, and I can tell you the demo for Hitman Blood Money isn’t representative of the full game. Most demos I’ve played however probably are a good enough snapshot of the full game, however good or bad it might be.

To be honest, I don’t have a very good picture of what most people do when a game interests them but it has no demo (or way to play it without buying). Maybe I’m an exception, but these days I almost never buy a game at full price without having played it first, whether that be a demo or rental. The only exceptions are games from franchises or developers I trust completely (Nintendo, Valve, etc.), and interesting games that are on sale at really low prices.

I’ve held to this rule for pretty much every retail game I’ve bought on PS3 or Xbox 360 (and a few PC games). Maybe I can say that because I have a GameFly account and can rent most new games that come out. GameFly’s commercials even run the slogan “Never buy a bad game again.” Without that, I’d have either bought far fewer games this generation or waited and bought them at far lower prices.

At this, someone might ask me of all the demos and rentals I’ve played, how many of those games did I buy. I’d say definitely not all of them, but quite a few, and I would say there are a handful of demos that caught me by total surprise. The games I ended up not buying, I wouldn’t have bought them anyway.

Other methods of trying before buying are already emerging though.

I’ve seen a few developers actually release a demo of a game a while after launch, which I guess makes sense business-wise. You get all the people who were interested enough to buy a game right off the bat without anyone being deterred by a demo, and then release the demo later to catch anyone who still isn’t interested. Better late than never I say.

Trying first is also basically the whole point of free-to-play. F2P game makers already know most people who download their game won’t pay anything into it, but they hope enough people do. Maybe people should approach demos like this.

I guess you could also count free trials as another method — specifically PlayStation Plus free trials and how OnLive lets you play an hour of each game (or something) for free before buying. I imagine that simple cut-off timer is less expensive for the developer than making a separate demo.

The people decrying demos seem to have started thinking that demos do little more than deter people from buying games. Whether they do a demo, trial, or whatever, the purpose should be to attract. I don’t see why people think of demos as anything other than interactive advertising.


Tagged , ,