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View Full Version : Free vs purchased demos


Shadow
05-25-2010, 02:49 PM
There has been some talk recently about charging gamers for demos. So far I've seen Crytek (http://www.develop-online.net/news/34545/Crytek-foresees-the-end-of-free-game-demos) and EA (http://www.bit-tech.net/news/gaming/2010/03/23/ea-to-create-paid-for-demos/1) mentioning the idea. I personally think the idea is pretty ridiculous.

Demos are pretty much a marketing tool. Like most marketing, it's a way to find people that find our game worth more than the money we are charging. Ultimately, when it works we have found a nice win-win situation.

However charging for the demo just seems very wrong. First of all, it means you are now demanding payment for your marketing. What's next, making the customer pay for your ads? Also what happens when they don't like your demo (which is going to happen fairly often)? The company got some amount of money, but the customer paid for something they didn't enjoy. A lose-win situation.

Personally I really dislike lose-win situations in business. I'm not in competition with our customers. We are in a mutually beneficial relationship, a loss for them is a loss for me. As a small aside, this is why we have a money back guarantee on all of our games.

All of this seems kind of obvious to me, so it's strange that this concept keeps popping up.

dnuggs40
05-25-2010, 02:56 PM
They don't sit right with me, either. I will say that the example given in the article (BF1943) that if the demos have that much content then they are basically worth $15. However, I think overall the main thing is we are basically (as the consumer) paying for marketing materials (in a sense) and paying for a company to offload some of it's liability on to us.

getter77
05-25-2010, 03:22 PM
Blood from a stone is all the rage these days in high-end corporate culture. Coming soon, a fusion of this with Episodic-MicroDLC based gaming----wave of the future dude!

Then again, time will tell exactly what the fate/mindset of the big boys in the gaming industry is once the "outsider" top-suits golden parachute on out of there to greener pastures/some island.

SharpCarlos
05-25-2010, 03:46 PM
I'm gonna sort of play devil's advocate on this. Now, I agree that if it's REALLY a demo (a way to DEMOnstrate the game to people who haven't made up their minds yet), then charging for it makes zero sense. Just like has been said, it's the same as charging somebody to watch an advertisement.

But what if it's more of a preview than a demo? Like, "Hey, this game's not going to be out for six months, but you know you want it, so, would you pay $5 for the first few levels?" For instance, would I pay $5 to play the first 3 hours of Diablo III right now? Yeah, I would.

And using getter77's comment about "Episodic-MicroDLC based gaming", if the "demo" is actually a mini-prequel, with content that won't be in the real release, even better (Isn't Dead Rising considering something like that?).

So, yeah, charging me to TRY something I'm not sure about... that's just crazy. But charging for a taste of something I'm already committed to? I have to admit, I'd buy into that.

dnuggs40
05-25-2010, 03:50 PM
Well like mentioned before, they used Battlefield 1943 as an example...though don't know if you have an XBox 360 and if you tried it out.

Shadow
05-25-2010, 03:56 PM
It really depends on how they do it. They could just be charging for a demo which sucks. They could be selling the first few levels, but you would essentially be double charged when you bought the full game. Or it could be a completely optional and separate prequel DLC type of thing which would be kind of cool.

Jorlen
05-25-2010, 04:25 PM
I don't care how you choose to slice it; charging for a demo is lame, and most people will not pay for a demo. If I see games charge for a demo, I will consider NOT buying the final product on principle alone, because this madness must be discouraged from all fronts, IMO.

Is it me or are we seeing some nasty trends in the past years by big publishers?

Amberjoy
05-25-2010, 04:35 PM
No to charging for demo's!!!! :mad:

A demo is to find out if it's interesting enough to invest in your time and hard earned money. I already hate the company's who have demo's you can only play for exactly 1 hour. I have yet to find anything interesting enough to buy when they do that. Having to pay for the demo would be adding insult to injury.

jakobrogert
05-25-2010, 04:51 PM
Crap I wrote a load and the forum killed my post.
Anyway - yeah, simply charging for a preview sounds very stupid and very sad.

BUT! If we, as the poster above says, start to dig in the business model, it's not too foreign to see games as a subscription service - rather than the selling of a product: I would definitely pay to keep getting expansions, updates, improvements and added content, to Din's Curse, monthly. Just like I pay monthly for a magazine subscription, or Spotify (music subscription). And I even think that making miniversions of your game and selling them for (a lot) less is an interesting idea.
In some cases, like with Din's Curse and Battlefield-man-shooters it could work (as opposed to story-based, prescripted, static games like bioshock).

I don't think developers would mind if their games could start generating interest, feedback and income as they enter a playable enough stage, even if there's still content to be done.

TheRani
05-25-2010, 06:36 PM
I don't mind free demos that I can only play for so many levels or for only an hour. I've bought games after playing such demos. But I will never pay for a demo.

Kruztee
05-25-2010, 09:53 PM
Yeah, I don't see anything wrong with them trying something like this. At the end of the day, nobody can make you pay for a demo. I can see that it will limit the extent to which these demos are distributed, and demos are generally just marketing tools anyway. It will be market driven, and so if people don't take to it, the idea will be very short lived.

Don't want to pay? Then don't. I certainly would never pay for a demo (or at least for what my current perception of a demo is).

TheRani
05-25-2010, 11:29 PM
Trying to make people buy a demo would be akin to making people pay to watch commercials.

Kruztee
05-26-2010, 12:46 AM
Trying to make people buy a demo would be akin to making people pay to watch commercials.

People already do this. :D (At least in Australia)

Jude
05-26-2010, 06:02 AM
Personally I really dislike lose-win situations in business. I'm not in competition with our customers. We are in a mutually beneficial relationship, a loss for them is a loss for me. As a small aside, this is why we have a money back guarantee on all of our games.

All of this seems kind of obvious to me, so it's strange that this concept keeps popping up.

That's how I feel about doing business, too. It's a mutually beneficial bargain. Both sides should be satisfied that they made a fair exchange.

It seems that what most people consider "business" nowadays feels an awful lot like theft and trickery (and sometimes downright extortion) to me.

Jude

ecliptic
06-01-2010, 06:07 PM
Trying to make people buy a demo would be akin to making people pay to watch commercials.

Isn't that basically Cable?

Also, I think the money back guarantee is really more kind than necessary, since you give full featured demos of the games to the user. Hopefully people don't abuse that on you.

Shadow
06-02-2010, 03:57 PM
Also, I think the money back guarantee is really more kind than necessary, since you give full featured demos of the games to the user. Hopefully people don't abuse that on you.

I don't know about necessary, but I would much rather have people happy about our money back guarantee than annoyed at the game they didn't like.

I'm sure some individuals have abused the policy, but overall it hasn't been a problem.

isobar
06-07-2010, 09:33 AM
I think it depends on why you're paying for the demo. I would pay a few bucks at my local game store for a demo cd, but I wouldn't pay for a plain demo I am downloading off the internet. The only exception to this rule is Darkfall, a P2PMMORPG allows you to pay $.99 for a week long unrestricted demo account. I think they do this because in nature of this game, someone could viably live off of a demo character since it's skill based more than toon based.