According to a study released yesterday by the NPD Group, being able to "test drive" a game is a driving force in consumer decisions to purchase a game.
Along with word of mouth and genre, the availability of a demo is one of the most significant deciding factors in whether a consumer will purchase a given game. Released on Thursday, The Game Drivers Purchase Report, which is the first of its kind for NPD, indicates that while price and information from gaming sites are important they are not nearly as heavily weighted in the purcahsing decision making process as previously thought.
"While various means of allowing consumers to test drive games have long been an important part of most publishers' marketing mixes, the findings of our study now show that it is of particular importance for attracting the broader gaming audience," said Anita Frazier, industry analyst, The NPD Group. "Ads, reviews, and other vehicles are relatively more influential to the heavy gamer, but to attract more casual players, getting games into their hands so they can experience the fun first-hand is essential."