Demos An Under Valued Asset
Demos have become a cornerstone of the video game market. With an abundance of games available today, and with the rise of Independent developers there is no shortage of new games on the market. With so many titles coming out it’s near impossible for reviewers to possibly cover them all.
This is not a entirely new predicament, before the internet was filled with game review sites we had magazines that reviewed new video games. Without the ability to download and play a demo like we have the option of doing today. Even back then with all of the various gaming magazines some title still managed to fall through the cracks.
Unless you were a PC gamer, the only way to play a title before you bought it was to find an in store demo. Making demos available to everyone back then for systems like the Genesis or the Nintendo would not have been practical is the slightest. I mean could you imagine Sega or Nintendo producing cartridges of game demos that they then would’ve been giving away for free. The whole thing is laughable to say the least.
Now this all changed drastically with the arrival of the Dreamcast and the Playstation. Sony launched a magazine Official U.S. Playstation Magazine the magazine came out every month. With every issue a disc was included that had game demos on it, this feature alone was enough for me to get a subscription. The Playstation had a lot of titles so providing players with demos was a brilliant move.
Don’t get me wrong I love reading game reviews, but peoples taste differ sometimes this can bias a review. Demos solve this problem by letting players get a taste of the game, not the whole game of course, but enough for them to form their own opinion on the game. Of course I’ve known people who have played demos of games only to get the game, and end up disappointed with the finished product. This is perhaps a failing of putting to much into demos. Sometimes people forget that a demo is not a full game it is part of a game. Perhaps it’s a stage or two, or the demo is set to end once you get to a certain point.
Demos are a marketing tool this is a fact that should never be glossed over. Are they a useful, and helpful marketing tool? Yes. That still does not change the fact that demos are still marketing tools. Thus the developers are going to put what they feel would appeal to people the most in their demos. As a means to entice more people to buy the full version of the game.
Still the value of demos to the player can’t be denied. The ability to get hands on with a game before you buy it is a valuable thing. Now with services like Steam, The Playstation Store, and other services like them getting demos has never been easier. Demos are a valuable asset that perhaps more gamers should take advantage of. As the video game market continues to grow I see the role of demos only expanding in the future.
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