Steam's Refund System is No Substitute for a Prey PC Demo

Steam's Refund System is No Substitute for a Prey PC Demo

Arkane shouldn't try to suggest that gamers should just use Steam's refund system in place of a Prey PC demo.

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Indeed.

The average avid PC gamer's hobby is worryingly dependent upon a continuing smooth relationship with Valve Inc., seeing as many of us have our game libraries locked in their vault. It's hardly the responsible thing for a guy trying to flog a product to blithely suggest his customers subject themselves to the policy whims of the near-monopoly in lieu of providing a demo that proves his game runs on their system, in violation of explicitly stated terms. Even if those terms are not currently heavily enforced.

I do feel the guy's words are taken a bit out of context here. The problem they had was that they didn't have enough resources to devote to demo on all systems - whether that's true or not, I do not know, however the reasoning is sound. If they were to skip the PC demo, then it's not as big of a loss, since people there can indeed ask for refund on Steam. I don't think the intention was to advocate always using the refund policy as a demo - Arkane did release have one for Dishonored 2, after all - it'd be quite bizarre for them to say that demos aren't needed.

With that said, I don't really understand what the issue is with using the refunds in the first place. Sure, there is the price you have to pay up front and I agree that it makes it for not-a-demo experience, but I am particularly focusing on the implication that if you use the refund system you're somehow in the wrong. Isn't that...umm, wrong? It is there to specifically be used if you've played a bit of the game and you don't want to continue doing it. I was under the impression that if you find that the game doesn't run well on your system or that you don't like it, you are well in your right to refund it. In fact, why ELSE would you ask for a refund? What would even be the point of a refund policy that you shouldn't use?

While I'm sure Valve would prefer people didn't use the system just to demo games, it clearly is expected that they will. One of the options given for the refund is "it isn't fun" after all.

So wait for reviews to roll in. Gotcha.

So I do like the idea that it's supposed to be a spiritual successor to the (System/Bio)Shock series. I'm still not convinced it'll be good, but I'm open to it.

Dalisclock:
So wait for reviews to roll in. Gotcha.

Why would you do otherwise?

DoPo:

Dalisclock:
So wait for reviews to roll in. Gotcha.

Why would you do otherwise?

That's what I always ask when thousands of people pre-order.

The problem with demos is that they are a time and money sink and worse, only 2 out of the 9 possible scenarios that result from making a demo result in increased game sales and for one of those it's only marginal. They get more bang for buck by just buying a few extra ads spots or pokishing the game a bit more.

THis isn't speculation. This is observed consumer behaviour. This is why demos went from being the norm to a rarity. If demos actually had a net positive effect on sales, companies would make them.

I remember a time when demo discs came free with gaming magazines and they always had 6 or more beta builds of upcoming games at the time. That was as good as it got back then but it fucking worked and it helped sell your product down the line.

I almost miss those advertisement screens that blue-balled you until you could finally get the game for your birthday or Christmas or whatever.

MonsterCrit:
The problem with demos is that they are a time and money sink and worse, only 2 out of the 9 possible scenarios that result from making a demo result in increased game sales and for one of those it's only marginal. They get more bang for buck by just buying a few extra ads spots or pokishing the game a bit more.

THis isn't speculation. This is observed consumer behaviour. This is why demos went from being the norm to a rarity. If demos actually had a net positive effect on sales, companies would make them.

If demos didn't actually have a net positive effect on sales, companies wouldn't've made them so reliably for so long. They stopped because market expansion changed things; enough people would buy the game without trying it that it didn't have to be done. I have no idea where you got the idea that there are only nine possible scenarios resulting from making a demo, but the reason they're rarely made isn't that they're counterproductive, it's that they're unnecessary.

DoPo:
Arkane did release have one (a demo) for Dishonored 2, after all - it'd be quite bizarre for them to say that demos aren't needed.

It should be noted though that Dishonored 2 en Prey were not developed by the same people. There are two dev teams working under the Arkane Studios name. The one in Lyon, France did Dishonored 2, while Prey was done by the team in Austin, Texas.

It may help explain why both teams have differing views on demos. They may have quite different corporate cultures, despite nominally being the same company. It's not an unheard of thing. For example, Ion Storm Dallas and Austin[1], and they were located in the same state, as opposed to continents apart.

[1] I know, not a flattering example, but the only one I can think of right now

Chimpzy:

DoPo:
Arkane did release have one (a demo) for Dishonored 2, after all - it'd be quite bizarre for them to say that demos aren't needed.

It should be noted though that Dishonored 2 en Prey were not developed by the same people. There are two dev teams working under the Arkane Studios name. The one in Lyon, France did Dishonored 2, while Prey was done by the team in Austin, Texas.

It may help explain why both teams have differing views on demos. They may have quite different corporate cultures, despite nominally being the same company. It's not an unheard of thing. For example, Ion Storm Dallas and Austin[1], and they were located in the same state, as opposed to continents apart.

I know it's two different branches, however, it's still the same company. It's still going to be stupid for one guy to say "lol, demos are for losers" when his buddies already made one.

Again, point here is that I believe the words have been taken well out of context - try as I might, I cannot read what Mr. Colantonio said as "Everybody should use the Steam refund system as a demo".

[1] I know, not a flattering example, but the only one I can think of right now

My PC is not top end and Im sick of companies not bithering with demos. On an xbox you know the game will run. Its not a given on PC. Nier automata had a ps4 demo but no PC demo so Im not risking it. Warhammer total war interests me but without a demo Im not risking it. Both games are highly successful and don't need my sale but there must be others who feel similar.

DoPo:
I know it's two different branches, however, it's still the same company. It's still going to be stupid for one guy to say "lol, demos are for losers" when his buddies already made one.

Oh, I agree on it being stupid and I'm not intent on making any kind of excuses for it. Just some conjecture on why two branches of the same company might behave differently.

Chimpzy:

DoPo:
I know it's two different branches, however, it's still the same company. It's still going to be stupid for one guy to say "lol, demos are for losers" when his buddies already made one.

Oh, I agree on it being stupid and I'm not intent on making any kind of excuses for it. Just some conjecture on why two branches of the same company might behave differently.

Well, of course they are allowed to behave differently. In fact, the Dishonored 2 demo came out about six months time after the game was released, so it's not even inconsistent for the games developed by the two branches - they both launched without a demo. I am also fairly sure that the Dishonored 2 team did not have the resources to make a demo for the launch.

CaitSeith:

DoPo:

Dalisclock:
So wait for reviews to roll in. Gotcha.

Why would you do otherwise?

That's what I always ask when thousands of people pre-order.

Pretty much this. I've gotten to the point where I've lost any sympathy for "I think I wasted my money" any time a pre-order was involved. You knowingly forked over cash for a promise instead of waiting to hear if the product was actually worth buying and paid a $60 tax on your bad decision.

Well, as if to illustrate my point about developers making people rely on the whims of store policy, Valve just did this:

https://techraptor.net/content/valve-limits-steam-gifting

The refund system seemingly working as a demo service today is no guarantee it will do so tomorrow. It's standard MO for them to move swiftly and unilaterally, with no advance warning.

Recusant:

MonsterCrit:
The problem with demos is that they are a time and money sink and worse, only 2 out of the 9 possible scenarios that result from making a demo result in increased game sales and for one of those it's only marginal. They get more bang for buck by just buying a few extra ads spots or pokishing the game a bit more.

THis isn't speculation. This is observed consumer behaviour. This is why demos went from being the norm to a rarity. If demos actually had a net positive effect on sales, companies would make them.

If demos didn't actually have a net positive effect on sales, companies wouldn't've made them so reliably for so long.

Data takes time to gather. Kinda like how everyone thought phosphorousm, lead, X-Rays and radium were harmless, until they looked at the data.

They stopped because market expansion changed things; enough people would buy the game without trying it that it didn't have to be done.

Again, consider trhe time line. Even when Demos were common there were just as many games that didn't. The Shareware model for example pretty much was a defacto demo. But you will noticed that started to fall off around '98,

I have no idea where you got the idea that there are only nine possible scenarios resulting from making a demo, but the reason they're rarely made isn't that they're counterproductive, it's that they're unnecessary.

The 9 Scenarios represents the 3 types of demos and the 3 types of games.

YOu can have Good, Mediocre and Bad Games/Demos. So we have 9 possible Game-Demo combinations.
Good-Good, Good-Med, Good-Bad, Med-Good, Med-Med, Med-Bad, Bad-Good, Bad-Med, Bad-Bad.

Look if you really want a little insight take a check here. The folks at Extra Credits did a great job.

https://youtu.be/7QM6LoaqEnY

CaitSeith:

DoPo:

Dalisclock:
So wait for reviews to roll in. Gotcha.

Why would you do otherwise?

That's what I always ask when thousands of people pre-order.

I only preorder if I'm familiar with the dev/studios and I am confident that the product is going to be adequate at minimum. I'll preorder any Elder Scrolls game until the day I die, as well as most Assassin's Creeds. As a fan of the series there were a couple of missteps (I never even beat 3, I was so bored with it) but overall the series is not a bad one.

Zydrate:

CaitSeith:

DoPo:

Why would you do otherwise?

That's what I always ask when thousands of people pre-order.

I only preorder if I'm familiar with the dev/studios and I am confident that the product is going to be adequate at minimum. I'll preorder any Elder Scrolls game until the day I die, as well as most Assassin's Creeds. As a fan of the series there were a couple of missteps (I never even beat 3, I was so bored with it) but overall the series is not a bad one.

It may not be bad, but lately they have been released in a buggy state. I don't know why not to wait until the first post-release patch has been released before buying.

Why wouldn't they suggest using the refund system? While indeed there would be some who would be denied the refund, there will be those who don't bother requesting the refund at all and be stuck with the game, also i'm guessing publishers like to omit refunds from their sales figures.

Ahh, I remember back in the day when demos could be found grazing the grassy plains as far as the eye could see.

Jokes aside, probably the best demo I've ever played was the Serious Sam demo. They took an entire level from the game and redid it to act like a small scale version of the entire rest of the game complete with all the weapons and enemies the game had to offer. As things go it was like asking for a small spoon of ice cream to taste before deciding on what flavor to get for your triple scoop and they just went and gave you an entire scoop for free. I bought the hell out of that game.

I wish every game had a demo.

This game intrigues me but I'll wait until it comes on sale. A demo actually might have made me purchase the game if I liked it enough.

...pretty sure I'm not going to risk the tentative relationship I have with the company stockpiling most of my PC games, just because you don't want to release a demo.

sure, i pay for the full game, which cost 90AUD for me, just to play for less then 2 hours to see if i like the game. then request for a refund in case i may not like it. that makes a good impression on valve. i wonder if valve will comment on this statement of akane studio.
but, since youtube offers you what i needed, i could watch the demo, just to see if the game is for me or not. turned out, its not for me at all. looks blunt and uninteresting. after watching some trusted reviews, they pretty much confirmed my view as well and that its not a title for everyone.
but, i still think they should have bothered to release a demo for pc. since this prey looks so different to the other prey released nearly 10 years ago.

Cid Silverwing:
I remember a time when demo discs came free with gaming magazines and they always had 6 or more beta builds of upcoming games at the time. That was as good as it got back then but it fucking worked and it helped sell your product down the line.

I almost miss those advertisement screens that blue-balled you until you could finally get the game for your birthday or Christmas or whatever.

I remember a time when people could get demo a disc through magazines or by getting them for free or cheap at certain stores. Signing up for PSM, Microsoft or XBOX Magazine, or Nintendo Power would usually entail the subscriber to free demos that came with the magazine. Sadly, the age of the XBL, PSN, and the Internet in general put an end to all of it. And even now, you don't see a lot of demos available on PSN/XBL compared to the 7th generation. I just rely on trusted users from YouTube or only per-oder from a developer/publisher with a good track record. Oh better yet, see a partial playthrough on YouTube, if I am that on the fence about the choice.

MonsterCrit:
The problem with demos is that they are a time and money sink and worse, only 2 out of the 9 possible scenarios that result from making a demo result in increased game sales and for one of those it's only marginal. They get more bang for buck by just buying a few extra ads spots or pokishing the game a bit more.

THis isn't speculation. This is observed consumer behaviour. This is why demos went from being the norm to a rarity. If demos actually had a net positive effect on sales, companies would make them.

Now if only they would release good games then the demos may help. As it stands, games are constantly being patched because buggy messes are released, some to the point of being nearly unplayable. I would imagine an unpatched version of many games wouldn't have a positive effect on sales.

 

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