Major Nelson: Expect More Xbox One Demos As Platform Goes Forward

Major Nelson: Expect More Xbox One Demos As Platform Goes Forward

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It isn't like the old days, when Xbox Arcade required trials.

"It is (and always has been) up to game developers to do demos for their own games," says Major Nelson. "There'll be more demos for Xbox One as the platform goes forward." This may come as a relief to those who miss the good old days, when Xbox Live Arcade required developers to put trial copies out, since Bing demo searches often have very little result.

Marc Whitten said, back in September, that "not all games will have demos like Xbox Live Arcade games have had on Xbox 360," and gamers are beginning to miss the chance to try before they buy. But as Jesse Schell pointed out back in February, demos can be counterproductive, from a developer's perspective.

"You mean we spent all this money making a demo and getting it out there," said Schell, "and it cut our sales in half?" That was the conclusion he came to, when he noticed that Xbox 360 games with a demo and a trailer sold about half as many copies as those with a trailer alone.

It will be interesting to see the data again, once more demos start populating the Xbox One world.

Source: OXM

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Microsoft should really start cracking the whip on those 29 approved ID@Xbox developers then.

Because there's no way a AAA company is going to publish a demo if it's going to show the usual shit they try to shovel in the full game.

MinionJoe:
Microsoft should really start cracking the whip on those 29 approved ID@Xbox developers then.

Because there's no way a AAA company is going to publish a demo if it's going to show the usual shit they try to shovel in the full game.

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I was thinking more along the line that if someone gets the demo and finds out they don't like the game, they won't buy the game and lose money. So if the developer puts out a shitty game with no demo, they can manage to make a bit of money before the "reviews" come out and tell everyone else their game is shit.

My thoughts exactly. They put out a trailer that makes it look like the most exciting thing on Earth and then it turns out to be the most exciting thing since paint dried.

Put out a good game and demo or no demo people will buy it. I know that strategy has worked on me a few times.

On top of three people that have commented so far, XBLA game demos were actually the full version of the game but with a lock on certain portions. There was no opportunity for bait and switch with it.

"You mean we spent all this money making a demo and getting it out there," said Schell, "and it cut our sales in half?" That was the conclusion he came to, when he noticed that Xbox 360 games with a demo and a trailer sold about half as many copies as those with a trailer alone.

I'm interested to know how those games fared in reviews. Are we comparing apples to apples? The games with demos and a trailer that sold half as much as the games with a trailer alone, were their metacritic (I know metacritic's not the most accurate representation of quality, humor me) ratings comparable? For example, are we comparing the sales of a game with a demo and trailer named "Binary Domain" to a the sales of a game with no demo named "Assasin's Creed?"

Hyperstorm:
My thoughts exactly. They put out a trailer that makes it look like the most exciting thing on Earth and then it turns out to be the most exciting thing since paint dried.

Put out a good game and demo or no demo people will buy it. I know that strategy has worked on me a few times.

This is exactly the case. A game is hyped up by videos and trailers, but demos pushes away all the hype. So instead of making better demos they decided to not release any. Overall demos seemed to have decreased across all the platforms, PC included. I rarely see demos on Steam, but there are plenty of pre-orders. Developers rather not poke holes into the hull of advertisements. Here on the Escapist they've played a vid of Ryse. Based on that video alone I would have bought that game for Xbox One. But upon seeing the gameplay from E3 and other places whatever interest I might have had is negated. Trailers can show whatever they want in the best light ever. The only way they can get away with a crappy demo is claiming it's a rough beta. Unfortunately upon release most games haven't improved much from this "rough" period.

I just hope they don't make demos the same way the Creative Assembly made Total War Rome 2. If devs start to focus on making X1 demos great and the rest of the game falters because of it, there's another point against the console.

So wait, if i got this right, they are forcing the devs to make demos because their failed Bing search platform does not find enough of them? what is this crazy talk?

Karloff:

"You mean we spent all this money making a demo and getting it out there," said Schell, "and it cut our sales in half?" That was the conclusion he came to, when he noticed that Xbox 360 games with a demo and a trailer sold about half as many copies as those with a trailer alone.

More like You spent all this money making a demo and forgot to make a good game in the process and people saw it wasnt a godo game and didnt buy it instead of having to buy a cat in a bag? the horror!

Capcha: outlook not so good.
If its a bad demo its a bad demo alright?

"You mean we spent all this money making a demo and getting it out there," said Schell, "and it cut our sales in half?"

If its a bad game then yeah it probably will hurt sales. These days $50-60 is still a large amount to drop on a single game, regardless of quality. Of course these days its much easier to get an idea whether or not a game is good before you buy but even then it is still a gamble with misleading trailers and such out there. Even $10-15 for an arcade game is a fair amount to risk finding out if the game is good or not. Yes making trailers and demos take time and money away from the main project, i totally get that, but unless the game is shit and you want to sucker gamers then making a demo will likely earn you more money (and goodwill) with gamers than not doing so.

Admittedly I'm not a game maker so I don't know how much time and money is normal for making demos, however I bet you can make something decent without impacting the full game that much. It doesn't have to be a huge production, just enough to give them a little taste of the full experience.

To call back to a recent Jimquisition, if an entire PC game can be patched in a day for free by some random person on the internet then I think you guys can manage making just a demo without much trouble.

 

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