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The Almighty Buck Games

Crytek Thinks Free Game Demos Will Soon Be Extinct 379

Posted by Soulskill
from the not-like-we-could-run-a-crysis-2-demo-anyway dept.
An anonymous reader writes with this quote from Develop: "The CEO of indie studio Crytek has defended EA's divisive 'premium downloadable content' strategy, while also predicting the extinction of free game demos. ... Crytek's co-founder Cevat Yerli said he wasn't sure that a demo of Crysis 2 was going to be released. He said: 'A free demo is a luxury we have in the game industry that we don't have in other industries such as film. Because we've had this free luxury for so long, now there are plans to change this people are complaining about it. The reality is that we might not see any free game demos in the long term. ... Yes it is quite unpopular, but this is a messaging issue. The problem with any new strategy like this is it initially may appear as a blood-hungry, money-grabbing strategy. But I think there is a genuine interest here to give gamers something more than a small demo released for free. Really, what this is, is an attempt to salvage a problem. The industry is still losing a lot of money to piracy as the market becomes more online-based. So it’s encouraging to see strategies outlined to combat this.'"
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Crytek Thinks Free Game Demos Will Soon Be Extinct

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  • really? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by leachlife4 (638543) on Friday April 16, 2010 @05:49PM (#31877700) Journal
    "A free demo is a luxury we have in the game industry that we don't have in other industries such as film" what are trailers? they provide about the same relative amount of the product before paying for it
    • Re:really? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 16, 2010 @05:54PM (#31877752)

      Exactly. With a trailer you get to watch a bit of the movie, with a demo you get to play a bit of the game. By comparison, game trailers are sort of like a movie trailer where you only get to hear the audio. Demoes aren't a luxury, they're a courtesy.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        I agree. I see trailers for movies just like demos. If free demos started becoming paid for demos it would just cause me to buy less games... which would be a good thing for my finances. I discover new games that I like on PSN because of the demos. Not everyone has the time to read every preview and be up on the latest games coming out. I depend on PSN demos to see what games I like. Without that I know for a fact I would buy less games. At this point I would question the quality of a game that requi
      • Re:really? (Score:5, Funny)

        by PopeRatzo (965947) * on Friday April 16, 2010 @06:35PM (#31878274) Homepage Journal

        As long as RAZ0R1911 has anything to say about it, we'll still have game demos.

      • Re:really? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Xeno man (1614779) on Friday April 16, 2010 @07:09PM (#31878620)
        No, they are not a courtesy, they are advertising. A free demo is no more than a luxury or a freebie than a movie trailer is for a movie. You get a sample and hopefully it will help you to decide if you want to buy something new.

        Do you need a demo for every game? Of course not but that's a choice of what advertising to invest in. No different than deciding if you want a billboard with your game on it by the side of the highway or on the side of a bus or an ad on TV. The type of advertising also differs on the name your selling. If you have something completely new, I'll need more convincing to buy it than a name I'm familiar with like the God of War series. Frankly they could have had a 10 second commercial with a guy saying, "God of War III is ready, come buy it." and that would have been good enough for me.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by mrmeval (662166)

      I just paid 20 bux for World of Goo. They gave away the experimental version and have a demo version. It runs on about anything as it's Linux/Mac friendly. There is a native version for Linux, Mac and Windows. The Windows version even runs under wine fairly well.

      • Re:really? (Score:5, Interesting)

        by apoc.famine (621563) <apoc.famine@g[ ]l.com ['mai' in gap]> on Friday April 16, 2010 @09:29PM (#31879598) Homepage Journal
        I'm glad to hear that. Those folks deserve all the cash that they can get rolling into them.

        2D Boy [2dboy.com]is a shining example of how to produce a solid game, and then distribute it like reasonable human beings. The demo was extensive, not time limited, and fully 1/4 of the game. The purchase price was reasonable, and was available for all platforms, with no DRM.

        I've rarely been as impressed as I was when I found the World of Goo. I bought 4 copies for myself, my family, and friends.
    • Re:really? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Monkeedude1212 (1560403) on Friday April 16, 2010 @06:02PM (#31877860) Journal

      No - there is a difference in it that I think most people would agree on. With a trailer, you are trying to build hype for the movie. Get its name out there and make it desirable to watch.

      A demo, on the other hand, tend to works the opposite way for gamers. I grab a demo which means I'm already interested in seeing what the game is like. I use the demo to determine whether or not I want to purchase it.

      I can't remember the last time I went out of my way to look up a movie trailer to see if I wanted to see the movie. It HAS happened, but not nearly on the same scale.

      • Re:really? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by alan_dershowitz (586542) on Friday April 16, 2010 @06:33PM (#31878246)

        A few years ago, I don't remember what movie it was, but about five minutes from the movie was released onto the Internet as a promotion. I thought about how innovative this was, and wished other movies would do this too. This functions as a "demo" of a movie more than a preview does. I think it's comparable and good.

        Crytek is acting like interactivity isn't a major factor in games. I can't truly evaluate a game without playing it for a little while. In particular this is a big deal because, unlike other things, I can't seem to return a game because it sucked.

        • by mdf356 (774923)

          The opening scene of Super Troopers was available on the internet. Is that what you were thinking of?

          Interestingly, I saw the first scene with my cousin and I didn't find it very funny. Several years later I saw the whole movie and I loved it. So this strategy can backfire, too.

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by Whyte Panther (868438)

          The releasing the first X minutes of a movie has become a more and more common tactic in movie promotions recently. I know it's happened for more than a few movies, but the only one I remember specifically was Borat.

          Otherwise, I totally agree with you. It's hard to put down $50-60 for a game basically sight unseen. Especially when so many developers do release demos, and XBox Live requires them, etc. Not only does a demo tell you if you would like the game, a demo will also give you an idea how well a g

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by Anonymous Coward

          Serenity? It was 10 minutes IIRC.

          It was also a bit dishonest, because those first 10 minutes were the most engaging parts of the film. So it, too, was released to build hype. But I loved Serenity regardless.

      • I can't remember the last time I went out of my way to look up a movie trailer to see if I wanted to see the movie. It HAS happened, but not nearly on the same scale.

        I do this all the time. The trailer often picks some of the most interesting sequences of the movie. If it isn't good enough, the movie is binned to rental or exclusion.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by i.r.id10t (595143)

          What sucks is when the 30 seconds or 2 minutes (or whatever the length of the long ones in theaters) of the movie shown is either from an awesome deleted scene or is made up of the only 30 second (to 2 minutes or whatever) of the movie worth watching.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        I think this depends how informed the gamer is. Every month or so I troll thru the demo section on the PS3 and download a few that look interesting. More often than not the demo shows me the game sucks and I should save my money. But sometimes I find a gem. As a moderate gamer, I don't follow all the releases. Sure I know about the big ticket ones, but not the other 30 games that come out every month.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        I agree with you here. In fact I see this as an admission that game companies rely on some people buying their games without knowing that they will not enjoy the game experience. If a game demo allows you to determine that, then in theory the perfect game that everyone would want to play would be stupid not to have a game demo, and a horrible game that no one would enjoy would be smarter to avoid it so that at least a few people buy it before they realize it is terrible. So what this really says to me is "D
      • Re:really? (Score:4, Interesting)

        by Grog6 (85859) on Friday April 16, 2010 @07:41PM (#31878886)

        If there's no demo, to me that means the game is so bad that no one would buy it if they played it first.

        I also use the demos to decide what I want to play.

          FarCry was great. I have 2 copies that I paid top dollar for based on playing it first; I got a 64bit demo. :)

        FarCry2 was good enough to make me keep playing it as different people.

        Ubisoft really made me happy the games I have of theirs don't include and of the BS that has kept people from playing a single player game. I can't believe anyone would buy a game like that.

        Thank you /. for saving me the money I would have spent preordering Crysis 2; two copies were in the group of things I was going to buy when I got home tonight. Our work network doesn't like online buying, lol.

        This article saved me almost $100, that's pretty good for slashdot. :)

        When someone "shines a light on it" by saying " it initially may appear as a blood-hungry, money-grabbing strategy", that's exactly what they're doing.

        Unfortunately, PC gamers aren't as stupid as "they" need us to be. I'll wait until a demo is out, or someone else I know that is stupid enough to buy it blind does, and I play theirs.

        I still play Q2:Ground Zero (1 give all per death!) on my lan when we get bored with Crysis Wars or UT3; if they release something I think is a shit product, I won't buy it. Plays great on my HD4780. :)

        I still have tons of games to play without their latest 'incremental update'.

        I'll wait a year and see if it's worth buying at $20.

      • Re:really? (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Opportunist (166417) on Friday April 16, 2010 @08:04PM (#31879066)

        Well, given Steam it's pretty easy to get demos almost "pushed" onto you, with their ads and everything. And it has actually happened more than just once that I downloaded the demo for a game that fits into my prefered genre to give it a look, then buy it.

        Of course it can work in the other direction, too. If there hadn't been a demo for Supreme Commander 2, I might have bought it. But with the demo I could already easily determine that the game is as shallow as a puddle (and the reviews support that first impression), so I didn't buy.

        In a nutshell, though, if you (dear studio bosses) are afraid of launching demos of your game, the message that reaches me is that I would not want to buy your game after playing the demo. Either it's just completely unoriginal (SC2, e.g.) or not going to keep me interested for longer than whatever play time the demo offers.

        No demo, no sale. Easy as that. At the very least I will wait until Metacritic and similar pages fill with user reviews. The comparison with movies holds no ounce of water. First of all, I do get movie trailers that at least tell me what I could expect from the movie. And second, I don't spend 60+ bucks on a movie.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by jackal40 (1119853)
        For me it's an easy decision - no demo, no purchase. Since the game reviewers are all in the pocket of the game companies (personal opinion - but I've yet to see someone give a game I thought had serious flaws a bad review) a demo is the next reasonable method of determining if I like a game enough to purchase.

        A great example was R.U.S.E. - interesting game concept, decent single player AI, and ok multiplayer. But overall, it wasn't worth the money for me. Did the developer loose a sale because they relea
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        True but you can only see a movie. The trailer serves both purposes. Games aren't seen, they're played so a game trailer doesn't mean much. More so when game trailers often don't even use the same perspective as you use when you play and they're enhanced so they don't represent the game at all. They serve one purpose which is just to promotion the game's name.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        No - there is a difference in it that I think most people would agree on. With a trailer, you are trying to build hype for the movie. Get its name out there and make it desirable to watch.

        ...I grab a demo which means I'm already interested in seeing what the game is like. I use the demo to determine whether or not I want to purchase it.

        The difference is that it's harder to juice up a demo than a movie trailer. You can just throw all the good bits into the trailer (funny lines, robots fighting, whatever) and make a good trailer out of all but the crappiest of movies, but not so for game demos. The game demo highlights the mechanics of the game, which you don't usually change between the demo and the final version. I mean, if I play the Call of Duty 7 demo, that's basically how the game is going to play out. There might be one or two me

    • by w0mprat (1317953)
      In many cases all of the good bits are in the trailer. In fact trailers are considered a medium in themselves, there are a number of competitions around the world for short film makers to make a movie trailer for a hypothetical movie.

      I can't think how many times I've i've been excited by a game or film trailer only to be disappointed enough with the end result to not buy it. Which leaves me wondering do we even need the commercial release? Crytek should just release cool looking game trailers.

      Scratch
    • If they dont release a demo, then id just buy the game (if i think i wanted it, no promises i do), and if it doesnt run well, id return it within 7 days at my local games store, for a full refund)

      thats if i wanted it... Farcry 2 is a brilliant example... the first game was very fun... the second was so repetitive, i hated it...
    • by Gerzel (240421)

      Indeed it is a "luxury" that largely doesn't help big labels like EA because they can go off of brand-name and star-power to sell their games, actually showing off game-play before someone buys the game means that the consumer might be forewarned on crap-ware titles. Smaller game companies with less reputation and ability to hire big names of course will still need demos.

      Of course that doesn't say anything about there being smaller companies. EA and their ilk can make sure of that as a separate matter.

  • This will insure.. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MatrixManiac (448609) on Friday April 16, 2010 @05:51PM (#31877714)

    So now you won't find out our game is crap till you buy it! :p

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Pinhedd (1661735)
      and i will not buy it until I am sure it is not crap, not full of bugs and runs on my hardware. Game developers and publishers have been getting progressively worse at all of those over the past decade. Hence, piracy will continue to rise.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by the_fat_kid (1094399)

      So now you won't find out our game is crap till you download it from bit torrent

      There, fixed that for you.

      Hoist the jolly roger and start the rum songs, it's pirating time.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by sa1lnr (669048)

      No no, now I will find out your game is crap after somebody else has bought it.

      • by Opportunist (166417) on Friday April 16, 2010 @08:21PM (#31879182)

        Basically exactly that.

        What changes for me? Well, first of all I will not hear about that game, probably. I'm a demo junkie. I download them all. If Steam offers a demo, I have it. If the game's good, I buy it. I can't actually remember when I bought the last game without a trial (that wasn't already in the bargain bin and a friend tipped me off).

        If I'm not 100% impressed by the demo (it happens), I wait for some user comments to show up on Metacritic. Of course it does happen that a demo shows me a game that I almost MUST have, then I'll even preorder. But I never preordered a game without a trial. And I certainly never will. No, not even a sequel to a game that I loved. Perimeter, Supreme Commander and countless others have shown me that sequels are by no means an insurance against crap.

        So what will happen when they refuse me the demo? First of all, I will not preorder anything anymore. Second, I will not buy at release. I will turn to Metacritic and wait for a sensible amount of reviews. No matter how good the game sounds, countless times it's been shown that even a studio whose other products were stellar produce a lemon now and then. By then the game will probably also have dropped a bit in price.

        So, I'd guess no demos means less money from me. Dunno how many will see that the same way, but I'd guess a lot of people here do pretty much the same.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 16, 2010 @05:54PM (#31877748)

    I love it!

    As an indie game developer, I love the fact that I can be agile while the other guys are big & dumb. I can take risks on my titles. Kill off your free game demos. It just gives me one more tool to be profitable.

    While you are at it, why don't you do any of these creative things. You can have this list for free

    a. Require micropayments to save single player games
    b. Require micropayments to save high scores
    c. Never release free content for your games
    d. Never give your community modding tools
    e. Lock down your artwork and other IP, so 3rd parties cannot make fan sites.

    It will make my job that much easier if you do.

    • by blai (1380673) on Friday April 16, 2010 @05:58PM (#31877796)
      f. require payments to exit the game -- that's where the big buck is!
    • by Nasarius (593729)
      Totally agree. I'm sure the big developers/publishers will continue to profit, but they'll also drive away a certain hardcore audience that has entirely different wants. Indie games are flourishing, and very likely will continue to do so. No DRM + a focus on gameplay over graphics = win.

      I'd keep an eye on EA/BioWare, though. They're managing to be somewhat evil (neutering resale by offering "free" one-time DLC) while maintaining light DRM, a strong mod community, and damn good games.
    • by Elshar (232380)

      I wish I had mod points. I also wish you'd posted this as non-AC.

      Mod parent +insightful! Go indie games! :)

  • Free Demo's will probably be phased out over time. As big studios go on, they'll make the Beta open to select purchasers of other titles of theirs. See example; Halo:Reach Beta open to ODST buyers. Or Blizzard's Beta entries being determined by how much you play their other successful games.

    Its reached a point where consumers can help developers out in beta testing - and that studios can selectively choose who to test it so they know their target audience better. A good symbiotic relationship, if you ask me

  • I suppose if they want to go all digital and insist on paid demos, I can find another hobby. Granted, the games I currently own are enough to tide me over until the Thursday after Armageddon, but pulling the "luxury" card (at the same time he pulls the "piracy" card) has me at about -100 sympathy for the idiots. "Ooh look! Our game has user-destructible ferns! No content, but ferns!"

    I'm sure there are a metric ton of people who will line up for this stupidity, but I won't be one of them. I mean, demos
    • Re:A luxury? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by arbiter1 (1204146) on Friday April 16, 2010 @06:04PM (#31877890)
      yup no demo to see if the game is good = more people like to pirate the game. I pirate games i admit it, but if i find the game is worth it i will go buy it. If they eliminate demo's as is, PC games are pretty much non-returnable like console game is. so if you shell 50-60$ for a pc game you are stuck with it.
  • by Kenja (541830) on Friday April 16, 2010 @05:58PM (#31877806)
    There are two games. One I know nothing about other then the developer telling me its worth 60$ and one I can actually try a bit of before shelling out the cash. Guess which one I'm going to be buying?
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      Okay - lets pop another hypothetical.

      There are two games. One you know nothing about other then its being developed by the same studio that produced 2 other titles you loved. The other one, you played the demo, and weren't impressed.

      Which one are you going to buy?

      This is the kind of trend the market is following.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by _Sprocket_ (42527)

      There are two games. One I know nothing about other then the developer telling me its worth 60$ and one I can actually try a bit of before shelling out the cash. Guess which one I'm going to be buying?

      There's the third game - the cracked copy that comes from your favorite illicit data channel. You get a full demo of the entire game before shelling out $60. Of course, you usually trade off time to get that copy. And the copy you then consider for purchase is going to have all kinds of DRM on it.

      I can see how "piracy" is really limiting the ability for game publishing houses to put out free demos.

    • by Nadaka (224565)

      There are two games, both of them are worthless shit that you wouldn't play if you got paid to do so, and they both cost $60 + $15/month + $5 for each DLC, no less than 4 of which are required to make the game stop crashing in the first hour. They both have DRM that rootkits your computer, makes your cd drive stop working and wipes your hard drive if it ever detects a debugger or compiler on your system. One has a free demo, the other does not. Guess which one I'm going to be buying? That is the future of t

  • Surprisingly, the Nintendo Wii began offering demos of Wiiware titles, and to a limited extent short time demos of Virtual console titles (such as through Super Smash Bros Brawl). The only companies that have something to worry about are the ones releasing horrible games where the demo causes people to test and not purchase the full version.

    The movie industry offers demos in the form of Previews. Although comparing the two are like apple and oranges.

  • Nice! (Score:3, Funny)

    by celibate for life (1639541) on Friday April 16, 2010 @06:00PM (#31877828)
    But I think there is a genuine interest here to give gamers something more than a small demo released for free.

    Nice! They'll start giving the entire games for free now!
  • by Tepshen (851674) on Friday April 16, 2010 @06:01PM (#31877830)
    With film its previews and trailers, with music its promotional tracks and samples, with books its the synopsis or just reading the first page or so before you buy it, with TV its promos and commercials, hell with newspapers its headlines. The point being that EVERY major entertainment medium for at least a hundred years uses this model of giving a little bit away for free to create interest and to promote themselves. The problem with EA and now Crytek is they are looking at peoples interest in game demos not as curiosity as to if they will purchase but rather a lead in to a definite purchase and hope to sell the same product twice much the same way that companies are toying with selling downloadable content already in game and then "unlocking" it. I think they will find very quickly that it just doesn't work that way. the sad thing is that they still scream bloody murder about piracy because they are losing sales and never consider for a moment that they're aggressive and offensive sales model and draconian protection schemes may be a factor.
  • so ? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by artg (24127) on Friday April 16, 2010 @06:01PM (#31877836)
    It's a game. Who cares ? If the gaming industry gets as precious as the music industry, they'll go the same way. A product that will make money is one that's accessible, available and attractive. When an industry thinks IP is more important than keeping and attracting customers, it's dead in the water.
  • by brunes69 (86786) <slashdot@keirstea d . o rg> on Friday April 16, 2010 @06:01PM (#31877838) Homepage

    If a game is a downloaded and bought online, how come I can't say, pay $5 for the first level, and if I like it, pay another $5 for the next level, etc?

    • What you're looking for is episodic games. They already exist [wikipedia.org].
  • Money down (Score:3, Insightful)

    by lyinhart (1352173) on Friday April 16, 2010 @06:01PM (#31877846)
    This wouldn't be so bad if your $10 or $15 was a credit towards the full version of the game. Plunk down $10 for 20% of the final product, pay the $50 or whatever amount is left from the MSRP if you want the whole thing. This works for the gamer in that they're getting a sizable portion of the game before it's released. And it works for the company in that people who wouldn't have bought the game otherwise will have coughed up $10 for an extended demo. This system would be a decent midway point between full retail releases and games released in episodes.
    • by Zironic (1112127)

      Isn't that what a lot of online games do? You pay 10-15 to get closed beta access and that counts as credit for the full game.

  • You can't kill the free demo.

    If you try, it turns out people will just obtain their demo any other way where they're not dishing out a single penny. Yes, I'm talking piracy. And they won't bother pirating the $5 demo, they'll pirate the full game, and use that to demo the game.

    And console-only won't save you. All it takes is one person to say "Game XXX sucks". Friends of that guy then say "I heard game XXX sucks". And it then spreads quickly - after all, who's going to pay $5 for a demo of a game that sucks, nevermind buy the full game.

    And all games suck - there is always someone unhappy with it.

  • Oh shut up (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Friday April 16, 2010 @06:03PM (#31877874)

    I really don't like Crytek, they are bitchy to the extreme. They are also the ones who whined that piracy was "killing" Crysis sales. They didn't seem to account for the fact that you needed, as Yhatzee put it, "A hypothetical future computer from space," to play it well. They didn't seem to consider that maybe sales reflect how many people can play the game well, if it doesn't work someone won't buy it. Oh, and it wasn't a very good game either.

    Never mind that it sold a million copies.

    So they can cram it. I think free demos will indeed continue in part because you can't know if a game will work and the publishers fight to keep retailers from taking returns. With movies, you've got a very high chance it works. All you have to do is make sure you buy the right kind of movie, not hard these days. If so, it'll work unless it is damaged, in which case just swap it for a new one.

    Not so with computer games, the media can be fine but there can be an incompatibility. In that case there is no reason someone should be stuck with a game that doesn't run.

    Also games are a much more substantial purchase. $40 is the minimum you tend to see a new title for and $50-60 is more common. As such it is reasonable to want to try out the product a bit more before committing to a purchase. The larger a purchase, the more most people want to examine it.

    But they can do whatever they like. I frankly don't care, they've shown themselves incapable of making games I give a shit about. They look very pretty, but only because they require insane amounts of hardware. In the two I've played (Far Cry and Crysis) the game starts off as a interesting semi-sneaky shooter with some very meh vehicles and then quickly turns in to a crappy monster game. As such I figure they'll keep doing that. If there's no demo, I'll simply give them a miss.

  • by Uncle Tractor (1736514) on Friday April 16, 2010 @06:04PM (#31877886)
    As others have already noted, movies *do* have free demos; they're known as "trailers." However, I never buy games unless I've played the demo first, and only if the demo runs well on my HW and it leaves me wanting more. No demo for me, no buy game from you. Sturgeon's Law applies to game just like anything else, and I'm not going to *pay* to find out whether a specific game is for me or not. The gaming bigwigs want to charge for demos? Fine. I'm sure the smaller developers will stay with the free demos, and I'll play their games instead. That's where the original stuff is anyway (yes, Sturgeon's Law still applies).
  • Wait what? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by koan (80826) on Friday April 16, 2010 @06:04PM (#31877898)

    "He said: 'A free demo is a luxury we have in the game industry that we don't have in other industries such as film. " isn't a demo of a movie called a trailer?

    • Not really. I mean, the Episode I trailer was entertaining....

      • by koan (80826)

        The truth of it is, it's not a fair comparison, movies (films) aren't interactive, games are, but for what his comparison is worth a demo of a film is the trailer...what else could you have?

  • by HBI (604924) <kparadine AT gmail DOT com> on Friday April 16, 2010 @06:06PM (#31877918) Homepage Journal

    The process toward another 1983 is astounding, and i'll be ready with the popcorn.

    • ...i'll be ready with the popcorn.

      ...and playing Pacman on your Atari 2600? (Oh gawd, the pain!)

      Actually, severely thinning the herd to make room for innovation is not such a bad thing. So go ahead Darwin candidates, charge for your demos.

  • Game "pirates" weren't going to buy your software anyway. You didn't lose millions of sales due to piracy.

    Crytek CEO: Get over yourself.

    • by cosm (1072588)
      I'll sacrifice using the mod points for this, but your post is flawed. May I add:

      Some game "pirates" weren't going to buy your software anyway.

      If game companies started producing things other than shitty console ports with draconian DRM schemes, perhaps the pirates would not have chosen to pirate in the first place. As long as these publishing houses continue to try to churn out cookie cutter crap aimed at piggybacking on the latest E! tonight 'psuedo-fad' IP, and actually start producing, quality, original, relatively 'open' games, the sooner their numbers will ris

  • Is someone forgetting that the video game industry is out grossing the movie theater industry? You are not loosing money, you are earning an English ass load of cash instead of a metric ass load of cash. You don't loose anything, you just gain slightly less.

  • Piracy? Really? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by VoiceInTheDesert (1613565) on Friday April 16, 2010 @06:12PM (#31877972)
    That's why you think you're losing money, EA? Not the fact that you make shitty games or the fact that you screw over your customers, you think it's pirates that are taking your business away? Reality check: The reason you want to stop offering Free Demos is because too many people are realizing the game is shit and aren't buying it as a result. Nothing to do with "luxury" or "giving the customer more." You don't "give" people more by charging them where there was no charge before. I would have way more respect if EA came out and said it was about money for themselves rather than trying to paint it like they're looking out for the players. The players are last on their mind.
  • Demos were just fine when you could pick up a magazine cover CD with 20 game demos on it. Now who downloads 2gb just to play 10 minutes of a game? Also Magazines have gone away from cover cds, being a hangover from the omg-CD-ROMs-are-teh-future bubble in the 90's, once they realized it's a quite a labor investment for a very mythical return. I'd go so far as to say it's actually hard to get big-title game demos out to gamers now.

    Public BETAs are much more relevant way to both promote your game and make as
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Spatial (1235392)

      Now who downloads 2gb just to play 10 minutes of a game?

      Not to play, but to evaluate. Does it run on my hardware? Is it really fun?

      Let's face it, game reviewers are little more than an outsourced marketing department. I've got to look for myself to see what's what, or I'm not buying.

  • by DdJ (10790) on Friday April 16, 2010 @06:13PM (#31877988) Homepage Journal

    Look at the XBox 360's indie game market. That's the hobbyist/indy storefront for games people write with the XNA tools.

    Every single game there gets a free demo, in that you can download every one of them for free. Even if the developer didn't code in any "demo" logic, if you don't pay, you get to run the game in a mode where it can't save any state and it auto-terminates after a short while.

    A demo like that is cheap to implement. It's also something that, while the developers may not want to provide it, the people you buy your games from directly need for it to be there. Especially with digital delivery.

    With digital delivery, there's no return policy, no trade-ins, no used game sales. This means if you shell out for an awful game, you're stuck with it. If I'm a digital delivery storefront, I'm going to want to entice people to buy games through me. The first time they buy an awful game and can't do anything about it, that's going to dramatically lower the odds that they'll buy any games in the future. The developer of that one game may not care -- they may be delighted, they got their cash -- but the storefront owner is going to care a lot, because they have an ongoing relationship with the customer.

    And so you'll see things like the mandatory free demo we get with XBLA and "indie games" (perhaps coupled with the low-cost demo implementation you get for the "indie games").

    (Honestly, I expect this mandatory demo policy to even make it to the iPhone app store at some point.)

    • by Jaysyn (203771)

      Especially with digital delivery. With digital delivery, there's no .... used game sales.

      Except for Stardock & GoG.

  • by Gadget_Guy (627405) * on Friday April 16, 2010 @06:15PM (#31878012)

    I don't remember the last time that I played a demo, but then I tend to wait until the games are on special at around $5. If I really want something then I will pay $10 (like I did this weekend for Dirt 2 at Direct2Drive's current sale). Sure I am behind everyone else, but then often the worst of the DRM has been removed, major bugs fixed and there's enough reviews written by people who aren't getting paid to be positive about a game.

    I feel if I can no longer resell games second hand due to activation or being tied to services like Steam then will only pay single digit amounts. It works for me because I got bored of multiplayer years ago.

  • I think regardless of how useful or useless a game demo is, taking something away that's always been expected will always cause the general gaming community masses to complain and revolt about it. End users will see it as Big Corporation raping their middle-class-rut pocket books, piracy will spike for their games as the end user's way of "sticking it to the man".

    I think if the Crytek gaming companies of the world do take all the money spend on marketing, packaging, R&D, escalated development cycle, ec

  • strange....but not unexpected from Crytek, among a growing number of dev studios who are becoming disconnected with their customers (PC gamers) which in turn drives down their own sales.
    Look at Ubisoft or even "CRYSIS" (which has been categorized by many as being a "tech demo" rather than a game)

    I do have to admit, the original Far Cry was awesome even with the gameplay and plot but pretty much every game coming from Crytek since then have been alienating gamers (not to mention their controversial comments

  • Haha (Score:2, Funny)

    by nataflux (1733716)
    So what they're saying is that most mainstream developers can only make short games, therefore providing a demo would be giving too much value away. Because we totally need insane graphics.
  • I download demos all of the time to evaluate games I am not familiar with. I downloaded the Virtual On demo for the X360 and then bought the game a week later. I download Super Puzzle Fighter HD for the PS3 based off of playing the demo. I hadn't even heard of Heavy Rain before I played the demo...and after playing the free demo from the PSN, I pre-ordered SIX fucking copies to give to my friends and coworkers when the game came out. Without demos I guarantee that I would own less than half as many games as

  • I think that the secret grumblings going on is that these developers are wishing for a time when the Sega Master System and the Nintendo Entertainment System roamed the earth.

    You didn't really get demos of games for these, free for downloading at the time they were popular.

    ( - This ignores, of course, the Nintendo Play Choice 10 machines, and any Sega equivalent of the time, in which I'm sure plenty of us of the respective age range would beg mom for quarters to feed whilst she did whatever she was out and

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by DigiShaman (671371)

      Back in the 8-bit and 16-bit days, you got all your gaming info in several ways prior to purchase. Magazines, rental, and game swap with friends. Demos did not exists due to the cartridge format. Any retro-gamer will tell you just how many BAD games littered the shelves in that period. Things like Shaq Fu, and Jaws comes to mind. At the very least, if a game had the official Sega or Nintendo seal of approval, it hovered from moderate to awesome! Now that consoles have on-line connectivity to download demos

  • by Attila Dimedici (1036002) on Friday April 16, 2010 @06:23PM (#31878110)
    I find it funny when gaming execs (or music, or movie) go on about how much money they are "losing" to piracy. I know a 100% sure fire way they could defeat the pirates. Make really cool games, advertise them massively, then just keep them in house and never release them. Think how much more money they would make if they never let the games out into the public so that the pirates couldn't copy them. Maybe if they worked really hard at their security, they could let people pay them to come into their facilities and play the games, but they would have to be careful, if they let just anybody in, someone might make a copy and sneak it out. /s
    These guys need to stop worrying about how many copies of their games are pirated and concentrate on getting more people to pay for their games. While it may be true that if they do absolutely nothing about people who pirate their games, more and more people will pirate the games rather than buy them, they are much more obsessed with stopping pirates than they are with getting paying customers.
  • by Pirate_Pettit (1531797) on Friday April 16, 2010 @06:25PM (#31878126)
    In addition to providing a (hopefully representative) test of content that we as gamers pay quite a premium for, free demos are extremely useful for benchmarking how a new title will run on a custom-built machine. I cannot stress this enough - I don't buy a title unless I have some idea of how it will run on my rig, and an in-game demo is far more useful than a theoretical advert on the side of the box/website. Eliminate this source of info, and you have some gamers who won't take the risk that a new title will perform adequately on an older custom built, and some other, more vocal gamers who -will- take the risk and then be extremely annoyed and dissatisfied - especially if a title isn't well optimized compared to similar titles with similar theoretical requirements (See: Mass effect 1 vs Mass effect 2) The suggestion that free demos aren't of benefit is insulting.
  • Piracy (Score:2, Interesting)

    by TheTick21 (143167)

    Are they TRYING to make excuses for failed games?

    When people stop buying a $50-70 game because they don't know how good it is are they going to blame piracy again? Wtf.

    I can see some part of his point. Most people who download the demo are already interested, so it's kind of redundant. I know of several games where I was uninterested until my friends told me to try the demo out.

    I know people who sit around downloading demos to find which game they're going to buy next.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Moridin42 (219670)

      Piracy and free demos are... pretty well unrelated. But I can see why Crytek and EA would want free demos to go away. Because then gamers can find out that a game sucks before buying it.

      Is that what I hear you saying, EA? Crytek?

      EA: Fuck! We're out of good ideas!
      Crytek: Us too!
      EA: Kill the free demos before anybody finds out!
      Crytek: Right away! Releasing demo-minators! Fuck! Thats a great idea for a game! We can tag it "They won't be back!"

      Not to mention that games moving online is a penalty to piracy. Who

  • While I don't think this will ever work for all games, for some games I can definitely see them going without a demo (or even better, charging for it) and it going over well. Any new games will obviously still need trailers. If you have never heard of the game before (and especially if you don't know the studio), most people aren't going to shell out $60 without a demo. But for established franchises, no one really cares about the demo, they just play it to hold them over until the full game is out. Doe

  • Rubbish. (Score:3, Funny)

    by lattyware (934246) <gareth@lattyware.co.uk> on Friday April 16, 2010 @06:32PM (#31878240) Homepage Journal
    I wouldn't take the full version of Crysis for free. These guys can shut the hell up until they can make a good game.
  • Piracy is here to stay.

  • We've had one serious rash [slashdot.org] of video game soothsayers predicting the end of exactly the business practices that make some facebook games so incredibly profitable. Sounds like these dumb asses see the industry changing, but lack any real comprehension.

    If anything, the profitable future is giving away the game for free, but charging players for leveling, while encouraging payment through social factors.

  • I would pay some money for a demo -IF- (and this is a BIG if) whatever I paid towards the demo was then applied toward buying the full game. I mean, a demo is basically a shorter version of the full game right? They didn't make new content SPECIFICALLY for the demo did they? So why should I pay for it twice? Say game price is $50, demo price is $10, I pay $40 when the full game comes out.
  • Games are not overpriced.

    With movies, now, you shell out $12 a person, and of course you aren't by yourself but with a friend, S.O., etc, so it's really $24. But then you want popcorn and drinks, so actually it's $40. And if that's not enough, it's not interactive at all, and 2.5 hours later the experience is permanently over. Yet nobody bats an eye.

    Tell them to spend 50% more on something that lasts orders of magnitude longer, is permanent, and can even be resold to recoup some of the loss and people st

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Carnildo (712617)

      Games are not overpriced.

      With movies, now, you shell out $12 a person, and of course you aren't by yourself but with a friend, S.O., etc, so it's really $24. But then you want popcorn and drinks, so actually it's $40. And if that's not enough, it's not interactive at all, and 2.5 hours later the experience is permanently over. Yet nobody bats an eye.

      Tell them to spend 50% more on something that lasts orders of magnitude longer, is permanent, and can even be resold to recoup some of the loss and people start

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