We need more game demos!

1 : Anonymous2021/04/19 10:28 ID: mtxpaz

After the brouhaha with 'Days Gone' director John Garvin yesterday about a sequel (where he says in obviously frustrated terms that if you like a game you should pay full price and support it) I think it's time to bring back demos.

As a gamer from the 80's and 90's, I loved getting demos for new games. It gives you a chance to try the gameplay, see how it plays, feels and sounds and make a judgement about if you'd like to buy it or not. This is still done, but not nearly as often as I'd like (take a look at the demo section of the PS Store. There is pitifully little). Recently I played the demos for Resident Evil VIII and Immortals: Fenyx Rising and decided they are both good fits for me. Problem solved!

I realize it's harder to craft a demo for an open world game. You can't just engage with all it's systems and story arcs in the middle of the game, and the beginning often is packed with cutscenes and not much gameplay. But it can be done (see aforementioned games) with a little effort. Of course the developer runs the risk of turning off potential buyers if they DON'T like the game, but they can always craft the best possible demo to entice players.

I have no problem taking my chances on a game if I think it's worth it. Just give us a sampling of the gameplay to help us make that judgement. $/€ 60-80 isn't chump change.

Edit: In the case of Days Gone, even a demo AFTER its release would have been helpful since it got mediocre reviews. I think many people would have found it better than it got credit for.

2 : Anonymous2021/04/19 10:41 ID: gv2f881

Remember when xbox required that games had to have a demo?

ID: gv2un8s

I played the Fusion Frenzy demo on my copy of Halo almost as much as I played Halo.

ID: gv2vtk6

Fusion Frenzy was so good. That and Kung fu Chaos were such good split screen games.

ID: gv35mkc

Which 8s why they stopped demanding demos. Some people would play the demo for eternity and never buy the game...

ID: gv2h55w

Yeah, that was incredible. I wish they still required them tbh. I know that I ended up buying more games because of the demos

ID: gv2pvay

They should do that again. But then shit hyped up games wouldn't sell.

Name a game where a demo (or trial, no big difference) doesn't work? There isn't one. It's pretty bs. No excuse

ID: gv2s85i

I think there’s actually metrics out there that on the average demos don’t help sell games. I’d have to dig for it but I seem to remember it being a big topic in the middle of the 360 generation, that demos on the average actually hurt sales

3 : Anonymous2021/04/19 11:12 ID: gv2hkwr

I read somewhere that Demos actually drop sales numbers most of the time so not suprising that they have become somewhat rare

ID: gv2rpn7

Imagine if Cyberpunk2077 had demos. Their sales on console would be super goddamn low.

ID: gv37n3h

They would have just curated a polished demo showing off one mission without giving away the mess of an open world. Then they still would have made those initial sales, which is all they seemed to care about anyways.

ID: gv2s29f

Not only that, building a demo is taking a slice of a game and repackaging it. Due do games today being very complex, it involves a lot of development cost, not to mention the choice of where to slice the game.

This user mentions trials, and maybe that'd be easier to implement. Combine with PSNow that already has streaming, perhaps.

ID: gv2vgji

Or you could go the Sega route with their Yakuza 6 demo, and accidentally give away the full game!

Or the Crash Bash demo in Spyro 3, and have the full game accessible with a debug cheat code!

ID: gv2wpfn

Yep, I remember as a kid I used to just play the Skate 3 demo all the time I stead of ever buying it

ID: gv37ha4

That sounds like the exception to this rule, I think what the study is referring to is people that play the demo and realise the game sucks, not enjoy the demo so much that they only need to play that

ID: gv2pjjd

Depends on the game. A demo for balan wonderworld or whatever the fuck it's called? Yeah, that's obviously not going to help sales numbers. But on the other hand, fifa is selling gajillions every year, even though plenty of people are fine just playing the demo over and over again. Clearly it's not a one size fits all

ID: gv2y1nl

If I had to guess lot of players get that been-there-done-that feel after playing a demo and may loose interest in actually spending money? It's an interesting metric.

Also makes me wonder what a regular distribution curve of completions looks like after buying. I noticed late-game trophies often have very low completion percentages.

ID: gv2x8c5

Interesting comment about demos dropping sales numbers.

I would add that free games on Playstation Plus allows a player to appreciate and invest in the base game before choosing to purchase a sequel. It's a method for Sony to hype up new releases (i.e. Horizon Forbidden West) . Of course this builds up the expectation that a lot of games will be free at some point. For instance, I've been waiting for Horizon Zero Dawn to be free and it will be today!

I certainly wouldn't have purchased Days Gone (zombies are scary) or Control (paranormal zombies are scarier) because they aren't the type of games that I typically gravitate towards. I found myself enjoying the open world of Days Gone and I thought that Control had the most interesting story in a game in a long time. Both of these games allowed me to invest in the story and characters that I think demos would fail at. How can you really appreciate the vastness of an open world game from a demo?

ID: gv3cyoi

This is bringing up a good point in that the barrier for entry isn’t always price, it’s tastes, something that has been absent from a lot of these discussions.

He’s making this big fuss over his game not getting a sequel while overlooking the fact that zombies are kinda played out at this time, hell there’s a bit of a malaise towards open world games as well. Combine the two along with a what’s basically only a decent initial entry that’s borrowing so much from other open world titles that it fails to really stand out and a lot of people simply don’t have interest in a sequel.

Nobody is required to buy something they don’t enjoy simply to support a creato

. You have to appeal to an audience at some point.

4 : Anonymous2021/04/19 11:52 ID: gv2kv9c

How can you love a game without buying it? Such a silly comment from them. If you love it then you already own it. What exactly are they saying here? If you bought the game in a sale, and loved it, then please pay full price for it? The industry is a victim of its own practices. Games launch at a very high full price, but very quickly drop in price. Most people decide their biting point for buying the game and it’s rarely the launch price. Launching games at lower prices at the start must result in the same overall profit in the end, if not more, as more people are likely to pick up the game and also early on in the games life. As with anything on Netflix or any TV Show, if the first few weeks numbers don’t meet expected targets then the sequels will be cancelled or put on the side burner. Sure, we’d all love to buy games at launch, but we also have our reasons for not doing so (and that £70 RRP for a PS5 games is the kick in the teeth to many gamers that has really pushed even more to just wait for the price drop than ever before). I want studios to do well, but I also want to get what I consider to be maximum value from my hard earned money.

ID: gv30b1m

It seems he's trying to dig at gamers who wait for games to be on sale or free rather than buying it at launch.

What game, now-a-days, has a successful launch? He's trying to pretend like he's becoming some poor, destitute victim-of-the-industry while perpetuating launching unfinished games and patching them along the way. No sympathy from me. As I said in a previous comment, they should release completed games if they want us to pay the full price.

ID: gv3rcgx

And the ‘free’ part does not mean the developer makes no money. The gamer might not pay the full price for the game, but Sony pay the developer for the games on their services or given away as part of the Play at Home.

ID: gv2y1qy

It's not a war he probably wants to start but I do wonder if part of this was criticism of the hype -> bad reviews destroy the hype -> actually ok fun game phenomenon that happened specifically with Days Gone. Like if the reviews hadn't been so bad, it probably would have sold a lot better and gotten the sequel greenlight day one.

I remember personally just waiting and waiting for it, because a zombie apocalypse GTA style game was always something I wanted to play. Then the reviews filtered in and everyone was so tepid about it that I canceled my pre-order and waited for player reviews. Then like 6 months later I bought it and enjoyed it enough.

Of course, to the point of this entire thread, a trial or demo would not have gotten me to actually order the game, because the first few hours were kind of rough in terms of gameplay.

5 : Anonymous2021/04/19 10:37 ID: gv2exq6

PlayStation+ used to have 1 - 2 hr game trials, we need that. Demo's are a waste of development time.

ID: gv2u130

What about a better refund policy?

ID: gv2vzbw

That'd be great too, the 2 hours of playtime steam policy has been great for me, it would be enough to justify some "risky" purchases.

Anything that lets people try the game for an hour or two before committing would be great.

ID: gv2gydm

This! This is what we need!

6 : Anonymous2021/04/19 13:10 ID: gv2snv9

Gamepass does help alleviate this problem. Can try so many games.

ID: gv2w299

Never would've bought Control if I hadn't tried on gamepass first

Same with the yakuza games

7 : Anonymous2021/04/19 10:42 ID: gv2f9yq

On the flip side its a risky strategy for devs. Dirt 5 was on my radar for a while to pick up. A trial came available and I tried it. Realised I was bored and decided not to get it. So the devs missed out on my sale by sticking a trial up.

ID: gv2flrv

I read that this is why demoes were dropped. They made studies the effects and realized it led to lead sales and was a poor investment. Sucks for us though

ID: gv2lstq

This is what I believe most publishers fear, and why we don't get many demos.

Conversely, if you're not confident enough in your product to demo it, I'm probably going to wait for independent reviews because it's not a good sign.

This year it's been 2-2; the demo stopped me preordering Balan Wonderworld and Outriders, but it had me preorder Guilty Gear Strive (open beta not quite a demo but I'll include it) and Resident Evil Village.

The Outriders one hurt, I really wanted to support the game having a business model that is not exploitative... I just didn't like it.

ID: gv2pvus

It's not confidence in a product.

Even a great game with a demo is likely going to lose sales.

Demos are tough to make. Either you toss them into the beginning of the game where gameplay is usually at its worst, and hope they realize it's just the start. Or you toss them somewhere in the middle, take time to properly curate the demo to showcase the gameplay, and you'll still likely lose some sales of people who liked the concept of the game but not the execution.

It's not in a developers best interest to make a demo. To your point of Outriders, I shared the same opinion from the demo. But like others, I got the game on Gamepass and it's actually much better than the demo let on. Is it the greatest game ever? No, but I really disliked the demo while the actual game is pretty decent.

8 : Anonymous2021/04/19 10:43 ID: gv2fci1

Completely agree. Especially as UK prices are looking to be £70 as a standard...which is nearly $100. I want to be sure a game is for me before I buy. Sure, I'll pay 70...but I want a bug-free and finnished game...and a demo before I buy. Why not release a level of a game, or a timed playthrough a week prior to release...could even give us the option to pay for the full version and pre-load the full game ready for launch day.

ID: gv2p3rw

Key-words being 'bug free' and 'finished'.

So many games come out in a shit state, of course people are going to avoid them until the price drops and they are actually finished/fixed after a year of updates.

It's almost like pushing out unfinished releases is poor practice.

Really irritated me reading the Days Gone dude telling players to buy games full price, considering DG was a buggy fucking mess at launch and I returned it for that exact reason.

ID: gv2r95t

It has become normalised, Fallout 76/Cyberpunk/Days Gone/Soulstorm. Personally I feel the "Inflation" argument is BS, I see no justification other than greed. Certainly for games like FIFA that release yearly and make far more in DLC...and they sell far more volume than ever before. It's going to take the entire community to take a stand. Unfortunately there are alot of people that have bought into the bullshit and think £70 is justified. They have tried this before and backtracked, so there is hope. The only middleground is if games release finnished, and I never wanna buy a skin ever again...or a season pass. Death Stranding sold okay, nothing amazing, never released any DLC, sold for £50 and still secured enough profit for the next project. The studios can't have it both ways...and that Days Gone guy is a salty moron.

ID: gv2j1ku

If you have a disc console then sign up to a rental service. I don't want to sound like an advert but I'm someone who always trades in games after completing them and with how expensive games have become signing up to a rental service meant for £10-15 a month I was saving so much money.

Literally just this last week I got to play and complete Hitman 3 and Immortals Fenyx Rising for £15 instead of buying them for about £80 together. Demon's Souls and Miles Morales are now games I can get as a bonus on top of my subscription so just from those two that's like another £70-80 saved. I joined up just after Christmas and I've already saved nearly £200 on games I definitely would have bought and then resold to CEX for a shit amount of cash.

This is the closest we have to something like Game Pass and even then the value for money is so much better when there's a choice of pretty much much physical released game to choose from.

ID: gv2jwq1

What service do you use

9 : Anonymous2021/04/19 10:53 ID: gv2g4s4

What would also solve the problem would be a refund policy with under 2 hours played. Steam does this, and so does Stadia. In fact, that's a cheeky way to "demo" a game - try on Stadia and if you like, refund and buy on PS5 (or keep on Stadia if you use it). But it would be awesome if Sony would bring this to the PS Store.

10 : Anonymous2021/04/19 12:17 ID: gv2n6y9

Official Xbox magazine used to include a demo disc every month. This was first gen Xbox. I bought a few games just because of the demos. Times have changed.

11 : Anonymous2021/04/19 12:39 ID: gv2pbgf

this sums up perfectly why game demos are not done anymore

Bad game, bad demo. People who might have bought it will try the demo and say no thanks. Result: Lost sales.

Bad game, mediocre demo. People who might have bought it will try the demo, shrug and wait for reviews. Result: Lost or no gain in sales.

Bad game, awesome demo. Have you ever actually seen one of these? It’s exceptionally rare. Result: Gain in sales, followed by an almost-immediate backlash against the publisher and developer for the game being bad.

Mediocre game, bad demo. People who might have bought it will try the demo and pass. Result: Lost sales.

Mediocre game, mediocre demo. People who might have bought it will try the demo but will probably not be convinced to buy the game. Result: Lost or no gain in sales.

Mediocre game, awesome demo. This will, once again, convince people to buy the game. Result: Gain in sales, followed by a backlash against the publisher and developer for the game being bad.

Great game, bad demo. The bad demo will drive players away who would otherwise have bought it. Result: Loss in sales.

Great game, mediocre demo. The mediocre demo likely won’t convince anybody who was on the fence to buy the game. Result: No gain in sales.

Great game, great demo. Also a rarity, but this will actually result in a net gain in sales without a backlash.

12 : Anonymous2021/04/19 12:42 ID: gv2pp6a

Maybe they shouldn’t have conditioned us by putting games on sale every two months.

13 : Anonymous2021/04/19 12:19 ID: gv2ndqs

I was saying this for a few years now because buying a game on release based on website/writer opinions doesnt work for me like days gone is a great example because it got terrible reviews for the most part and i ended up buying it down the road when someone i knew had it and i got to try it. Most of the reviews of the game as far as i remember were based on the fact it had borrowed or had similarities to other games which is a ridiculous reason to give bad reviews since every game has similiarities one way or another

14 : Anonymous2021/04/19 13:01 ID: gv2rnu3

Man I miss the PS3 days where you'd get a disc full of like 30 demos with each PlayStation Magazine.

I would probably buy so many more games if there was more demos tbh.. These days you need to delve deep into reviews etc after a game is released befoore making a decision

15 : Anonymous2021/04/19 13:03 ID: gv2ry5x

Correct me if I'm wrong but I remember reading somewhere that demos make it easier for people leak plots and cutscenes because they can access the hidden files or some shit. If that's true, I can see why studios don't want to release demos. Especially the ones which make games that are heavily story-focused

16 : Anonymous2021/04/19 15:25 ID: gv3a68t

Diablo 3 had the best demo in my opinion. They let you play the entire first act. You were totally hooked after that if you were new to diablo like I was when I first played it. Also Tony Hawk Pro Skater let you play the first level off the demo disk you got from pizza hut. Demos are the way to go.

17 : Anonymous2021/04/19 12:25 ID: gv2nyuj

I would love game demos but thanks to Comcast I have a data cap and have to be mindful of the stuff I download. I'm not likely to download 30 gig demo just to play for an hour or two

18 : Anonymous2021/04/19 12:59 ID: gv2rhg1

I just want game rentals back. There was a decent amount of time I would go to Redbox when a game came out, rent it for a night, and if I liked it I would return it and buy the game. If not than I’d just return it. I would have missed out on God of War 2018 if I didn’t do this, as it was a fourth installment in a series I’ve never played. Only through renting did I realize it was a reboot-sequel. So while demos are cool and I agree we need more of them, I personally miss renting a whole lot more.

19 : Anonymous2021/04/19 14:59 ID: gv36h23

And they need demos that have a good representation of gameplay. I hate when you play a demo that's just the first 2 hours of the game. I don't want to play the story for only 2 hours. I want to show up in the middle of the game with a bunch of spells and abilities and play around.

20 : Anonymous2021/04/19 10:53 ID: gv2g2qk

Asking people to pay full price is actually ridiculous, if your game is good it will sell many copies. You should not have to worry and Shane you fans into buying your product just so you can make a sequel. Demos are awesome if done right look at RE8 lots of hype around it and multiple demos. I like days gone but you can’t blame Sony for not wanting to produce another flop of a title.

21 : Anonymous2021/04/19 11:22 ID: gv2ic35

I couldnt agree more, demos or trials, whatever. Just to get a feeling and not buying something you will regret and cannot return. That is why i mostly buy physical games...


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