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Submitted by dvewlsh 1093d ago | opinion piece

Demos Don't Hurt Sales, Bad Games Do

Dave Walsh from takes a look at Jesse Schell's recent DICE Summit 2013 keynote talk, especially the portion where he discusses demos and marketing. (Culture, D.I.C.E, Industry, Jesse Schell)

smashcrashbash  +   1093d ago
What about the good games that get good scores but get over shadowed by mainstream games? What is the excuse for them? You keep saying 'bad games' as if good games don't get pushed away and ignored too even when they get demos.People keep saying 'then make better games then' so what is the definition of a 'better game' when games that get way above average scores still end up used games bins with low sales? I give you a demo and you still chose to kick my game to the curb.What is the solution to that? People act as if giving you a demo automatically guarantees that you will buy my game. So tell me what is the definition of a 'bad game'? Were Psychonauts and Okami 'bad games'?
dvewlsh  +   1093d ago
Of course there are no guarantees that people will buy those great games and that sucks.

I wish that more people would have picked up Psychonauts when it came out.

The problem that you are talking about is one where a game doesn't have the right amount of marketing muscle behind it to make it that big of a success (or doesn't have a broad audience).

Shit like Call of Duty doesn't get a demo anymore and the reality is that yes, a demo for those games would probably lower the sales because it won't be as good as people are expecting.
marisajack   1093d ago | Spam
showtimefolks  +   1093d ago
Any game under a 8 is a bad game by today's standards. Dead space 3 overall 79/100 I guess a bad game.

People only look at scores to decide what they want to buy. Mst of the times they don't even read or watch eviews just look at the scores and decide

But IMO demos are important, enslaved comes to mind, before release everyone was hyped till people played the demo and felt it was t worth the asking price

This is the way I see it moving forward every game should get a demo and I do mean every game, Than the excuse people make for piracy that I am only downloading to try out the game won't stand

Anything over an 6-6.5/10 should be a must play, yeh some games may have some issues but there are always fun sides to 6.5 too that people overlook


Media doesn't review fairly how is it hat skyrim on ps3 gets a 8.5?
New Vegas on ps3 or xbox360 gets a 8.5?

Critics see major issues yet they complain but end up giving good scores to get advertisement money, but if it's a game made by a smaller no that we'll known devs thanit will be bashed and give 4s out of 10.

Fair media is needed
dlpg585  +   1093d ago
i don't understand are you saying that 8.5 was too high for skyrim and fallout? or are you comparing them saying one was much better than the other and yet they got the same score? or that 8.5 was too low for skyrim and fallout?
MostJadedGamer  +   1093d ago
Bad demos will certainly hurt sales of good games. In fact there is nothing more damaging to sales of a good game then to have a bad demo.

So publishers have to way the risk of releasing a demo with the rewards.
e-p-ayeaH  +   1093d ago
A matter of preference also comes in play not just quality.

Something like Okami wont appeal for everyone. Most dont even care if its good or not.

I wont lie i didn't bought Okami even knowing its a good game it simply doesn't appeal me.
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Bigpappy  +   1093d ago
If you have a good game with high and a Demo, yet no one is buying it, then may be your demo was really bad, or your good game was really not a good game after all.

If you made a bad demo of your game, I don't see how that is anyone else's fault but yours.
#1.5 (Edited 1093d ago ) | Agree(0) | Disagree(0) | Report | Reply
Donnieboi  +   1093d ago
What are u ranting about? Nobody promised that a demo would guarantee sales. However, the lack of having access to a sample of gameplay gives me less chance of ever getting interested...especially if it's a new IP. Don't blame the people for not liking the game just because u provided a demo. Your not entitled to anything. You put out a sample of the product, the player bit, didn't like it, and so they walked away. Even demo's have to be prepared in a way where they grab a player's attention. You can't just be lazy and give the player the first 15 minutes of the game. The demo needs to feature it's selling point/set-piece in a small window of time to hook the player (like how theater trailers edit footage to grab your attention, pronto). Even some great games have lousy demo's simply because the portion of the game they used for the demo failed to give a full impression of best parts of the gameplay.
#1.6 (Edited 1093d ago ) | Agree(0) | Disagree(0) | Report | Reply
smashcrashbash  +   1093d ago
So you are saying since you took my demo the wrong way and made a whole bunch knee jerk decisions based on it that is my fault? How about understanding that it is only a demo and not a representation of the whole game? How much demo do you want especially with game that could spoil the whole plot if I give too much of it away? Do want five and ten hour demos now just because you are indecisive? I mean who do you think you are fooling? Gamers are very unreasonable people that resort to mob like behavior at the drop of a hat.They just showed some low res pictures of The Last of Us and people are already running around with them saying that is how the graphics are despite the fact that it is obvious that the pictures are the ones that are low res.

A demo is fine in the hands of reasonable understanding people but not in the hands of people who still can't get it through their skull that it is not the whole game which many times leads to people not buying it because they insist that the demo represents thew whole game.What do the developers do to against ignorance like that? Now that said I am not saying a demo is not a good thing in some ways because it is a good way to advertise your game but it can easily backfire on you because people take every slight glitch or flub or problem and escalate it into a mountainous problem and act as if you were handed a broken game and not one that just needs some adjustments. And now it is labelled a 'bad game' and no one wants to ever try to give it a chance. So like all things their are pros and cons to doing it and this is just one of the cons..You only see the pros because you are then one getting something but for a developer their are cons to doing it too.
robparko  +   1093d ago
The title says it all, bad games are destined to fail, in most cases.
e-p-ayeaH  +   1093d ago
even a casual can see what´s a bad game the only problem is that they only judge a game by its cover before buying it.
#2.1 (Edited 1093d ago ) | Agree(1) | Disagree(0) | Report | Reply
Statix  +   1093d ago
Then why does every COD-rehash keep being the best-selling game every year?
robparko  +   1092d ago
Aren't COD games generally good though? Regardless of being a little too familiar, of course.
Statix  +   1092d ago
COD hasn't been good since the past several installments. Severe lag issues crippled the gameplay and any chance of enjoying the meat of the series--the multiplayer. The single-player campaigns are uninspired affairs.
SolidDuck  +   1093d ago
I have played a bad demo of a good game before tho, and the other way around.
FarCryLover182  +   1093d ago
I remember the Dead Space 1 demo. it was awful. Game was brilliant.
MikeMyers  +   1093d ago
Demo's don't always give the gamer the best experience. I have also seen many movie trailers where I watched the movie and had a totally different perspective after seeing the whole thing. Some games suit demo's better than others.
MostJadedGamer  +   1093d ago
Yeap. I canceled my preorder for R.U.S.E. which I was going to buy on day 1 because the demo sucked. Almost 2 years later I bought it used, and found it was actually a good game.

So Ubisoft lost a sale because of a bad demo of a good game.
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Skynetone  +   1093d ago
I bought ruse because of that demo, one of the best games this gen, i sure hope there working on a ruse 2

its difficult to capture a complex game like ruse in a demo, but i enjoyed it
PopRocks359  +   1093d ago
I always figured a bad demo would be a detriment to the game. Many an occasion I'll play a demo of a game I'm none too excited for and I'll always receive the phrase "Oh, the demo is a bad representation. Play the full game!"

Then I do so and it's still crap. Rarely does the full experience ever change my standing on where the demo left me. Anyone else ever experience this?
vickers500  +   1093d ago
Yep. I know I can't judge a full game based on a demos CONTENT, but I can judge it based on its controls, because I don't think I've ever experienced an instance where a demos controls were at all different from that of the full games controls.

If I hate the controls of the demo, then it's incredibly likely that they wont change in any significant way in the full game, which is a good indicator of whether or not I'll hate a game.
jakmckratos  +   1093d ago
yes exactly
KnightRobby  +   1093d ago
How about bad demos hurting bad games (or even good ones)?

For example: Kingdoms of Amalur demo was very rough around the edges. I am certain it didn't help them. It wasn't a beta, but labeled as a demo.

Another thing is open betas. Battlefield 3 has done extremely well (love the game btw) but I believe its beta was more like an alpha and probably didn't help its chances vs the big gorilla COD.

It's important to let gamers see your game, but in the right condition. Otherwise, you may lose newcomers...
BanBrother  +   1093d ago
I actually never got KoA because of that filthy demo. First off, the game boots up with some EA terms and conditions, and "make an EA account". Not a good way to start off your demo with all this corporate Bulls***. On top of that, the demo was as glitchy as hell. I got 'stuck'. Funny thing is, it was on flat ground lol. My character couldn't move. It wasn't my console either, as I could still bring up the game menu and everything.
And that, is the story of EA not getting my money for being f*** heads.

Also, I have bought many, many games from demo's that I otherwise would have passes on. Didn't EA want to charge for demo's at one point? Pretty damn sure.

@MrAnderson (the matrix???)

I also bought Arkham Asylum because of the awesome demo. Same story.
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jeremyj2913  +   1093d ago
I skipped Enslaved for the same reason. Demo was absolutely terrible and after it came out I still saw negative things about it. Dodged a bullet there.
KnightRobby  +   1093d ago
Same. Completely avoided Enslaved for the exact same reason. It was an okay demo and ended up being an average game. I really like what they did with Heavenly Sword though.
OmniSlashPT  +   1093d ago
I actually dont remember not buying or buying a game solely because of its demo. I dont even remember the last time I played a demo lol I just watch trailers, see some gameplay footage, get some background story on what going on and if I'm interested, ill buy the game. Sometimes there are games where you need to get your hands to with (RPGs or racing/sports games), but even so, demos dont hurt their sales.

I remember playing inFAMOUS and Uncharted demos (the original ones) and thinking they were crap but then bought them due to friends advice and some knowledge from trailers and such.
ShaunCameron  +   1093d ago
WRONG! Games that are poorly marketed and/or fail to garner much public interest hurt sales, regardless of quality.

And by the way, developers and publishers do not owe anybody a demo.
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MrAnderson  +   1093d ago
Good demos help immensely, I remember trying the demo of arkham asylum because I was bored one day and spotted it on the playstation store, expecting a cheesy boring batman game, and by the end of the demo I was super excited to buy and play the full game and went out to get it day 1.
#9 (Edited 1093d ago ) | Agree(4) | Disagree(0) | Report | Reply
azshorty2003  +   1093d ago
The RE6 demo kept me from buying the game. Even at the $20 sale price it's currently listed for on Amazon. No thank you.

The reverse is, there have been a couple of times where I played a demo for a game I wasn't sure about, and it convinced me to buy it.
masa2009  +   1093d ago
This guy is the boss of a company that seems focused on casual games. The kind of games that make money based on impulse purchases and have little depth.
So obviously demos will hurt them.

Also, I think that a number of games that don't bother with demos are specifically games that benefit from a huge marketing plan and already have the exposure that will move copies.
If you're COD, you don't need the demo. You WILL sell.
If you are an indy game, you need the demo, but in any case you were not going to sell as many copies.
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ziggurcat  +   1093d ago
actually, i've played some awful demos where the games themselves turned out to be pretty awesome.
yeahokchief  +   1093d ago
BFBC2 demo convinced me to buy it. Otherwise I would have never played it. Awesome game. Too bad BF3 sucked.

Demos help imo

But only for games im iffy about. Games from pub/devs i trust are autobuys.
#13 (Edited 1093d ago ) | Agree(0) | Disagree(0) | Report | Reply
MeatAbstract  +   1093d ago
Every game should have a demo, every multiplayer should have a beta.

I also think when you have a demo, you shouldn't just cherry pick a segment out of the game, you should create something small for the demo only, one that pretty much shows the player what they can expect and that shows them the game mechanics they can expect to see. People like to try before they buy.
#14 (Edited 1093d ago ) | Agree(0) | Disagree(0) | Report | Reply
ufo8mycat  +   1093d ago
There are a few bad games that sell extremely well.

Look at COD - awful game yet it sells so much.
You can thank the casual gamers for that though.

There are also a lot of good games, that don't sell well unfortunately.
hazelamy  +   1093d ago
i agree 100%.

for a great game a demo is a fantastic marketing tool, there have been quite a few games i've only bought after enjoying the demo, many of them being games i would not have considered otherwise.

they've also put me off a few games though, but then they were bad games and didn't deserve to be bought.

if you make good games demos are your friends, if you make bad games they can be your worst enemy.

but for the consumers, they're great.
you can't always tell for certain if you'll enjoy the full game after playing the demo, but they can give you a good idea.

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