mnygaard Apr 29 @ 12:35pm
Requiring demos or free trial
What would be the arguments against Steam demanding that a game had at least a playable demo, or a free trial period for all games sold?
I get that it would probably annoy a lot of developers of bad games, bad PC ports or untested products with too many bugs - but wouldn't it be an advantage to those who actually make games that work, are well ported and are actually good games.
Aren't those the ones we want to have our money?
Showing 1-15 of 19 comments
< >
DeMoN 4rT Apr 29 @ 1:00pm 
I agree I would love Demos or free game for trails periods. So I can see if the game worth my time and money.
Hayachan Apr 29 @ 1:36pm 
It's up to developer. But trials with permanent time limit (like 1 hour for one game in account's lfietime) would be an interesting concept for games with no demo (but that would be up to developer anyway if it comes to life).
Satoru Apr 29 @ 1:51pm 
1) Demos take up a lot of time as you fork the game from a specific point
2) Demos require entirely separate QA processes
3) Demo conversion rates are INCREDIBLY low making all the above effort not worth it.

Basically I can spent 100 man hours doing a demo and QA-ing it, for the 5 people that actually will buy the game because of the demo. Or I can spend those man hours doing other more productive things like fixing bugs, adding features, etc.

Demos have become mostly moot given the utter ubiquity of Let's Play videos and such.
Last edited by Satoru; Apr 29 @ 1:52pm
mnygaard Apr 29 @ 1:51pm 
Originally posted by Hayachan:
It's up to developer. But trials with permanent time limit (like 1 hour for one game in account's lfietime) would be an interesting concept for games with no demo (but that would be up to developer anyway if it comes to life).

I like the idea of a 1hour trial - that would at least let you know if you can launch the bloody thing :)

I know that it's up to the developer now, but couldn't it be made standard for a Steam Launch?

I mean - sometimes it's nobody's fault if a game can't launch on your PC - the amount of configurations possible is staggering, so I'm not blaming the developers for not testing every posibility.
mnygaard Apr 29 @ 1:52pm 
Originally posted by Satoru:
1) Demos take up a lot of time as you fork the game from a specific point
2) Demos require entirely separate QA processes
3) Demo conversion rates are INCREDIBLY low making all the above effort not worth it.
I get #1 and #2 - but what do you mean the conversion rate of a Demo is low? You mean how many actually buy the finished game after trying it out in a Demo?
Satoru Apr 29 @ 1:54pm 
Originally posted by mnygaard:
I get #1 and #2 - but what do you mean the conversion rate of a Demo is low? You mean how many actually buy the finished game after trying it out in a Demo?

Even in the best of times, the # of people that actually bought a game after playing teh demo, is somewhere in the 5% category. Thta's a LOT of work for not many sales. The economics for making a demo simply aren't there.

http://www.puppygames.net/blog/?p=1394

This post goes into some interesting details concerning demos. note this company does demos and converts them a a respectable 'industry standard' of about 6%.... yeah that's right 6%!
Last edited by Satoru; Apr 29 @ 2:14pm
mnygaard Apr 30 @ 9:51am 
Good points on the demo-issue, Satoru - thanks.
Τhe Rolling Cheese Wheel Apr 30 @ 10:02am 
If I was a dev I wouldn't bother with a demo either. Wasted money, wasted time for virtually no benefit for revenue. Just focus on making a good game, and people will buy
Last edited by Τhe Rolling Cheese Wheel; Apr 30 @ 10:02am
Phoenix-co May 21 @ 6:11am 
Instead of demos, the trial period wouldn't be hard to make.
We already have "free weekends" games, they just need to do the same, but for a shorter time.

The only problems would be that:
- games usually require to be fully downloaded to run (16Gb for one hour of trial, ouch)
- some games are slow to start and become really interesting after a few hours (X3:TC...)
- some minigames stop being fun after a few hours, sometime even less
- the content of early access games can entirely change in one month
- some games can still be played offline after the trial period is over
- force-delete a game after the trial period is over would'nt be a good idea, since you would have to download it twice if you want you buy it after the trial (and it can easily be bypassed)

Some ideas :
- one trial at a time
- different trial durations, depending on the game type
- new trial period after major updates for early access games
- must be connected during the whole period (you go offline, the game stop. should require to change some files), your played time serves as timer for the trial
- limit trial periods to games that can't be launched offline, and to online / mostly online games (co-op and versus games)
- at the end of the trial, if you want to try an other game, you can either buy the previous one, or have steam remove it from both your game list and your computer. Maybe with a comment box where you could explain why you didn't bought it.
Fork_Q (Banned) May 21 @ 6:50am 
Do people still care about demos? What is this, 1998?
Discussions_Acc May 21 @ 6:59am 
Originally posted by Phoenix-co:
The only problems would be that:
The only? You're forgetting one major thing.
Steams traffic would explode. Why would pirates get games from slow filehosters or torrents when they could download it conveniently and without risk from Steam?
Fork_Q (Banned) May 21 @ 7:28am 
Originally posted by Discussions_Acc:
Originally posted by Phoenix-co:
The only problems would be that:
The only? You're forgetting one major thing.
Steams traffic would explode.

If trial periods lead to sales, then it would easily be worth it for Valve to do. If it leads to sales.
Satoru May 21 @ 7:32am 
Originally posted by Fork_Q:
Originally posted by Discussions_Acc:
The only? You're forgetting one major thing.
Steams traffic would explode.

If trial periods lead to sales, then it would easily be worth it for Valve to do. If it leads to sales.

Demos themselves dont' generally speaking, lead to increased sales that justify the effort. A few exceptions exist. The Stanley Parable demo is fun of its own accord! But that game is really really weird and doesn't fall into your typical 'bucket' of game genres. So a demo of the game was likley worth the effort. But for most other games the ubiquity of things like Lets Play videos, live streaming via twitch, etc more or less give people 'demos' of the game already.

It also somewhat dilutes the 'free weekend' concept, so realistically that would disappear as well.
Last edited by Satoru; May 21 @ 7:34am
Fork_Q (Banned) May 21 @ 7:38am 
Originally posted by Satoru:
Originally posted by Fork_Q:

If trial periods lead to sales, then it would easily be worth it for Valve to do. If it leads to sales.

Demos themselves dont' really lead to increased sales.

It also somewhat dilutes the 'free weekend' concept, so realistically that would disappear as well.

You mentioned the demo thing before, thanks for the link!

I think most people however would rather games offer an optional one-off trail period (not demo) and lose the promotional "free weekends", I would anyway.
Satoru May 21 @ 7:52am 
Originally posted by Fork_Q:
I think most people however would rather games offer an optional one-off trail period (not demo) and lose the promotional "free weekends", I would anyway.

True but I think devs wouldn't really like that trade off that much. Free weekends are pretty big promotions for a developer (though admittedly its mostly AAA that can do that kind of thing).

You also run into problems where determining how long a 'trial' period would be is complicated. for some games it's somewhat easy, turn based games coudl have a turn counter limit. But some games can be completed in a pretty short period of time. Other games (I'm looking at you Final Fantasy!) the first hour is 59 minutes of FMV and a 1 second QTE! Some games just don't work with demos (Stanley Parable). So its hard to come up with a methdology that works for every single game or even makes sense.
Last edited by Satoru; May 21 @ 7:52am
Showing 1-15 of 19 comments
< >
Per page: 15 30 50
Date Posted: Apr 29 @ 12:35pm
Posts: 19