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EA To Charge For Game Demos 313

Kohato brings word of a new Electronic Arts marketing strategy that aims to start monetizing game demos. According to industry analyst Michael Patcher after an EA investor visit, the publisher will start selling "premium downloadable content" prior to a game's release for $10-$15 that is essentially a longer-than-usual demo. Patcher said, "I think that the plan is to release PDLC at $15 that has 3-4 hours of gameplay, so [it has] a very high perceived value, then [EA will] take the feedback from the community (press and players) to tweak the follow-on full game that will be released at a normal packaged price point." He also made reference to a comment from EA's CEO John Riccitiello that "the line between packaged product sales and digital revenues would soon begin to blur."
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EA To Charge For Game Demos

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  • by YesIAmAScript ( 886271 ) on Monday March 22, 2010 @05:58PM (#31576114)

    Far, far ahead of their time.

    Gran Turismo 4 and Gran Turismo 5 spawned "GT4: Prologue" and "GT5: Prologue" products which were cut-down versions of the eventual games to come out.

    According to some definitions, "Torchlight" by Runic Games is the same thing.

    The days of buying a game and feeling like you have the complete thing are coming to an end. It's nickle and dime time!

  • by psoriac ( 81188 ) on Monday March 22, 2010 @06:08PM (#31576266)

    Looks like EA saw how successful Sony's GT-5 Prologue was and decided that this is a viable business model for eagerly anticipated AAA titles.

    If the demo purchase price could be applied as a credit on the final release I would have no problem with this, but somehow I think the chances of this being the case are pretty close to 0%.

  • by MarcoAtWork ( 28889 ) on Monday March 22, 2010 @06:09PM (#31576284)

    first it was some small cosmetic DLC (anybody remembers the huge hoopla about the 'horse armor' in Oblivion?) and lately it's starting to become a 'pay if you want the full experience' with 0-day DLC, with assets sometimes already present on the game media.

    It's pretty obvious that the games industry is envying the MMO business model where customers pay as long as they play (and wish they had done so a lot earlier) and this 'paid beta access' program seems just like another step in that direction.

    Nowadays not being internet connected on your gaming PC is pretty much unheard of (and with more and more games with net-based DRM impossible), the only people who would regularly play disconnected would probably be laptop users, but I guess they are not big enough of a market to stop this kind of monetization.

  • Re:EA as a comedian (Score:4, Interesting)

    by santax ( 1541065 ) on Monday March 22, 2010 @06:10PM (#31576298)
    Wait until the next Mass Effect or Dragon Age comes along. Release the 'demo' 2 weeks before the full game... Make sure the buyers of the demo can transfer their character to the full game and you just pleased a whole lot of people who really really really want to be the first to play the game. But: I don't get it either and yet I buy every darn car-pack for Forca 3 that comes out.
  • by shutdown -p now ( 807394 ) on Monday March 22, 2010 @06:11PM (#31576318) Journal

    Consider Battlefield: Bad Company 2. A beta was available on Steam more than a month before game release, but you could only access it by pre-purchasing the game. There is a small step from that to splitting the cost between beta content, and full game content.

  • by xQuarkDS9x ( 646166 ) on Monday March 22, 2010 @06:15PM (#31576386)

    I have been a gamer since I was a teenager in the late 80's, and I'm very much used to downloading demo's for free, for the rare times I actually DID download game demo's but instead read tons of reviews and what have you until I got a game. I would not pay money for demo software, because then if it is a crappy game or something I did not like, I would be complaining I wasted a good $15 bucks on a crappy demo, when I could have went and bought lunch somewhere instead! :D

    I see this as another money making ploy by Electronic Art's and for the fanboys to throw away money at demo's.

  • Re:Fantastic (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 22, 2010 @06:18PM (#31576446)

    Let's say there's this fun game, and I buy it when it's eventually released at full price. Did the fact that EA released a paid demo earlier take away from my enjoyment? Why should I not buy EA products just because they offer another product that I'm not interested in?

  • Sounds like a plan (Score:4, Interesting)

    by FlyByPC ( 841016 ) on Monday March 22, 2010 @06:26PM (#31576536) Homepage
    Hey, if it means that I get more interesting games because they're more profitable to make, cool. I'd pay good money for, say, a sneak preview of the next Elder Scrolls V game (or even an official version of Morroblivion complete with quests). Just please don't make it an online game; that would ruin it.
  • by Rivalz ( 1431453 ) on Monday March 22, 2010 @06:36PM (#31576680)
    Um no.... GT-5 was not successful here is why. When I bought my ps3 years ago it was for one purpose. GT-5. I played the demo's of gt-5 and prologue and now they will not have any of my money. Their system works in reverse. Now when they come out with the next gen game this fanboy who would have bought it just on the name alone will not.
  • It'll work (Score:3, Interesting)

    by GF678 ( 1453005 ) on Monday March 22, 2010 @06:47PM (#31576800)

    This is a stupid idea, but not the way you think. It's stupid for us, but not for EA.

    This will work for EA for the same reason why they can sell DLC which is probably developed at the same time as the game, or considered "cut" content released in the DLC. It will work because impulse gamers DON'T CARE, and will willingly pay money for this shit. We are going down the nickel and dime road of gaming because of apathy and ignorance from the vast majority of consumers who don't know any better and can't be bothered to educate themselves.

    Shit, I still see people who think the DRM in Assassin's Creed 2 or CNC 4 is fine because their internet connection is "rock solid". Yeah, great. Unfortunately it doesn't mean you will still be able to play the game, particularly if EA themselves [] can't keep their shit working.

    Honestly it's getting to the point where I'm going to take one of there options:
    (1) Stick with old, quality games until I get burnt out on them
    (2) Stick with open-source games which don't do this DRM shit, and only purchase commercial games from independent developers who won't risk this kind of behavior
    (3) Find a new hobby. Probably the most healthy option anyway.

  • by NeutronCowboy ( 896098 ) on Monday March 22, 2010 @06:51PM (#31576842)

    .... where they're redefining what a demo means. In my world - and everyone's world that I can think of - a demo is a short version of a full game that gives you an idea of controls, atmosphere, design and game type (with notable exception Brutal Legend, that completely failed to indicate its RTS nature). 4 hours of a game - let's say, RE5 - is about 1, maybe 2 levels in a full game. So I get to pay $10 for a game that completely fails to show me the full range of capabilities of a character, a satisfying story arc, and which might not even be finished??

    Fuck you, EA. I'm not going to be suckered into paying for what sounds suspiciously like a beta program.

  • by SuperKendall ( 25149 ) on Monday March 22, 2010 @08:55PM (#31578064)

    I paid $5 for a preorder of Battlefield:Bad Company 2 simply so I could play the PS3 demo. I had no intention of actually buying the game later, so I guess that technique works pretty well. And honestly, I did easily get $5 of value from it...

    I ended up purchasing the game in the end, but the thing is I was willing to pay $5 for a pretty full-featured demo version.

  • Starcraft 2 (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Prien715 ( 251944 ) <> on Tuesday March 23, 2010 @01:27AM (#31579812) Journal

    Right now beta keys for Starcraft 2 are selling for $200 on ebay. Part of me would rather pay Blizzard $15 than a scalper $200 to be in the beta. And what if you got $15 off the released game? I'm not sure it's a terrible deal.

    (Yeah, I'm registered on my battlenet account. If you want to send me a key go ahead;))

"I will make no bargains with terrorist hardware." -- Peter da Silva