Published on July 26th, 2009 | by Remy Cuesta0
No demo? No thanks
By now consumers have lived in a generation where digital downloads is what has been growing the media over the last couple of years. We are beyond the years where demos are a special sneak peek or only a select few are able to receive them through magazine subscriptions etc. Demos today have been made downloadable through marketplaces like PSN, Xbox Live and PC to deliver the experience on a mass level. It’s also no surprise that this is a huge way to market a game and expand sales upon consumer’s that are either on the fence of a purchase or weren’t in the market for one in the first place. Here are some reasons on why demos are the best thing to happen to games before release.
1. New IPs are like the new kids on the block, they need to prove their worth before thinking they will be the hot ticket to get buyers. A demo for these kinds of games can be essential to pull consumers in and make them see how the good the game may be.
2. If it has something to offer that other games haven’t, its great to have a demo getting a run through on what we’re dealing with. If this will be the key success in the game, it is important to get the point across, and what better way then a demo.
3. Consumers also see a demo release when a game is just … well good. Developers know it wouldn’t hurt and probably only help at that point so a demo sees the light of day and almost becomes a demand to have.
Games like Uncharted, Infamous, Lost Planet; which released a demo at E3 and a multiplayer game after. Left 4 Dead is definitely one of those cases, showing how its 4 player co-op worked; Skate, the new skate board franchise while trying to show the world its new control scheme for a skate boarding game. Mirrors Edge also did what no other game had in the past introducing Parkour into a first person shooter which at the end of the day worked! (despite some technical faults. Who could forget Fight Night round 3 which released a demo at the game developers conference in 2006 and was a game changer for what they offered in earlier console generations. Each of these games showcased that their a new IP or returning franchise and were somewhat of a big deal.
These can help, however all of these outcomes can have a negative spin and show more faults then not in this scenario. So while some developers and publishers see demos as beneficial, others don’t seem to go in the same direction. Some reading this article might be scratching their heads at why developers wouldn’t, but there are a few reasons why:
1. Firstly, why a game doesn’t get a demo. This is because the developers or publishers are not confident in the actual product. There are plenty of games that are not considered a AAA title and therefore such advertisement mechanisms like demo releases can hinder its sales. Although their are very confident developers (who at times shouldn’t be) who’s games will sell and decide not to make a demo … this doesn’t always work out as planned.
2. Developers who have a AAA title that has sold millions of copies and is considered a “system seller” don’t necessarily need a demo; as when a game is known and played by millions the developers know that it will sell regardless of a demo release. We’ve seen no demo’s for games like Gears of War, Halo and Grand Theft Auto 4 because they simply don’t need it for the game to sell.
3. Development time definitely becomes a factor in a game’s release window when you have things like E3 and other events to worry about. In most cases a demo is cut specific for the event and takes them away from the games actual development time. For this reason along with other development issues that may occur, the game could cut itself close to the initial release window set by the publisher. There is no time for an actual demo before release and sometimes there after, if the game needs to be patched from unknown bugs when the game is released.
While games like, Time Shift, received a demo, and tried to unveil a new way to play a FPS by rewinding, fast forwarding and slowing down time. The game wasn’t fluid, it portrayed a different way to play then what was shown on the intro and offered little then the obvious. Too Human and Haze; while both were destined for greatness got less then stellar feedback from the demos and final product. Gears of War, Halo and Grand Theft Auto 4 for the obvious reason. Game sales are through the roof and these games also generate the most amount of buzz on the internet all the way till its release date. However games like Need for Speed Undercover didn’t release a demo, did very poor and didn’t receive high praise in reviews because of the lack of quality.
So while this may not effect the decision of many consumers out there LVLONE welcome demo’s. For those companies that not wanting to put those demos out there for one of the many reasons besides it being a AAA title, LVLONE says No Thanks. fans are still waiting on Mortal Kombat vs DC and Race Pro demo’s …