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What ever happened to game Demos?
2223 posts
I remember when I was a kid I used to love getting the latest PC Powerplay and try out all the new demos of games (which lead to me actually buying games) like mech warrior and xwing vs tie fighter, Descent, POD, tomb raider.. the list goes on, but not only PC Powerplay also from other sources. I even remember that you could get multiple versions of some demos and even patch them so they are up to spec with the full game. Why did this ever stop? It was genius.

These days I am totally annoyed with the gamble of purchasing a game that I might not like, runs like s*** (farcry 3 stutter anyone?), is too shallow or for whatever reason. It feels like its just a total gamble and waste of money.

My first thought was maybe its because publishers know their games are going to get pirated anyway so why waste the time to develop a demo? Maybe for the same reason this happens with box office movies, I dont know.
he same report reveals that movie, music and TV-pirates who pay for entertainment, spend much more than average consumers. This is yet another study that comes to this, for some, counter-intuitive conclusion. But does this mean that piracy isn’t hurting the entertainment industry? If not, what does it mean?

The reason I say this is because Farcry got me thinking about it. Sure I could read all the reviews or watch some videos on youtube but its not MY opinion on the game and it should be up to me if I want to buy it or not depending on how I feel about playing a short portion of the game. If they had released a demo of it and how the game runs now, would I have bought it? f*** no. Even though its a good game the whole time I was frustrated at how badly optimized it was.
If they released a demo in the future with it running well and like it, would I have bought it? of course.

Even more annoying is Pre-ordering and to top that off is Pre-ordering DLC for f**** sake, but I can understand why people do it, hell ive even been tempted but thought f*** no I dont want to put money down without knowing what I'm buying. The cost has nothing to do with it, With DLC I just feel like I am paying for something that should already be there.

Its like getting a brand new car but not being able to test drive it before you decide to buy it.
Im not saying that now a person should steal that car instead but obviously they will go somewhere else where they can take a car for a test drive.

I don't know, maybe I'm still old school but or just felt like having a rant.

02:36am 07/12/12 Permalink
02:36am 07/12/12 Permalink
Nerf Lord
Brisbane, Queensland
6934 posts
Free to play is going that way.
02:40am 07/12/12 Permalink
Brisbane, Queensland
2250 posts
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05:37am 07/12/12 Permalink
Brisbane, Queensland
4841 posts
Need a demo for that post.
07:44am 07/12/12 Permalink
Brisbane, Queensland
1146 posts
Games have become so large in file size that it would be annoying (certainly for me anyway) to have to download 8 Gb of game just to try one level.
08:13am 07/12/12 Permalink
Logic Incarnate
Gold Coast, Queensland
2 posts
08:51am 07/12/12 Permalink
Canberra, Australian Capital Territory
1313 posts
This is one of the things that (forgive the console chatter, but...) early Xbox Live Arcade did right.
If a game was to be published on XBLA, it needed a demo.

That being said, some 'demos' are f*****g RUBBISH for giving any kind of 'feel' to a game.

This is also where (dons fire-retardant suit) I make best use of EB's returns policy for console games, but yeah; if the game is a PC title, and needs steam/origin/yuplay/etc.... then you're essentially forced to pirate it as the 'demo' (which then leaves the a-typical scenario of buying it after you've played the best bits type argument).

I grew up pirating games for the most part... but nowadays, there seems to be so few innovative new titles coming out, that so long as it's priced reasonably, I'll throw cash at it just to see certain dev teams or publishing houses [hopefully] stay in business. (some of the current Indie scene is awesome for that, I'm thinking specifically Team Meat and Jonathan Blow type people; I've also fed 'too much' into Kickstarter over the past 6 or so months too...)

Need a demo for that post.

Well played sir, well played.

EDIT: I AM enjoying some of the 'return to shareware' that can be seen in certain markets (again, moreso consoles and mobiles than the PC market) Y'know, "here's chapter 1 for free, but if you want the other 4-5 chapters it's $x".
Few games manage to pull it off in a compelling way, and I think it's sad that more companies don't release 'more significant' content in the form of DLC (in that, it'd be cool to see something like the Half-Life Episodes considered as 'DLC' and not 'sequels' as such; but I'm not naive to the fact that it costs more to develop/produce this content, which is then essentially only for a 'captive element' of the greater 'consumer-pie')
09:00am 07/12/12 Permalink
AGN Admin
Brisbane, Queensland
36600 posts
My first thought was maybe its because publishers know their games are going to get pirated anyway so why waste the time to develop a demo?
What? No, it's because they know their games are going to be bought anyway.

There are still lots of demos from the indie scene and smaller developers/publishers. A huge amount of the mainstream stuff that is covered almost everywhere though is big brands and big franchises that you've already played, because basically the same game came out last year - you're not really buying "a game", you're just buying a continuation of a series.

They've basically discovered that they can still make a lot of money without needing to do a demo - instead they just pump all that money into advertising and there is enough traction now, especially for an existing brand, that they can sell basically anything.

...and of course our preview coverage is sooooo good it's basically like playing the game anyway so you don't need a demo. Amirite?
Games have become so large in file size that it would be annoying (certainly for me anyway) to have to download 8 Gb of game just to try one level.
Almost every demo I've ever seen has been only a fraction of the full game size. The exception to this is those demos where you're actually downloading the full game, but it's just got a locked off section that is the demo, then you pay and it turns immediately into the full game. I think these are out of vogue at the moment though because of "cloud" and people getting better at digital distribution.

I would love to see gamers demand demos before they bought games. I believe we'll see a resurgence of it in the indie game space, and free-to-play is obviously a big part of it.
10:22am 07/12/12 Permalink
Brisbane, Queensland
11773 posts

It went the way of Freeware. Remember buying magazines with C64/Spectrum tapes stuck on the front full of freeware goodies.
10:24am 07/12/12 Permalink
19 posts
One opinion in video form: http://penny-arcade.com/patv/episode/demo-daze

just in case you missed it op, this is the answer.
10:33am 07/12/12 Permalink
3935 posts
Who needs demos when you have beta testers to spread the word. I dont see the point in demos when closer then open beta testing pretty much achieves the same thing.
11:59am 07/12/12 Permalink
Gold Coast, Queensland
5481 posts
Plus the games that don't have beta test periods quite often have a dozen youtubers ready to show off as early as possible in a Let's Play series.
12:33pm 07/12/12 Permalink
Brisbane, Queensland
3652 posts
i dl demos all the time on Xbox. doing FC3 now as a matter of fact. along with a Need for Speed (can't recall the version).

plus i subscribe to Techlife mag whose cover cd include demos.

and i doubt you will find out this from a demo
s too shallow or for whatever reason.

they are like movie previews, they only show the good s*** then you get them and are disappointed.

but I'm not a buy on release type person, so there is plenty of feedback and reviews once i get around to buying a game.
07:36pm 07/12/12 Permalink
Brisbane, Queensland
3495 posts
was going to chime in an say there are still heaps of demos about, but others kinda beat me,

but there is a decline of big title demos for sure, but then, some of the games have about the playablity of a demo anyway
07:59pm 07/12/12 Permalink
Brisbane, Queensland
3234 posts
I like demos. They might not give you a feel for the whole game, or the long term life of the game, or story etc but i mainly pick games for gameplay and demos are good enough for that. I pretty much torrent all new release games, indie or big release, if there isnt a demo available. Im very picky with games and very few make it past a hour or 2 of play time and those that do, i buy. As somebody said, i also do the EB returns thing occasionally when i CBF torrenting a game. Got both homefront and brink this way and both have barely an hour of play time before i returned em.

I have no issue with big ass downloads for a demo. Most people have decent speed and decent DL allowance so it shouldnt be an issue. I think its more a case of developers not giving a f*** cause they know people will probably buy based on what they read / see and dont actually require a 'test' of the game. Betas seem to be increasing though which isnt a bad way to test the game, assuming you can get an invite.

What s**** me is often games are released, then a demo comes weeks/months later. I think they should be released a week or two before game release but i suppose this increases the risk of bad publicity if the demo is s***.
08:13pm 07/12/12 Permalink
Brisbane, Queensland
10560 posts
Sometimes I watch walkthroughs on youtube instead of buying the game
08:21pm 07/12/12 Permalink
10169 posts
I played the s*** out of the COH1 demo. foamed at that game. Will buy without seeing COH2.
08:38pm 07/12/12 Permalink
08:38pm 07/12/12 Permalink
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