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Releasing a demo "cuts game sales in half" on Xbox 360 - EED

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Schell Games boss shares troublesome info

Demos may be a good way to boost your standing among impatient fans - or at least, forestall their ire - but they don't always equate to strong sales. Quite the contrary, claims games academic and developer Jesse Schell.... read more

Releasing a demo "cuts game sales in half" on Xbox 360 - EED

Postby Windowlicker79 » 11 Feb 2013, 16:37

The worst demo I ever played was for Dead Space (1 or 2, I can't remember which). It was so dull and lacking in anything eventful that it put me right off. As a direct result I've never played any of the series.
The best demo I ever played was for Deus Ex: Invisible War on the original Xbox. It was made up of different parts of the game but cobbled together in a different arrangement to how it appeared in the game, with doors leading to completely different rooms and altered storyline. It got me hooked and didn't give any of the story away. I went out and bought it immediately.
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Re: Releasing a demo "cuts game sales in half" on Xbox 360 -

Postby FishyGinger » 11 Feb 2013, 16:53

Cunning asks about it then there's a story...and Jesse Schell is an anagram of CunningSmile....I see what's going on here.

I don't like the thought that he's saying if your game is rubbish, don't release a demo just do a good trailer and the mugs will buy it. I know he's talking purely sales but I can't help but get that message. If the demo is good and the game is good it will (hopefully) sell.
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Re: Releasing a demo "cuts game sales in half" on Xbox 360 -

Postby schwepterbrowser » 11 Feb 2013, 16:58

I don't think it's a case of people thinking "all right, I've tried that game. That was OK. All right, I'm done." I think the problem is most demos suck; whether they're overwhelming because you're dumped straight into a late game section, rather than being eased into the mechanics, or the story's seemingly disjointed and confusing because you haven't experienced it as a whole, or because it's too short/holds elements back and you can't fully get to grips with. They can be too long as well; several RPG demos have put me off the game because they just drag on and on and on and on.

I really can't remember the last demo I enjoyed and wanted the game as a result. I've been put off many a game by them, on the other hand, from the big (Mass Effect 3) to the small (Binary Domain) and everything in between (Kingdoms of Amalur). I think a much easier and more cost effective way is to just let people play from the start like XBLA trials do, I could name several trials that prompted me to purchase an XBLA game, but as I said no demos that have prompted retail purchases.
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Re: Releasing a demo "cuts game sales in half" on Xbox 360 -

Postby CunningSmile » 11 Feb 2013, 17:02

A few weeks back I started a thread arguing that demos had past their sell by dates and either needed phasing out all together or drastically overhauling.

By this stage in gaming we've got the actual mechanics pretty good, and usually fairly uniform across the AAA titles. The selling edge now comes from plot, character and story all of which convey really badly in 10 minutes randomly pulled from the beginning of a game. It's almost inevitable that we now play a demo and say "meh seen it before," because what can they really show that's new? Spec Ops and Enslaved are two of my favorite games of the last few years and thanks to their demos I didn't buy either until they dropped in price and both are now viewed as flops by their developers. Their strengths were in areas that a demo can't show, and so they came across as a substandard platformer and a generic army shooter.

I think it's a real pity that more developers didn't follow the Dead Rising Case Zero example and release an XBLA game as a demo. Two hours of stand alone game play told me I wasn't going to enjoy the main game as I found it repetative, but I don't resent the 400 points I spend because I got two hours of fairly enjoyable game out of it. If I had decided to buy DR2 I wouldn't have had any of the campaign ruined for me, and would have had XP to carry across and a protagonist I'd already gotten to know.
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Re: Releasing a demo "cuts game sales in half" on Xbox 360 -

Postby Plamsa wing » 11 Feb 2013, 17:07

Why not just make a good demo then? It's a simple solution and it seems most demos I've played are half-arsed at best. Demos also have the porblem of trying to do everything at once, instead of that, why not show off one or two gameplay mechanics?

I try not to bother with trailers these days, like movie trailers they seem to show all the best parts. I made that mistake with the Brown Lantern, I won't make it again. It's either that, or a gameplay trailer.

Unless of course you're worried that the game is going to be completely crap.
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Re: Releasing a demo "cuts game sales in half" on Xbox 360 -

Postby FishyGinger » 11 Feb 2013, 17:08

Binary Domain demo actually did get me to buy the game, I wouldn't have bothered otherwise
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Re: Releasing a demo "cuts game sales in half" on Xbox 360 -

Postby Grummy » 11 Feb 2013, 17:09

I've been saying it all along, rather than just demos, use the engine and some assets cut from the game and put together something you can release on Live as a stand alone mini version of the main game. Do it right, and you will earn some nice extra money from content you had originally cut, and will make people more hyped for your game in the process.

On the other hand, put out a crap demo and people will give it a resounding 'meh'.
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Re: Releasing a demo "cuts game sales in half" on Xbox 360 -

Postby SidTheSloth » 11 Feb 2013, 17:16

Enslaved is a great example actually, i bought it and thoroughly enjoyed it - but hated the demo...? I hated the same level in the game itself as it happens (it was the very first one too as i recall), and it felt at odds with a lot of the rest of the game - surely someone involved with making the thing could've picked up on that?

Binary Domain is another one... The previews on OXM got me interested, but the demo turned me off so much it's untrue. I kept and still now, keep hearing good things about it but having returned to the demo i can still not see anything remotely worth shelling out the £8 it costs new for, but i'm sure all you folks can't be wrong!

Maybe it is more to do with the full price thing? As like has been said, the arcade doesn't struggle in the same way. Would as many people have bought the walking dead if it'd launched all five episodes at once/in one pack based on a single demo?
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Re: Releasing a demo "cuts game sales in half" on Xbox 360 -

Postby Johnbhoy69 » 11 Feb 2013, 20:32

Interesting theory, I played the resident evil 6 demo (Yes. this again) and as much as I thought it sucked...which it did I still bought the game...mainly because I had pre-ordered it and the money had already been taken from my account.
The demo of Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance is one example of a game I will not be buying for the reason this article states...Ive tried it and also I really didnt like it and I wont buy it until its a more suitable price...which I see happening in a mere few months after release
I was waiting to try both the new Devil May Cry and Revengeance before I decided which one to get and Its safe to say Ill be buying Devil May Cry based on its demo as Revengeance pales in comparison.
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Re: Releasing a demo "cuts game sales in half" on Xbox 360 -

Postby fracturedrich » 11 Feb 2013, 20:53

I bought dmc after playing the demo and i was not going to bother,the demo left me wanting more and thats a first,and xcom but i was going to buy that anyway.
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Re: Releasing a demo "cuts game sales in half" on Xbox 360 -

Postby GossipHound » 11 Feb 2013, 21:40

I like the idea of having unlocks or other transferable content from demo's to the complete game, even cross company/publisher games - Kingdoms of Amalur springs to mind. At first I only played Kingdoms to get the armour for Mass Effect 3 but liked the demo enough to consider getting it at some point. Avatar items would be cool as well for completing demo's or taking part in a beta (e.g. Halo Reach). Incentives like that could encourage more sales.
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Re: Releasing a demo "cuts game sales in half" on Xbox 360 -

Postby OXM ETboy » 11 Feb 2013, 21:48

One of our classier Avatar pic and name combos there, GossipHound. Good work!
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Re: Releasing a demo "cuts game sales in half" on Xbox 360 -

Postby GossipHound » 11 Feb 2013, 21:59

OXM ETboy wrote:One of our classier Avatar pic and name combos there, GossipHound. Good work!


Thank you kind sir! You've made my day :D
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Re: Releasing a demo "cuts game sales in half" on Xbox 360 -

Postby Bezza89 » 11 Feb 2013, 22:25

Very vague this guy isn't he? Where did he get the data from, which games? How? What were the reviews like for these games - did they contradict the good review/poor sales therefore the problem is the demo and not because the game wasn't advertised?

I'd have never have bought Arkham Asylum or City if not for the first games demo, and I've not bought some other games based off the gameplay being a bit shit (if it's going to be different in the main game why am I not getting a teaser of this? Why release the demo it if it's changed completely?). I've never gone; ''oh that was adequate, screw you though you're not having my money.'' Well, I may have said that once :wink:

You get my point, this guy is after a headline after some nonesense he's spouted, in an unrelated note his game sells half the amount the expectations were and it has a demo. No?
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Re: Releasing a demo "cuts game sales in half" on Xbox 360 -

Postby battfink83 » 11 Feb 2013, 22:35

"Because when you put the demo out - people have seen the trailer, and they're like 'that's cool!' and they made a plan. 'I've got to try that game.' And then when they played the demo - 'all right, I've tried that game. That was OK. All right, I'm done.
"The thing is with no demo, you've gotta buy it if you want to try it.

here's an idea, try making a good game, then the demo will be good!

all games should have a demo of some sorts, basically saying that you need to take money from people who want to try your game is shocking.

i wish aliens CM had a demo, regretting spending a penny on it, its terrible, its so bad ive given it to my brother......
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