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Games Entertainment

Do Game Demos Have an Adverse Effect On Sales? 178

An anonymous reader writes "Unigamesity has an analysis of the effects game demos and beta tests have on the full release of video games. Quoting: 'If we think about LittleBigPlanet, Age of Conan or Mirror's Edge, we notice they have two things in common: very successful and well received demo versions (or beta stages) and very poor, lower than anticipated game sales. And since these are not the only titles in which a demo (or the lack of it) appears to be connected with their commercial success, I believe we should analyze the influence demos have in the game world and debate: are game demos game killers?'"
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Do Game Demos Have an Adverse Effect On Sales?

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  • Re:LittleBigPlanet (Score:2, Informative)

    by MBraynard ( 653724 ) on Saturday January 17, 2009 @01:18AM (#26493863) Journal
    Well, despite a rough 2008, spending VG stuff grew by leaps and bounds - 20%.

    See here. []

  • by cgenman ( 325138 ) on Saturday January 17, 2009 @01:53AM (#26494103) Homepage

    Mod parent up.

    Making a demo is a complete PITA. You have to take premature code that isn't ready, splice everything in such a way that it kind of hangs together, finish your most polished level in a way that will probably need to be re-done anyway, and throw it all out there in a package that hopefully doesn't crash. Then re-do all of that emergency hack-job work for real. A demo can easily steal one to four development weeks from a team. And sadly, I have never used, seen, or built a demo with the skill or interest that a movie trailer can generate.

    A big part of that is that you simply have to teach the player how to play. And as you build up your game, you should be training the player in all of the various types of things they will need as they develop new powers and abilities. Essentially, if you're going to provide a 15 minute taste of the full game, you have to provide the first 15 minutes of the difficulty curve, and maybe throw in a spectacular boss fight earlier than when it would normally occur. If you were to provide a highlight reel of the game, you would be rapid-fire throwing disparate gameplay systems at the player in ways that your loading time and finish level can't support (remember, the demo is usually made before the game is finished). If your game was that ready, you'd ship it. And, as these are taken from the general development team and budget, any time spent polishing your demo is less time spent polishing your game.

    Compared to software and game demos, movie trailers are easy.

  • That makes no sense (Score:2, Informative)

    by deveraux ( 1400161 ) on Saturday January 17, 2009 @07:23AM (#26495691)
    No offense, but that theory is nonsense and I doubt that the author did proper research on the topic. Age of Conan failed because at the time it was filled with a two or at max four weeks of content and that was it. The gameplay totally changed after the first 20 levels, from a deep single player action-adventure - which was alot of fun in the vein of Oblivion and The Witcher - to a dull and empty game with no content. ALSO: Promised features that didn't make it into the release version. I fell in love with this game and bought it BECAUSE of the demo and I still feel betrayed by Funcom. Basically what the author is suggesting is, that a small taste of something good makes us don't wanna eat more of it. Makes no sense and is not human nature.
  • Re:LittleBigPlanet (Score:3, Informative)

    by Sj0 ( 472011 ) on Monday January 19, 2009 @02:49PM (#26518531) Journal

    I think you're an astroturfer.

    "It's not expensive! It's value-riffic!"

    I'm aware that the price has gone down in some markets, but it's still 700 dollars for a PS3 where I live. That's a lot of money. I could buy a used car and insure it for that amount of money.

Never buy from a rich salesman. -- Goldenstern