Game demos are everywhere, and I’m not sure we’re really applauding publishers and developers (big and small) enough for putting them out there.
We’ve been doing the beta and alpha thing for a while now, and that’s sort of a two-sided deal. We, the players, benefit by being able to try out a product before we plunk any money down. Developers and publishers benefit as the whole thing serves as a massive QA and stress test session.
Those are good, and I’m in no way saying they should go away.
But, these pure demos we’re seeing recently? In the last weeks and months, we’ve had demos for Gravity Rush 2, Nioh, NieR: Automata (which is amazing, by the way), Tales of Berseria, She Remembered Caterpillars, Watch Dogs 2 and the list goes on.
These are straight up demos, not online stress tests. They come either right before or even after the product drops, and they offer a free and limited glimpse into the game.
This idea isn’t new. I remember playing demo discs earned through magazine subscriptions. I remember standing in Toys ‘R Us while my mom was in the clothing shop next door in order to play demos on system kiosks as a kid.
Yet, as the world of gaming seems to have become less consumer-focused over the last few years, publishers have been more willing to ask us to pay for products without trying them. Everything has a massive pre-ordering campaign without a trial. They ask us to buy their software’s DLC before the game’s even close to finished through Season Passes. They do all this because they know some of us consumers will bite.
And, hey, they do what they need to do to make money. If we’re buying, they’re selling.
Demos, though, are consumer-focused ideas. They show confidence in a product. It’s like the developers are saying, “it’s good, just try it.”
Sure, they ward off some potentially misguided purchases if consumers don’t like what they play. It’s a risk to release a demo. Which is why I think it should be applauded.
Kudos, devs and pubs. Thanks for the recent wave of demos.