Gamers love demos. They love being able to try games before they buy them. Better yet, they love being able to try them before they’re even released. You know who doesn’t love demos? Jesse Schell. He says that demos harm game sales.
Schell is the CEO of Puzzle Clubhouse and a respected industry analyst. He spoke at DICE 2013 and talked about getting your game into the hands of people who want to try it. But a demo, he says, isn’t the best way, and the numbers back him up.
During his keynote, he showed off a chart which indicated that many demo-free titles actually end up being more successful than the alternative.
At first, it this may seem surprising, but when he digs into the details, it starts to make sense. Take BioShock Infinite and Grand Theft Auto V, for example. Both games have only trailers. Both games have a lot of expectations, excitement, and hype. People are going to run out and buy these titles because they can’t wait to try them out. However, demoed titles like DmC: Devil May Cry might turn people off to the game before they plop down their credit card.
Demos have the right intention, but it’s hard to argue with this logic. If you’re disappointed in a demo, you’re going to be disappointed in the full game.