Game Dev Claims Demos Hurt Game Sales

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I know that I would have never purchased Fallout 1 with my limited budget, if not for its fantastic one town demo.

It's hard to quantify how many people buy a game because of a demo, and it's also hard to determine what scope the demo should portray to draw sales. Some demos give too much, some are tedious, and some are broken - all things that will disincline people to purchase the full game.

I've never not bought a good game because of the Demo.

All bad games that I've played Demos for I didn't buy. I can't think of any exception...

I played heaps of demo's back in the 90's, and if it wasn't for them I never would of bought a lot of the games in my classic collection. I used to buy magazines back then as well (some even came with demo disks), but some times they just failed to make certain games look appealing.

I'll give you small list of demo's that introduced me to games. These games inparticular had a big impact on me, I don't know if they all sold well though.

- The Fury flight games
- Total Annihilation games
- Metal Fatigue
- Half Life
- Carmaggedon
- Worms games
- Command & Conquar games
- Road Rash
- Lineage 2
- Dungeon Keeper
- Descent games
- And Starcraft

Yup Demo's never do a game any good, after all being an 11 year old who turned down a Dreamcast for a PC one christmas because of all the kick ass games certainly never pestered his mother for and spent all his pocket/paper round money and did extra jobs around the house for games he tried via the old PC Gamer demo discs... nope, I never did that. It's not like I purchased such gems as Half-Life, Revenant, Final Fantasy 8 PC, Starfleet Command, Diablo II and even Ultima Online that were all out of my platformer/tbs comfort zone because of those Demos... nope no sir, I did no such things.


From the android who brought you "Manipulate players into enjoying your game". Comes "I speak words and quote stats to stay relevant because I can't admit to myself no one likes my games"... Geez that last title was long.

I don't even care about the demo debate, this robot needs a check-up.

Any industry that has a return policy that is as terrible as the gaming industry has no right to complain or begrudge the issues surrounding releasing demos of their products.

Dropping $90-120 NZ or $70-100 US on a product and finding it either doesn't meet expectations or does not run properly on my current system - despite meeting the requirements - and NOT being able to request a refund is absurd. No other industry has such a pathetic customer satisfaction system. There is no solution to the problem, all you get is "learn from your mistake".

So consumers are supposed to be clairvoyant.

Mount&Blade's demo mode sold me on the entire series.
The demo of the Deadliest Warrior game made me decide to buy it.
The demo of Medieval Total War completely sold me on the series, and ruined other RTS games in the process.

In contrast, the demo of NFS Most Wanted 2 made me NOT want to buy the game.

The demo for MGS: Revengeance (fucking retarded name) has clued me in on how it plays (which I didn't have a clue about before hand). I might get it some time after release, but likely not while it is new.

In the end, it doesn't matter; Demos might hurt sales, but increases the number of people willing to pirate instead of wasting money too. Every positive has a negative that balances it out and we get more corporate shlock that the kiddies still pay for.

So yea.

Everything is kinda everyone's fault

If your game/demo sucks dick it will absolutely hurt sales, so just make sure you game does not indeed do the protein gargle.

You expect me to drop 60USD on a game without anything but METACRITIC to back it up?

What...are you retarded...or high...or highly retard?

No he isnt be he sure hopes you are so you buy blind.

OT:If it hadnt been for the Thief Demo i might have never gotten into that series. Same goes for the mount and blade series.

you mean giving the ability for the people to play the demo and find out that they didnt like the game made them not buy the game? the shock!

Or, you could make games in such a way that the demo actually made you want to buy it faster? Playing suppreme commander at cousins house made me instantly buy it when back home because i loved it. without that - i wouldnt evne know it existed.

That being said i dont play demos anymore. no time. i got a lnog enough list of games i want to play as it is (not really a backlog as its a list, not games i bought already)

I dunno, I was iffy about picking up Fire Emblem: Awakening, but 30 seconds with the demo changed my mind and I ordered it the next day.

Funny, I remember buying many games based on demos. Not even the best ones too, like Conan on PS3 - bought it based on demo, which pretty much includes best parts of main game.
Basically demo only hurts the game if demo is shit. Which more often than not indicates that the game itself wasn't good.
Douchebags like him are the reason why in this day and age you should stop buying games without demos completely.

There is guide on how to sell a shit, unplayable garbage of a game. Not releasing a demo is part of the strategy.

So basically... bawww, when people play demos they figure out our game is a steaming rancid pile of shit and subsequently avoid buying it?

And they think the solution to this "problem" is to stop making demos instead of, say, making the game suck less?

No wonder this industry is ass-backwards.

Well the numbers don't lie, although I do hope those numbers exclude Call of Duty.

Anyways, having watched the entire video, and not just the demo part, I think it explains why a lot of games don't benefit from demos. A lot of games are fun and all, but how many really suck you in when you're playing? I mean I can play just about any game and have fun, but I'm talking about an arm reaching through the monitor and pulling you into the gaming world, where you just don't want to put down that controller? There's a lot of games that are really, really fun, but they don't manage to do that. You know the Call of Duty campaigns are fun, but are you sucked in? Games that suck you in and compell you as if you were there are by far a minority, and then we have to divide that minority further into two groups.

Bioshock is a very compelling game, but does it offer you freedom? Spec Ops: The Line is compelling game, but does it offer you freedom? Bioshock and Spec Ops: The Line didn't have worlds that said "Come here and build yourself up, come here and you can do anything you want", they said "Come here be led down this certain path". I played demos for both games, and the demos simply aren't compelling you to get the game. Those aren't world you become a person in, those are worlds that you experience a story. There's nothing wrong with that, and it makes sense that only trailers are best for those games, because trailers are stories. They're short stories, really, and sometimes trailers are better than the stories in the game itself. It seems logical that a small segment of a story would pique your interest to experience the whole story.

I can't remember which one, it was either Just Cause or Just Cause 2, can't remember which, but it had a demo with a time limit, and it gave you freedom to do what you wanted. That may not sound like much, but it pulled most people in who played it, and they wanted the game. It wasn't offering the experience of the story, it wasn't giving you a taste of not some story that you don't know anything, dropping spoilers which actually disincentivises you to get the game, you just gave you an open playground. Now imagine if Skyrim did that, and just gave you two hours from start to finish, dropped you off at about level 10 with full access to the world, no main story quests, no story context, all side quests available, a chest full of freebies from armour to axes to scrolls, full control over your skill trees, and no limitations at all except for how far your feet could take you in the amount of time given. I know for a fact that I would've played that demo over, and over, and over, foaming at the mouth until the game came out.

LOL. this kind of studies make me laugh so hard. Ofc demos, samples, test-cars or anything in any domain will have a negative impact on sales IF its weaker than competition.
Demos are good, but they should be released after a period of time if u see if the incomes are lower then it should be so u show that your product is better than the competition.
Back in the days demos worked very well because almost every game was better and came with something new, when something is freshly born it changes rapidly. Nowadays they are mostly replicants, if I try something out and see "Oh, I already played something like this a few months ago" u will be not so eager to spend money on dejavus. But if they dont bring out demos u will spend money only on searching.

Well the numbers don't lie, although I do hope those numbers exclude Call of Duty.

The numbers don't lie, just the man reading them.

I could make a graph where I compare sales figures of games with different launch prices. You can bet your ass $60 games would be way, way above $10 ones. Does it mean that higher prices mean more sales? No, of course not.

Correlation does not imply causation, and Schell apparently failed to learn that in statistics class.

The only thing this guy's chart proves, is that AAA game developers and publishers *often* leave the demo out if they think they'll sell well without it.

Say what you want about demos but i've bought multiple games because of demos.

In fact, i'm on the brink of pre-ordering Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance just because of the demo.

This is why they don't release demos any more.

Instead they call them 'Betas' so that when people play said beta and it's terrible, they fool themselves into thinking
'oh it's just a beta, all this will be fixed once the full version comes out'

If a demo halves your sales in half, it's because your game sucks. I know a couple of people who purposely download pirated versions of games to check them out because they are fed up of paying $60 for a game that doesn't deliver the expected/promised features. And I don't have to explain that it's hard to sell a game people already got for free (albeit illegally). So, yeah, bring back demos to us.

Plus, since there's the chance that the demo could be only okay or bad, it's often better for a game that's already poised to earn money to just spend the time and resources into polishing the game rather than releasing something that could hurt sales. Also, an okay demo for a terrible game doesn't actually help too often, since even if the demo is serviceable the player may opt to wait for reviews to come out, and when they do it usually leaves the player disinterested or feel that they got the most they could get with the demo. The same problem applies to the okay/okay situation, in which a player is either going to get it regardless or they'll just wait for reviews.

the question is with "awesome game awesome demo" is that is it worth it to do the extra work for a demo compared to how many less sales a game will get if that game is good enough to become popular on its own? the only game i can come up with that worked like that is minecraft, and i'm still not really sure why it continues to sell even though you would think that by now it would have reached some sort of saturation point, even before the game became "officially a complete game".

Well, I suppose there are really two kinds of demos. The "release this way before the actual game" demos and the "here's a sample of what our full game will offer you" demos. I'll agree that the former are more of a risk and more work to put together, but the latter are much safer and shouldn't be a whole lot of extra work. Note that the latter also serve pretty well as a "will this run on my machine" demo. That's not so big a deal on consoles, but it's much more important on PC. All other things being equal, a gamer certain that the game will run is a gamer more likely to buy the game.


I'm pretty certain that adding a demo only hurts your game if your game sucks.

More importantly: if your DEMO sucks.

You CAN make a great demo for a crappy game, and vice versa. If you release a demo, do so in a smart manner.

I stand corrected; you're right on both points, of course.

Bad Jim:
1) They've got empirical data. You can spout theory all you like, but the real world data says otherwise.

No, no, no, no, no! Repeat after me: correlation does not imply causation. Correlation does not imply causation. Correlation does not imply causation.

Maybe indie games with smaller budgets are both more likely to have demos released (because they can't afford a large ad campain, e.g.) and less likely to have massive sales numbers (because it's a previously unheard-of indie game). In this example, it's not that one causes the other; it's that both are affected by the budget size. Unless their data accounts for factors such as this (and, given that available development resources are not always public information, I rather doubt it does), their empirical data is of limited value at best. And even if it did, that still wouldn't be enough to show causation. Unless they're running double-blind studies with game releases to gather this empirical data, that conclusion does not necessarily follow from their data. It might, of course -- but then again, it might not.

I miss the old "demo disks" I got with my xbox magazine as a kid. Games like Voodoo Vince, Burnout and others I would not have boughten had I not had a demo. Nowadays the problem is you have DOWNLOAD a demo, the only people who will download one are people who don't plan on buying any games or who already had interest in it.

A demo/Trailer is to sell your game to customers. If your game sucks then why are you surprised your sales go down. On the other side, without demo/trailer you wont sell many because no one will have no idea about your game. Catch 22. lol

I'm calling B.S. on this, at least in my case. Most of the time I will not buy a game based on faith and reviews alone unless it just means risking a ridiculously minuscule amount of money. The only time I've made exceptions is with pre-orders when I've been extremely confident regarding my purchase. Other than that, many of the games I buy I will have tried first either through a demo or through borrowing a friend's copy.

Captcha: Fishy smell

Indeed, Captcha, indeed.

I kinda agree with this. I'd say roughly a third of my gaming collection wouldn't have been purchased if I'd been allowed to see for myself what utter garbage said game was before I forked over £40.

Game devs - Demos only hurt your game if it is a bad game. If it is a good game then a demo is simply free publicity.

Perhaps he's right, but I'm sure the effect of dishonesty will have an even greater impact on the sales of future titles.

Case in point, how many people are biased against games from Ubisoft or EA simply because of the publisher? (heck, how many people pirate games just because they're by EA? Remember Spore?) People are naturally vindictive, if they feel you've slighted them, they will remember.

If people dont buy your game because of a demo, then



seriously, they blame absolutely EVERYTHING for their low(er than expected) game sales EXCEPT their own goddamn incompetence.


You expect me to drop 60USD on a game without anything but METACRITIC to back it up?

What...are you retarded...or high...or highly retard?

Well, back in the day you only had a few reviews and word of mouth to go by, and I can't say we suffered because of it. Games were more expensive then too, a SNES game could cost up to 150USD. People's expectations have just changed. Back then you bought a couple of games a year and were happy about it, nowadays that is just not gonna fly.

Back to topic though, I can totally understand what the guy is talking about. With all the games coming out nowadays, I'm extremely picky about which games I buy. So in effect, if a demo does not blow my mind, I won't buy the game, although I probably would have finished it if I had bought it. So yes, from my personal experience, game demos has certainly made me more often than not decide against buying the game, and it's not necessarily because the demo was total shit.

Well yeah, they do. But the demo is supposed to hook people in, if it fails to do that and instead satisfies your will to play the game, it's the fault of the developers.

Zachary Amaranth:

He uses a chart that shows sales figures of games with trailers against games with trailers and demo's.
The Games with only trailers sell twice as much as the one's with the demo's and trailers.

I find it interesting that you make demo a possessive but trailer a plural. Not an attack or grammar Naziing, but...Weird.

I was thinking that when I typed it..but 'demos' just looked really weird. It's like you would pronounce it D-mos.

I think reviews hurt the sales more. i'm no longer getting Aliens: Colonial Marines because its getting below average scorres. I'm not adding another Limited Edition Duke Nukem Forver to my collection.


Here is a chart from the report from EEDAR that basically sums up the points made. Also I am going to repost a video made by Extra Credits that goes into much greater detail on this research than I can do justice to, what with me being completely tired right now.

Extra Credits: Demo Daze

It hurts game sales because people realise a game is crap, then don't buy it.

Without demos, people take a chance, spend money then find its crap.

Stopped me from flushing 60 bucks down the drain on Dead Space 3, however I'm inclined to spend that money on the new Metal Gear game Platinum was working on. Its sad when Metal Gear does strategic dismemberment better than Dead Space...

Pre-ordered Metal Gear Rising... because I played the demo and it was a ton of fun.

Case in point.

OT: Demos are rare these days anyway, but a demo can only help its chances of being bought with me. Any game I'm willing to buy on Day 1 I've researched extensively beforehand. If you want a chance of your game winding up in my PS3, put out a demo.

Instead of not making demoes to hide crappy games so they actually sell units, why not just stop making crappy games? I think the industry really needs to change it's model on game production (same goes for a lot of industries though); I honestly feel like I was playing more amazing games in the 90s, when now modern technology should be making today's games a step beyond and give a new creative freedom in development.

Anyone else remember replaying a demo over and over a hundred times because it was just that good? (The game usually followed suit!)

Anyone else remember replaying a demo over and over a hundred times because it was just that good? (The game usually followed suit!)

Funnily enough, I do. I remember wishing they were a lot longer.

Games these days don't seem like they have their own look and feel a lot of the time. I do a little research on every game and can easily predict what most is going to be like. I really shouldn't be able to.

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