Multi Game demos halve sales, new data suggests

Martok

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Trailers without hands-on opportunities may lead to the biggest commercial success

Publishers and developers are discovering that game demos on consoles can have a negative effect on game sales, according to newly released data.

Game designer Jesse Schell made the revelation during an industry keynote at the Gamelab conference in Barcelona on Friday, where he presented information gathered by analytics firm EEDAR.

The presentation slide suggests that the average Xbox 360 game that is promoted by a release trailer, but has no demo, on average sells about 525,000 units after six months.

But the average Xbox 360 game that carries both a demo and trailer will sell about 250,000 units in the same period.

A game with neither, meanwhile, on average sells less than 100,000 units.

The major caveat to the data is the unanswered question of whether game demos actively discourage sales, or if the best-selling games don't carry demos in the first place.

Call of Duty game demos, for instance, are issued several months after the full retail game release.

In February, Schell gave an presentation at DICE 2013 claimed that games which sell the most are ones that build an expectation in players, that people wanted to try, but that didn't offer them the opportunity to do so through a demo.

"You mean we spent all this money making a demo and getting it out there, and it cut our sales in half? Yes, that's exactly what happened to you," he said.


Source: CVG


I think the truth of it is, if a game developer makes a shit game and releases a demo, folk see what a pile of crap it is and they don't buy it. So the solution is don't develop shit games, make decent ones instead and put out a demo and people will buy and come back for other games from the developer.
 

Jkrohn1

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Yep I agree, all games should have a demo but they need a good demo. I played the infamous demo and didn't like it, tried the full game when free on ps+ and loved it.
 

OAPboba

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I can remember two games where I disliked the demo and didn't buy the game. I eventually got the games months later and loved them.

The games were Uncharted (the first one) and Dead Space (also the first one).

For some reason the Uncharted demo didn't seem to feel like the final game. With Dead Space I think they just picked the wrong part of the game.
 

ColSonders

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We also need to remember though that demos of games can be misleading. Though I agree that if I am looking forward to a game and get to play a demo pre-release and it's shit then I simply won't buy it.

But yeah, not all demos give a good reflection of the game, Brutal Legend for example had an utterly amazing demo, got the game and the demo is the intro, once you're done with that bit you're playing a completely different game, which quite frankly was shit compared to what the demo mislead you to believe.
 

Slaine

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As with all these stats, theyre flawed. Most AAA titles dont have a demo at all, but plenty of videos. This goes some way in to explaining why this data is worthless. The implication by the writer is that release a demo of your game and watch it fail, which I totally disagree with. Most of the demos released these days are for games I couldnt give a shit about. I still play them, but very rarely do they change my mind about the games. Take the Assassins Creeds; not a demo in sight, yet the implication here is that its because a demo wasnt released that it didnt fail. Games fail because theyre crap, and for no other reason. Sometimes games fail for inexplicable reasons (Portal 2 had absolute rave reviews everywhere, yet it didnt sell as well as it should), and others sell really well for equally inexplicable reasons. But generally games fail not because of a demo, nor even because of poor reviews, but because they were inherently shite in the 1st place. I frequently ear mark games Im interested in whilst theyre being developed, with a view to changing my mind near release if the game doesnt pan out quite as I hoped. Demos can help me to make a decision, but to be fair I dont judge any game by a demo. I though Dead Space was crap, but the actual game is actually really rather good. See? Didnt put me off from buying it, and generally speaking wont put others off either. Alien Colonial Marines sold really well, despite poor reviews, and Im glad it did as I quite liked it.

I do think long and hard before parting with my money, as £40 is a lot to ask for based on a few videos. I listen to you guys, reviews, and my own gut feel before i buy a game
 

Acegadgets

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Must agree with the findings. Very few demos do it for me. The ones I did like were Battlefield bad co , unchartered 2? warhawk, Killzone 2 and the original grid. They were all good demos and good games.
 

OAPboba

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Brutal Legend for example had an utterly amazing demo, got the game and the demo is the intro, once you're done with that bit you're playing a completely different game, which quite frankly was shit compared to what the demo mislead you to believe.
Oh yeah - forgot about this. I had exactly the same experience - really pissed me off too!
 

ColSonders

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Oh yeah - forgot about this. I had exactly the same experience - really pissed me off too!

Yeah I remember chatting to you about it both after playing the demo and then after getting the final game and being totally confused as to what the feck they did :lol:
 
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