Game Dev Claims Demos Hurt Game Sales

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What he doesn't mention is that most games are middle of the road at best and don't merit much mileage to begin with.

In other words, there are two sides to this, like there are to everything else. He probably has a point; I'm sure some developers do lose money on this, and gosh darn it, business is about making money.

But if more effort was put toward making an entertaining experience rather than just making money, maybe more people would be willing to buy it after having a taste. It's the same "get what you put into it" model a lot of extremely successful businesses have bought into, and when some of those businesses are Google, Amazon, and Steam, standing as examples of what can happen when you try to make money by making a product people want to buy and find value in, it doesn't seem so crazy.

In other words, most developers are to blame here too when their numbers go down; you didn't make a compelling enough product, and that's your fault. The focus shouldn't be "make this game to make us some money", it should be "make this game that people want to play, and that will in turn make us money". Why don't you crack out the sales figures for obscure, cult classic games with demos out there that went on to become very successful because the product was meant to be enjoyed, Mr. Schell? I bought five games last year because I got to try them first, although I'll be the first to admit I'm not an impulse buyer and don't give in to hype or word of mouth, which is hardly the case for most people.

But "hey, maybe we should make better games" is not what's going to be taken from this story, of course. Everyone wants to take the easy way out; everyone wants to point the blame at someone else.

Maybe its just me but my first reaction after reading this was, "well, don't make crappy games and you won't have a sales problem". I mean the whole buy before you try thing seems a bit underhanded to me.

I have to say I sort of agree. I think demo's in general would hurt your game sales. (apart from pc spec testing)

The only thing you can tell from a demo is if a game is definitely going to be shit (not even that it definitely won't be shit). Personally a demo is never enough to convince me to buy a game, but it can write it off completely.

Before I buy a game I read/watch 3 reviews/gameplay videos and it's served me pretty well so far.

But in general, demos rarely if ever represent the actual game. The quality of the story can't shine through, the gameplay mechanics can't be that deep, it has to be completely accessible/get bogged down with tutorials, it has to be easy enough to get through guaranteed in one playthrough. Everything boils down to tepid mediocrity and lacks context.

Think about some of your favourite games, think about how much you got out of them in the first ten minutes (or before fully appreciating the backstory/gameplay), and think about how much could be conveyed in a demo.

HOWEVER, if it's the only way you can afford to market your game and you put enough time and effort to make a GOOD demo, then that;s an ideal scenario.

I don't remember the last time I bought a game without trying it out beforehand. Oh no wait, I do, it was Dead Island and one of my biggest gaming regrets. Yeah, lesson learned. Before I can play a game, I never buy one, unless maybe when I really already know that it will be great, like hl3 for example.
Also, don't put that much trust into those numbers, they can be interpreted in a variety of ways. He just uses them in a way, that's most favorable for his arguments.

smithy_2045:
I haven't regretted a single video game purchase I've made in the last 5 years. So I'm pretty sure I'm not blindly paying for crap.

Good for you, but that's just your personal experience.

thebobmaster:
Hey, look at me, I'm a strawman!

I was being sarcastic, just in case you didn't see.
Doesn't help that some haters really seem to think like what smithy or I said, at least when they're arguing.

My personal experience is as such because I do my research about whether I want to buy a game, and very rarely does it involve playing a demo.

Furthermore, my initial point is that a free demo costs additional time and money to make the demo and make it available for distribution. If it reduces their overall return on the game, which appears to be the typical case, why should they make a demo? The answer is, they shouldn't, despite what gamers may want. It'd vary from person to person, game to game and from company to company, but the overlying trend would almost certainly be demos increase costs and reduce revenues, neither of which are positives.

Thus why I will never buy a game from a shitty dev like Jesse Schell.

smithy_2045:
It'd vary from person to person, game to game and from company to company, but the overlying trend would almost certainly be demos increase costs and reduce revenues, neither of which are positives.

Companies exist to make money, right?

I mean, demos usually aren't even representative, really, I'll agree on that, but there's a certain saying about cats and bags, I forgot what it was.......

Oh yes, if your demo puts people off buying your game, maybe, just maybe, you should look at whether or not you actually made a decent game, and stop thinking that just by making it you're entitled to the sales.

Jesse Schell, the author of The Art of Game Design and CEO of "crowd-designed" game company Puzzle Clubhouse? Thank you escapist. Jesse and his art project can forget ever seeing a dime from me.

Interestingly, I never pay 60 of my hard-earned dollars on something I can't play in demo form first. Demos help good games to sell, so sorry yours blow so hard, Mr.Schell.

Vegosiux:

smithy_2045:
It'd vary from person to person, game to game and from company to company, but the overlying trend would almost certainly be demos increase costs and reduce revenues, neither of which are positives.

Companies exist to make money, right?

I mean, demos usually aren't even representative, really, I'll agree on that, but there's a certain saying about cats and bags, I forgot what it was.......

Oh yes, if your demo puts people off buying your game, maybe, just maybe, you should look at whether or not you actually made a decent game, and stop thinking that just by making it you're entitled to the sales.

You're ignoring the fact that everyone has different tastes, so what might be the greatest video game ever for one person, has a crippling gameplay flaw that makes it unplayable for another.

Also, it's no different to the advertising of any other product. Make it look as good as possible so people are enticed to buy it. If your advertising (which may include a demo) is turning people away, then you're going to stop advertising in that way.

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