Sunday, 21 July 2013

What the hell happened to game demo's?

Has anyone else felt that the lack of demo's being released these days for computer games is really annoying?  I remember a time when you couldn't help but trip over the fuckers, they got into everything from magazine covers, game boxes, shop shelves, websites, it was sometimes overwhelming.  It was always great to load up a demo, play a level or two of the latest game and then make a decision about buying it.  Probably the best way of getting new players was shareware which was essentially the first few levels of a game without restriction.  Sometimes they had a timer which would lock you out after it ran out and these had a great impact on potential buyers because they could play the game and get a proper feel for the product.

These days demo's are few and far between.  It almost seems like developers have forgotten about this method of advertising.  I know games still have demo builds released but it's a far cry from what it was once was.  The other trend now is to release your demo after the game has launched which doesn't make any sense to me.  As a publisher you have already spent hundreds of thousands of dollars promoting your game so why launch the demo after it hit the shelves?  The whole point is to build interest prior to launch for extra preorder right?

I guess you could say that the day of the game demo was numbered with the advent of youtube which allows customers to search for said game and simply watch someone play it for a while to get an idea if they want it or not.  Still the demo is something that shouldn't be forgotten as a tool for bringing in more money.  The number of times I have looked at a game on steam, PSN or elsewhere and wanted to try a demo only to find it didn't have one has only made me more and more confused as to why.  I could have been a customer for that developer, possibly a long time fan and future customer but instead I am left to make an informed decision based on screenshots, a trailer and some box blurb, all of which tell me nothing in regards as to whether or not I would enjoy it.

Just looking at the list of current steam summer sale games so the 21st of July:

Worms Revolution - No demo
Counter Strike GO - No demo
Natural Selection 2 - No demo
Knights of the old republic II - No demo
Saints Row the third - No demo
Sonic all stars racing transformed - No demo
Omerta city of gangsters - Demo

Out of those titles, Starforge Alpha and Prison architect don't count since they are early access titles which unlock in their respective alpha or beta builds when you buy them.  But the remaining games are a fucking joke here.  Omerta is the only game to have a demo and it's shit, worse than Sonic racing for goodness sake.

Seriously developers wake up, we need more demo's from you guys.


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