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demo vs no-demo
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Poo Bear
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 05, 2010 1:19 pm    Post subject: demo vs no-demo Reply with quote

<warning_rant_detected>

I think NOT having a free demo is a really overt and nasty example of capitalist exploitation (I'm looking at you Starcraft2) - sorry but this is one thing I've noticed is on the increase and I really don't like it. Nintendo resisted demos for a long time, then quietly did a test with demos of WorldOfGoo and a few other games and then even more quietly removed the demos.

If you give a free demo then people can see for themselves whether they want it or not. If you don't have a demo, but DO have a big enough marketing / hype budget then you can sell more, because people who do not actually want your product will buy it because of the hype inflating their expectations.

I think it demonstrates a contempt for the player. It should never be acceptable or desirable to make money from people who actually do not want what you sell.

To be fair there is one acceptable rebuttal. If you give a player something for nothing (a demo) then they have less commitment to exploring everything it has to offer and are more likely to dismiss it. If a player has invested in something then they are more likely to commit to it and invest the time needed to begin to master it and extract all the goodness from it. The easiest way to get someone to commit to something is to make them pay for it.

There is also a more practical explanation, that I like less, but is reasonable. If you let people play a 60min demo then a large percentage will extract 60mins of fun from the experience and be adequately satisfied at that. Those people would have happily played for many hours, but don't feel any deep compulsion to do so and therefore will be happy with just a demo. The end result is a lot of lost sales to people who would have enjoyed playing - they aren't fanatics by any means, but could have had a good few hours of fun if the hype had been allowed to lure them in.
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Weeble
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 05, 2010 3:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've heard one reasonable argument against unrestricted demos for games with a significant multiplayer component - if you have a demo with unrestricted access to the multiplayer parts it will be a massive vector for gold-spammers and phishers and other nefarious types who will prey on or just annoy your legitimate players, but if you place too many restrictions on demo players to prevent this they will have a frustrating and unrepresentative experience. That's one reason for limited refer-a-friend schemes - it's much harder for bad guys to create huge numbers of throwaway accounts.
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Rup



Joined: 19 May 2003
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 05, 2010 3:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

There is the cost / benefit too: Starcraft is going to sell anyway, and once it's sold enough it might get by on word-of-mouth, or even just word-of-mouth from the beta. It takes development effort to strip a game down to a demoable size and test etc. They can't use the full install for a restricted playtime demo as you do because it's a 7-8 GB download.

I haven't been following this - I don't know if a demo's coming later or not. I'm certainly guilty of buying games on name alone sometimes.
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Poo Bear
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 05, 2010 4:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Weeble wrote:
I've heard one reasonable argument against unrestricted demos for games with a significant multiplayer component - if you have a demo with unrestricted access to the multiplayer parts it will be a massive vector for gold-spammers and phishers and other nefarious types who will prey on or just annoy your legitimate players.


That's an interesting point about those evil gold farmers and griefers. I hate to admit it, but I've done some griefing myself. Not in demos, but in subscribed mmos (ultima online), I remember dressing up as a jester (a fairly rare outfit) and attempting to lure the innocent away from the safety of town with tales of fun and games nearby. Only to turn vicious once we'd crested the hill and then mugging the poor unfortunate. As a subscriber there were repercussions for this behaviour, like being chased by the victims rather large and angry guild for a mile or two, unable to use shops in that town, attacked by guards, etc. I think without those repercussions such behaviour would be disastrous for the game.
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Poo Bear
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 05, 2010 4:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Rup wrote:
There is the cost / benefit too: Starcraft is going to sell anyway, and once it's sold enough it might get by on word-of-mouth, or even just word-of-mouth from the beta. It takes development effort to strip a game down to a demoable size and test etc. They can't use the full install for a restricted playtime demo as you do because it's a 7-8 GB download.


Yes, that put me off with the demo for A.P.B - I was interested in the demo to check it out, but they hadn't been able to reduce the file size so it was an 8Gig download. The download got turned off part way through for some unknown reason and I never got round to starting it up again. With something like that they would probably have to make a special level to properly restrict the content to get a small demo. I say it would be worth it, I'm not going to buy the game without it, but then I may not be a 'normal' player.
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Konedima
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 05, 2010 10:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Poo Bear wrote:
Yes, that put me off with the demo for A.P.B - I was interested in the demo to check it out, but they hadn't been able to reduce the file size so it was an 8Gig download. The download got turned off part way through for some unknown reason and I never got round to starting it up again. With something like that they would probably have to make a special level to properly restrict the content to get a small demo. I say it would be worth it, I'm not going to buy the game without it, but then I may not be a 'normal' player.

Just be glad you had the opportunity (although I'm fairly sure I've complained about this before) - at least you had the opportunity! They haven't, and as far as I'm aware, never intend to, release APB here, because they're too cheap to set up servers.

Sorry, off topic, but it ****** me off. So does not releasing demos, although these days it's extremely common not to release a demo for your BIG titles (I'm not sure when I last saw a demo of a GTA game... but does that stop me buying them? Nope).
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Poo Bear
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 06, 2010 12:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Credit to Microsoft, I love all the demos on X360. I must have filled that 40Gig hard drive up 5 times over downloading all the arcade and xna demos.
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Konedima
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 06, 2010 12:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Poo Bear wrote:
I love all the demos on X360

Likewise. When I got my PS3 I was surprised by how many games didn't have demos, especially PSN (or PS3 in general) exclusive games. Mandatory demos on Xbox might be a bit harder for the developer, but it makes my life a lot easier (and cheaper).

Poo Bear wrote:
xna demos

Also something we can't get. This isn't AS MUCH the fault of the publisher, I can understand indie devs not being able to afford a few thousand dollars to have their game rated by the OFLC. Here's the thing - they don't have to. Only games sold in Australia are subject to their overzealous refusal of classification. Games sold elsewhere - say, the internet, as long as the website isn't actually based in Australia - are fine. Importing and possession of games refused classification is perfectly legal (New Zealanders aren't so lucky on this part, as there are several games over there for which possession is a crime).
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