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Do Game Demos Have an Adverse Effect On Sales?

Soulskill posted more than 5 years ago | from the why-buy-the-cow dept.

Games 178

An anonymous reader writes "Unigamesity has an analysis of the effects game demos and beta tests have on the full release of video games. Quoting: 'If we think about LittleBigPlanet, Age of Conan or Mirror's Edge, we notice they have two things in common: very successful and well received demo versions (or beta stages) and very poor, lower than anticipated game sales. And since these are not the only titles in which a demo (or the lack of it) appears to be connected with their commercial success, I believe we should analyze the influence demos have in the game world and debate: are game demos game killers?'"

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LittleBigPlanet (2, Insightful)

binarylarry (1338699) | more than 5 years ago | (#26493415)

I'm gonna have to blame the PS3 for LittleBigPlanet's failures.

Re:LittleBigPlanet (1)

Nerdfest (867930) | more than 5 years ago | (#26493549)

LBP seems like a neat game from what I've seen, so I can't explain that one. One thing that demos have stopped me from doing is buying bad games that I would have thought would be good. I've played many on XBL where I'm damn glad I played the demo ... some games look great, but play poorly. That said, I've bought games I wasn't sure I'd like because of the demo.

Re:LittleBigPlanet (1)

binarylarry (1338699) | more than 5 years ago | (#26493677)

I meant the fact that the PS3 is very expensive and few people own one.

Re:LittleBigPlanet (1)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 5 years ago | (#26494743)

Meh, other PS3 games sold better. I'll blame the quirky theme and focus on user-made content. Quirky stuff doesn't go down well in the market, never did. You can pretty much tell that a game isn't going to sell well if it has a niche design like that. Maybe gamers at large don't want quirky games and the internet subset and reviewers are just out of touch with them.

Re:LittleBigPlanet (4, Insightful)

shawb (16347) | more than 5 years ago | (#26493701)

Look at the release dates of the games in question. A better title would read "Does A Failing Economy Have An Adverse Effect On Sales Of Luxury Items?"

Re:LittleBigPlanet (2, Informative)

MBraynard (653724) | more than 5 years ago | (#26493863)

Well, despite a rough 2008, spending VG stuff grew by leaps and bounds - 20%.

See here. [cnet.com]

Re:LittleBigPlanet (1)

shawb (16347) | more than 5 years ago | (#26493985)

Point well taken... video games are fairly inexpensive as far as luxuries go.

Re:LittleBigPlanet (5, Interesting)

M1rth (790840) | more than 5 years ago | (#26494263)

The question was: "Do Game Demos Have An Adverse Effect On Sales?"

The answer is: "Only if the game in question sucks, is mediocre, or is a one-joke wonder."

A better question would be: "If they don't think their gameplay holds up, why won't they release a demo?"

Compare Doom, for example. Doom, on the face of it, rocked for its time. Giving away an entire 1/3 of the game, far from "having an adverse effect on sales", helped make it a sales king. Even when id software released Doom2, they had a demo out, and the demo still kicked ass and drove sales.

Now think of a lot of games with a demo that "hurt" sales. What games are these? They're mediocre titles. They're titles that just plain aren't worth $50-60 to buy in.

They're the titles that the companies have to trick you into buying. A flashy set of screenshots on the box (that may or may not be representative of the game at all, or may be images of the pre-rendered cutscenes masquerading as "gameplay footage"), a paid-for (or threatened-for) review in a few magazines to garner an award or catchy phrase on the box (how many "best XXX of XXX - XXX magazine" blurbs do we see every year?), "managed review scores" that embargo any site giving below X% so as to trick the early-comers into thinking the game is hot (watch how many games drop from 90% to below 70% aggregate within a month or two of release, when the REAL gamers have their say) and so on.

Kick out a demo of a stinker, and the demo will still be a stinker. Kick out a demo of a mediocre title, and you'll probably turn off those who don't have money (or time) to burn on mediocre titles. Kick out a demo of something that kicks ass, and you'll draw sales.

Examples: I bought Doom on the strength of the "demo." I bought Descent on the strength of the demo. I bought Portal for the 360 on the strength of the demo. I bought the first episode of the Penny Arcade games on the strength of the demo (ok, so I bought episode 2 on the strength of episode 1).

I dropped Rocky & Bullwinkle, N+, and Marathon:Durandal after deciding the demo proved they weren't for me. I might have bought Guitar Hero: World Tour but it's almost exactly the same as Rock Band, and I already burned two months' gaming budget buying Rock Band songs. I don't need to burn another two months' budget on the same exact songs (even if I just use the RB controllers) for GH:WT just to play an almost identical game.

Video games may be "fairly inexpensive as far as luxuries go", but I still budget myself. $120 a month = 2 games, now. I think that's pretty extravagant. Plus working full-time and spending time out with friends (you know, enjoying natural light, social contact, girls, the real world and all), I don't have the time to buy 6 games/month and play them all anyways. I have to pick and choose. If there are demos, it helps me pick out the good ones. If a game doesn't have a demo, then my rent-before-buy policy will serve the same purpose.

Lesson to the game purveyors: you're competing for $120 of my budget and 40 hours of my time each month. If you can't bring a demo to the table, then you've got one strike against you, because I know you don't think your gameplay will grip me enough to buy the game.

Re:LittleBigPlanet (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26494593)

That was a very well reasoned, adequately written argument. I'm sorry that slashdoters the only ones that are going to read it.

Re:LittleBigPlanet (1)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 5 years ago | (#26494823)

120$ a month can buy a lot more if you go bargain hunting instead of buying at relase. If you don't want more that money can go to other purposes. As for 20 hours per game, seems to me like the trend is towards more like 5 hours. Ever since the release of Unreal 2 I remember people complaining about every new blockbuster game being short.

Re:LittleBigPlanet (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26495715)

Kick out a demo of a stinker, and the demo will still be a stinker. Kick out a demo of a mediocre title, and you'll probably turn off those who don't have money (or time) to burn on mediocre titles. Kick out a demo of something that kicks ass, and you'll draw sales.

There are also cases where the demo for a game isn't representative of the full title. I'd say Sonic Unleashed is a great example of this; The demo itself being the closest they've ever come to a truly great 3D Sonic game, with the full title mostly consisting of a mediocre God of War clone. I'd say that Mirror's Edge is also a good example.

Re:LittleBigPlanet (1)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 5 years ago | (#26494755)

Nintnedo claims that 99% of the year's revenue growth for the game industry was just them. Make of that what you want.

Re:LittleBigPlanet (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 5 years ago | (#26496111)

The number of people playing video games skyrocketed recently due to the Wii - now over 70% of the US population plays games. The market size increased dramatically but sales went up only 20%. It seems like new gamers buy less games. How many games were made in 2008 as compared to other years?

Re:LittleBigPlanet (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26494391)

Age of Conan was released before the failing economy, it just sucked.

Re:LittleBigPlanet (1)

cgenman (325138) | more than 5 years ago | (#26494007)

How many people want to make video games, rather than play them? LBP was a game made for game makers, not people who just want to get lost in a fantasy. And while Mirror's Edge was a great concept, the execution definitely could have been better. Age of Conan a World of Warcraft killer? Do they have any idea how many MMO's lie dead now due to trying to go Head to Head with WoW's incredible installbase?

To step back to a bigger scale, 80% of good games fail to recoup. It's just a fact that making a great game is not enough to make great sales. There is that magical 20% that happens to strike the fancy of the time and catch on. The three games in the example were in the 80% (except, of course, LBP, which more than made a profit).

He does ramble to the point, that a demo can tap the excitement from a game rather than stoke it, but most games don't have the luxury of being as well known as Grand Theft Auto or Metal Gear Solid. There are bad demos, in that they either fail to interest, stifle existing interest, or simply satisfy interest. I seriously doubt any of the examples that he cites fall into that last category.

On a personal note, I played the Skate 2 demo last night. That definitely converted me into a potential future buyer. The same was true with Burnout Revenge, Dead Rising, and all of the XBL games I've picked up.

Re:LittleBigPlanet (1)

unapersson (38207) | more than 5 years ago | (#26494637)

LBP was a game made for game makers, not people who just want to get lost in a fantasy.

Are you sure you've actually played it? The game is excellent, full of constant surprises and an excellent multiplayer experience. We've played it a lot and the only person to really touch the level creation side of things is our five year old son.

Re:LittleBigPlanet (1)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 5 years ago | (#26494827)

Well, sales depend on what people think before buying it, not after. A game that gives people the impression that it's not for them will fail to sell.

Re:LittleBigPlanet (1)

bconway (63464) | more than 5 years ago | (#26493777)

What failures? It's a fantastic game and there is an enormous online community. There are always people available to play with.

Re:LittleBigPlanet (1)

sleeponthemic (1253494) | more than 5 years ago | (#26494075)

Sales

Re:LittleBigPlanet (1)

philspear (1142299) | more than 5 years ago | (#26494785)

I agree that the game is a great one, but the failure he was talking about was presumably that LBP may not have sold as many copies as they were expecting. This may have had something to do with the PS3 not selling as many as they were expecting. If they had expected to sell LBP to 50% of the PS3 users for a total of... uh, I have no idea what the real numbers are, so lets say 1 million... but only 0.6 million people own PS3s, then it's going to be impossible for LBP to sell their goal no matter how great it is.

(note that that number was just something I made up on the spot, PS3 fanatics feel free to get upset if that number is too low but know I will be laughing at you.)

Re:LittleBigPlanet (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26496061)

There are almost 20 million PS3s world wide. I don't think the size of the user base was the problem. LBP's lower than expected sales figure was probably due to its price. If it was 50% cheaper I would have bought it. In fact, I just bought it because it was on sale for 50%!

Re:LittleBigPlanet (1)

grumbel (592662) | more than 5 years ago | (#26495071)

I would say that a big reason why LittleBigPlanet underperformed is the stupid censor policy they run, deleting levels without explanation, deleting everything that might be a copyright violation, even so it would be valid fair use, deleting stuff on their own without waiting for a DMCA takedown notice from the copyright holder, etc. When news about how cool and creative people are with the game is followed by news how all the cool stuff from last week got deleted, its not much of a surprise that some people prefer to not buy it or at least not at full price.

first? (4, Insightful)

HeronBlademaster (1079477) | more than 5 years ago | (#26493419)

Only if the game sucks.

Re:first? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26493443)

Only if the game sucks.

Or if the demo is so good that it obviates the need for the game itself.

Re:first? (1)

pHatidic (163975) | more than 5 years ago | (#26493765)

Quake 3 Arena is probably the prime example of that. The demo was so good that there was absolutely no reason to buy the game. The only map that anyone ever played was the one that came with the demo anyway.

Re:first? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26495805)

An Inconvenient Truth

Hmm, the page youâ(TM)re looking for canâ(TM)t be found.

Re:first? (2, Interesting)

p0tat03 (985078) | more than 5 years ago | (#26494169)

Neither of those demos fit the bill: both Mirror's Edge and LittleBigPlanet did not give out so much content in the demos as to make the full game irrelevant.

Rather, we should look at Mirror's Edge specifically (it's the only one of the 3 named that I have played):

- Demo had incredible smooth-flowing motion, and awesome sense of immersion, is easy to pick up (but had hidden depth), and combat that added some spice without becoming overbearing.
- Full version had the same smooth-flowing motion and immersion, but now has levels where puzzles are difficult and sometimes downright obtuse. Combat becomes a huge part of the game, and honestly is simply not that well done. Level design broke up the "flow" of levels, which is what players were wanting to begin with. Add poor technical features such as clipping issues and you've got yourself a frustrating game to play.

Don't blame the demo. ME was a fine game, but the other 90% of the game that *wasn't* the demo was a sore disappointment compared to the polish demonstrated by the first level (i.e. the demo).

Re:first? (1)

NightRain (144349) | more than 5 years ago | (#26494659)

Whereas for me, I though Mirrors edge sounded interesting, downloaded the demo and realised I was mistaken. After working out how to move and jump, I realised that the game was going to consist of nothing but more of this, and that simply wasn't compelling enough to make it worth the purchase. Though to be fair, this is a game I was unlikely to buy /unless/ the demo blew me away.

Since getting my 360 recently, and having quota free content downloads from it with my ISP, I just grab any demo that looks vaguely interesting, and that has already made several sales and will be making several more. The thing they all had going for them though was gameplay that hit my sweet spot when I played the demo.

Re:first? (1)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 5 years ago | (#26494917)

Interesting. I've been grabbing any demo I came across but so far the only one that made a sale was Braid (because I was planning on buying that anyway). Especially the Arcade demos tend to be trainwrecks, so short that some don't even get through the tutorial, annoying messages to "buy now" whenever an archievement is reached (which happens very quickly in most games) and in many cases the text on the screen is so small that it's eye-straining to read. A demo shouldn't try to torture you into buying!

Re:first? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26494033)

If the game sucks there wont be a demo version.
Only a full-price-sucks-to-be-you-if-you-bought-it
version.

See GTA4.

Re:first? (1)

HeronBlademaster (1079477) | more than 5 years ago | (#26494309)

I've played demos of games that suck, so I disagree :P

Taste is subjective, so YMMV.

Maybe some games are shit (2, Insightful)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 5 years ago | (#26493423)

It's not that much of a stretch of the imagination to think that someone would demo Mirror's Edge and decide that it was so horrid that they'd rather buy some other game. Are you trying to suggest that gamers should be forced to cough up dough just to see how bad it is?

Re:Maybe some games are shit (4, Interesting)

binarylarry (1338699) | more than 5 years ago | (#26493441)

Maybe its more like... if your big draw relies on a gimmick that may wear thin during the demo, you may want to rethink your release strategy.

Re:Maybe some games are shit (3, Insightful)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 5 years ago | (#26495253)

Or your game design...

Re:Maybe some games are shit (1)

MaskedSlacker (911878) | more than 5 years ago | (#26493743)

*GASP*

Blasphemy!

Everyone knows that everything that big record companies, movie studios AND game studios churn out is grade A quality! The mere mention of the idea that the reason for a game to sell poorly is because it sucks is like suggesting the sky is purple! EVERYONE knows that entertainment products only sell badly when they are pirated or when consumers are otherwise cheating hard working media executives out of their money.

Re:Maybe some games are shit (1)

IamTheRealMike (537420) | more than 5 years ago | (#26495919)

Eh? Most people seem to agree that the ME demo was awesome and actually made the game seem better than it was (primarily because the game is quite short). I played the ME demo through once and immediately bought the game purely on the strength of that.

I think a bigger reason for the poor sales of ME is that it was released around the same time as sequels to several well known series (COD, GoW etc). If you look at the game charts at that time they were whitewashed by sequels.

Yes (5, Insightful)

Rinisari (521266) | more than 5 years ago | (#26493449)

I would say yes, game demos can kill a game for these reasons:

  • Folks play the demo and realize they probably won't like the game
  • Folks play the demo and have "had enough," feeling no need to purchase the full version
  • Folks play the demo and realize their system can't handle it, so they'll wait until they have a new system that can handle it (and by then have forgotten about the game

If you can try before you buy, of course sales are going to go down. Those who buy include those who tried and liked and those who didn't try but gave it a shot in the dark. The publisher/developer isn't really going to care what the user's opinion of the game is after the sale, lest a patch break the game or something like that.

A buyer of a game may or may not tell others about that game, and if he or she does tell others, he may support a purchase or warn against the purchase.

Demos serve a primary purpose: a test drive. If you like it, buy it and use it more. If you don't like it, don't buy it.

Re:Yes (1)

rolfwind (528248) | more than 5 years ago | (#26493771)

* Folks play the demo and realize they probably won't like the game

We live in an age with media saturation. If Game Company A offers no demos, Companies B, C... X, Y, Z will be more than happy to.

Unless the game A releases has some type of buzz then, B-Z get the sale.

* Folks play the demo and have "had enough," feeling no need to purchase the full version

This is easy to fix. I ran into demos like that. The point is to give a taste, not a meal.

Just like a restuarant shouldn't stuff you with free appetizers if it wants to sell product.

* Folks play the demo and realize their system can't handle it, so they'll wait until they have a new system that can handle it (and by then have forgotten about the game)

I'm not sure how significant this is. Software requirements and all.

Although I can see how owning a game that doesn't run fast enough may prompt someone to buy a better video card since they're already invested in the game.

Re:Yes (1)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 5 years ago | (#26495281)

This is easy to fix. I ran into demos like that. The point is to give a taste, not a meal.

Just like a restuarant shouldn't stuff you with free appetizers if it wants to sell product.

However many demos are so short that they're off-putting. Examples: A Kingdom For Keflings quits somewhere in the tutorial after countless popups that you should buy it every time there is an archievement. Bionic Commando Rearmed contains two short sections of the first level interspersed with dialogue that tells you that you should buy the game, then ends (doesn't that game have like 16 levels? Why not let the player complete 1-2 of them?). War World quits a minute or two into the game or if you happen to hit any button that would trigger a powerup.

Often demos are the first level of the game, the problem is that that is usually the tutorial and tutorials are something that you usally want to get past ASAP to get to the fun part (I've read complaints that tutorials are one nail in gaming's coffin, that you have to "work" for 30 minutes to an hour to actually start having fun) so the demo gives you a horrible impression of the game.

Re:Yes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26496299)

* Folks play the demo and have "had enough," feeling no need to purchase the full version

This is easy to fix. I ran into demos like that. The point is to give a taste, not a meal.

Just like a restuarant shouldn't stuff you with free appetizers if it wants to sell product.

That feeling of "had enough" might not be due to having eaten your fill. Are you going to eat your fill of a shit sandwich if they offer you a free bite first? I don't think so. One bite and you'll know it is a shit sandwich. You'll have "had enough" already.

In such cases that problem isn't easily remedied at all because by the time you're ready to release a demo your "shit sandwich" er... I mean game is probably about done or is done.

Well... (1, Interesting)

narcberry (1328009) | more than 5 years ago | (#26493453)

I have never purchased a game after playing the demo.

But I'm an impulse buyer, typically I play a demo after I own the game, so figure out where I fit in your slashmarket research.

Re:Well... (1)

pbhj (607776) | more than 5 years ago | (#26493481)

[...] so figure out where I fit in your slashmarket research.

Somewhere in the middle.

Re:Well... (4, Funny)

sleeponthemic (1253494) | more than 5 years ago | (#26494085)

typically I play a demo after I own the game, so figure out where I fit in your slashmarket research.

You would fit quite comfortably in the "fucking mystifying" category :-)

Cant hurt... (1)

hanchan07 (1136953) | more than 5 years ago | (#26493473)

I bought both LBP and Mirrors Edge, LBP I had been following for a while and actually bought my PS3 because there was a good game besides MGS4. Mirrors Edge on the other hand, I tried the demo after hearing about it from a friend and bought it because I liked it. I would probably not have bought Mirrors Edge had I not played the demo.

Re:Cant hurt... (1)

philspear (1142299) | more than 5 years ago | (#26494803)

I also bought mirror's edge because of the demo. I heard about it in the magazines, but wouldn't have ever invested $60 just because reviewers gave it kudos for being unique. The game sounded like there was a good chance I wouldn't like it.

Castle crashers was the same way, highly rated but I would not have bought it without a taste. It didn't exactly sound like something I would enjoy.

Definitely effected sales to me (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26493515)

I don't know about Age of Conan, but the demo for Mirror's Edge definitely told me I wasn't interested in the game, and the chance to play LittleBigPlanet told me enough that I'd never want to play it, either.

So I wouldn't say that demos prevent people from buying games. I know the chance to play in the beta for World of Warcraft got me to subscribe - but World of Warcraft has proven to be an excellent game.

I can also think of some shareware games from way back in the day that I'd never have bought the full version of if I hadn't tried it first.

In fact, Doom comes to mind as an amazingly successful game that had a demo.

So, no, giving away a demo doesn't necessarily kill sales. Being a horrible game kills sales. Mirror's Edge's demo proved to be an effort in trial-and-error game play. Playing LittleBigPlanet at a friend's proved that the game is a rather boring sidescroller and that the community levels suck.

That depends... (1)

lordvalrole (886029) | more than 5 years ago | (#26493535)

does your game have the words Turning Point in it?

http://www.gametrailers.com/player/31235.html [gametrailers.com]

Sorry Dean, had to go there.

Re:That depends... (1)

log0n (18224) | more than 5 years ago | (#26493669)

I haven't picked up TP yet (too many games im playing now) but I intend to when the queue lessens a bit. I got the demo on XBL and thoroughly enjoyed it. Generally I purchase my games after playing the demo.

Re:That depends... (1)

lordvalrole (886029) | more than 5 years ago | (#26493727)

Not that I want people to steer away from this masterpiece but this game is so bad it is the definition of what not to do in a video game. I want people to play it just for the entertainment value and laughs it will bring. Play TP and then play a game like CoD or any other FPS game in the last 5 years and it will be worth a comparison. If anything, don't pay money for it. Rent it and you will thank me later.

Re:That depends... (1)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 5 years ago | (#26495309)

Eh, it was a semi-decent C&C Generals clone [ign.com] (though infantry feels a bit too strong, maybe that's just because the AI doesn't counter it properly though) plus Nazi combat dirigibles are always fun so picking it up from the bargain bin was worth it overall... Oh, you mean having the words Turning Point first?

Good for consumers though (4, Insightful)

Spez (566714) | more than 5 years ago | (#26493537)

If we take the given fact that demos are there for the users to try the game before they buy it, to know if they like it enough to play a "full length" game, I think this is a good thing. And the only thing we can deduce from the fact that those game, if after the users played the demos, didn't want to buy them, well it meant that either they didn't like the game enough, they didn't feel like it was worth it, or the novelty of the game was over after the Demo.

In all the cases, the only thing the Demo did is to prevent the buyers from buying bad games or games they don't like. So it maybe hurt the game, but it was all for the benefit of the consumer.

On the other hand, if the game company want to try their hand at passing "bad" games for "good" games, so that the buyers buy bad stuff, they should stop the buyers from trying it before. If you want to sell a bottle of water as vodka to someone, don't let him taste it before!

like movie previews (1)

line-bundle (235965) | more than 5 years ago | (#26493545)

they only show the best bits of the game/movie.

Re:like movie previews (4, Interesting)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 5 years ago | (#26493675)

Actually, it's not anywhere close to this in games. And that's exactly why demos are (for most games) not really good for sales.

Let's be honest here. Most games today are prone to repetition. You do, essentially, the same thing over and over and over. Take the average FPS game. What's the difference between the first and the last level, usually? Different/more weapons and harder enemies. Where "harder" usually means "more" or "takes more shots or harder hitting guns to kill them". Add different map design and maybe different texture, and you're done with the differences.

If that game should have some distinct feature (like, say, a portal gun), you WILL see this feature in the demo. Simply because you have to show it (and there your comparison to the "good parts" of the movie is right). So you have seen that distinct feature that sets it apart from the rest of the crowd in the demo. Why bother with the full version?

OTOH, if you do not show that distinct feature, the player will just say "meh, another vanilla shooter game" and toss it immediately.

A good demo should show you something neat, should show you why you want to play this game, but should also make you want to see more of it. Maybe hint that there is more to be seen if you get the full version.

Instead, you usually get to see the first few levels of the game, you are allowed to play the tutorial or the first map. That's like showing the opener of the movie. Be honest. How many movies would you have wanted to see after seeing, say, the first 5 minutes?

Re:like movie previews (4, Informative)

cgenman (325138) | more than 5 years ago | (#26494103)

Mod parent up.

Making a demo is a complete PITA. You have to take premature code that isn't ready, splice everything in such a way that it kind of hangs together, finish your most polished level in a way that will probably need to be re-done anyway, and throw it all out there in a package that hopefully doesn't crash. Then re-do all of that emergency hack-job work for real. A demo can easily steal one to four development weeks from a team. And sadly, I have never used, seen, or built a demo with the skill or interest that a movie trailer can generate.

A big part of that is that you simply have to teach the player how to play. And as you build up your game, you should be training the player in all of the various types of things they will need as they develop new powers and abilities. Essentially, if you're going to provide a 15 minute taste of the full game, you have to provide the first 15 minutes of the difficulty curve, and maybe throw in a spectacular boss fight earlier than when it would normally occur. If you were to provide a highlight reel of the game, you would be rapid-fire throwing disparate gameplay systems at the player in ways that your loading time and finish level can't support (remember, the demo is usually made before the game is finished). If your game was that ready, you'd ship it. And, as these are taken from the general development team and budget, any time spent polishing your demo is less time spent polishing your game.

Compared to software and game demos, movie trailers are easy.

Re:like movie previews (2, Insightful)

quadrox (1174915) | more than 5 years ago | (#26495111)

Because it is completely impossible to have the dev-team crank out the demo AFTER the game has gone gold and the entire world is waiting for presses to finish and the CD's to be shipped? Plenty of games have proven that it is possible to have a good demo that gives a good/correct/hones feel of the game and still keeps the player wanting more.

Re:like movie previews (1)

AgentUSA (251620) | more than 5 years ago | (#26496001)

When would they have time then to work on the zero day patch that's needed because the publisher released the game before it was ready?

Re:like movie previews (4, Interesting)

quadrox (1174915) | more than 5 years ago | (#26495095)

Oh my fucking god - it's people in the game industry thinking like you that get us these generic fucking bullshit games.

Several games have already proven that it can indeed be different. The best example I can think of right now is the old half-life, though there are others as well. I enjoyed half-life as much as I did, because it was so varied. There was a lot of variance in the enemies to fight, and the marines were really great to fight against. Sometimes you were mostly "exploring" this awesome and big scientific complex, with all sorts of odd machinery and stuff. And sometimes you had to solve neat puzzles that were not too contrived but still got you thinking (a bit). The weapons also were very varied and generally extremely "satisfying" to use.

Yes, there is the better weapon/harder enemies progression as well, but that is absolutely fucking not the only thing you can do to make a game fun. I enjoyed every single minute of the original half-life because it got me so immersed as there was always something new and fresh to it. The developers really did everything they could to keep the players interest focused.

It's possible, the developers just need to be aware of the fact that there ARE ways to keep the players interest, instead of stringing one section of bland hallway after another (I'm looking at you, F.E.A.R.)

Demoers (2, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 5 years ago | (#26493569)

I'd be inclined to suspect that, while releasing a demo will serve to improve the correlation between your game's quality and its sales(this can cut either way) assuming that the demo isn't really dreadful or good enough to substitute for the real thing. However, I further suspect that your demo audience is not representative, and won't tell you as much as you might like.

For anybody with decent broadband and a modern hard disk, obtaining a demo is fairly quick and essentially free, so you should expect that anybody even vaguely interested will download and try it. For that matter, some people who are merely bored will probably do so as well. In addition, whatever crazed core of supporters your game has will, obviously, latch on to the demo or beta and set the web on fire about it. So, you should expect the demo crowd to be quite large and, in part, highly vocal, no matter how good or bad the game is.

Does having advance press screenings hurt movies? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26493571)

It's basically the same question. You take a risk that you'll get panned, and you'll never make it off the launch pad. On the other hand, if you don't, where do you get your word-of-mouth buzz that gets everyone excited for your product?

And, by the way, if you decide to bypass this process, many will think what you're producing has something to hide, and will be suspicious your product sucks.

Why would someone with a good product be worried about the demo "killing" the product?

Look. Mirror's Edge was a BAD GAME. I'm sorry. It had a great concept, and fun mechanics, but it was poorly executed and didn't capitalize on it's promise. THAT'S their problem. Not the fact that they made a demo.

The concept and and mechanics were it's greatest strength. The demo got people excited about the game. Had the game delivered, the excitement about the demo would have bought them HUGE sales numbers.

A great demo can give you "the curse of high expectations" (certainly the case with Mirror's Edge). But really, that's bitching about your meal ticket. Without impressive real game footage and a fun demo, no one would have given a rats ass about Mirror's Edge when it launched. No one trusts a company's press releases and we've all learned "pre-rendered" footage rarely matches real play.

You want to get me excited about your game? Give me a taste. If it's good, I'll buy it. If the final product delivers on that flavor, I'll keep playing and tell all my friends. Plus I'll go out to the google and tell everyone about how awesome your game is.

Crayon Physics is doing pretty well right now. Guess why?

Demos let people make informed decisions. (1)

artor3 (1344997) | more than 5 years ago | (#26493639)

If you release a demo for a good game, like Braid or Left4Dead, you get great sales. If you release a demo for a game that sucks, like Age of Conan, then you get bad sales. This shouldn't surprise anyone. In fact, it's rather disheartening to think that a company might think to themselves, "Hmm, our game isn't doing that great in the focus groups.... should we improve it? Nah! Let's just trick as many people into dropping fifty to sixty bucks on it as possible, before they realize its no good."

BF1942 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26493649)

Battlefield 1942 would disagree. Demo was amazing and the game did very well as a result on an otherwise "out of left field" game.

bad science (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26493665)

Perhaps we should actually do a study where more then 3 games are compared before we formulate an opinion.

Comparing different games with demos (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26493683)

This is stupid. It's impossible to to measure the effects of demos by comparing games in the real world. Your examples could be easily explained by other factors as well. You would have to seperate two groups with no contact with each other and see if they would buy the game (one group with demo) of a specific game.

Reasons for not buying a game after playing a demo is pretty obvious (like not liking it after play or not being able to run) but that's also balanced out by those who wouldn't have bought the game without knowing about the game (ie demo).

it's a question of who buys your games more, impluse buyers or knowledge buyers but you won't figure that out by mere discusion.

Conan (3, Interesting)

Kamokazi (1080091) | more than 5 years ago | (#26493725)

Age of Conan is a bad example. It sold 800k copies, which is pretty good for many PC games. The number of subscribers retained is miniscule though.

What they did was made the first 20 levels of the game awesome. The remainder....to be very kind....not so awesome.

Basically, if your game is good, demo it with a hardcore cliffhanger ending. If your game is bad, don't demo it at all and show pretty screenshots and generate false hype.

News Flash! (1)

WiiVault (1039946) | more than 5 years ago | (#26493767)

Crappy game demos cause crappy end sales? How is this news? If I get the chance to try a game and determine it sucks of course I won't buy it.

the NEW factor (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26493793)

most games today are the same, they repead the same styl over and over again.
ppl don't buy games because of the story or sth. else anymore.
ppl buy games because they have the NEW factor
ppl don't really want to buy the game, they want to buy the NEW factor
the demo has that factor as well.
you don't need the game anymore after you had the demo

High ad budget = high demo downloads. (4, Insightful)

Peganthyrus (713645) | more than 5 years ago | (#26493841)

"very successful and well received demo versions" seems to translate to "widely-downloaded demo" rather than "demo that makes people rant and rave about how awesome this will be".

LittleBigPlanet was getting a lot of Sony's promotional efforts behind it. This article notes that Sony is hoping it'll be a console-selling game.

Mirror's Edge also had a lot of EA's promotion behind it.

I dunno how much puffery Conan was getting as I refuse to play MMORPGs; I only become aware of them when half my friends get sucked into them.

So... lots of people have heard of at least two of the titles this article discusses. Lots of people are curious about them because of all the articles praising them as revolutionary, important, etc. So lots of people downloaded the thing, and decided it was not for them.

Isn't that what a demo is for? Hell, I'm one of the people that downloaded the Mirror's Edge demo solely because of all the hype. I didn't even finish the demo level because I really just don't like first-person games. I also downloaded Space Giraffe and Braid, played the demos, paid my money, and told my friends about these awesome games I just bought.

Lots of people pick up books in the bookstore, flip through them and read a few pages, then put them back on the shelf unpurchased. I would bet that if we had any way of counting this, we would find that books with an aggressive press campaign have more people pick them up to flip through.

Re:High ad budget = high demo downloads. (1)

Nerdfest (867930) | more than 5 years ago | (#26494225)

The demo of Braid sold me, and 2 friends as well. If it wasn't for the demo, it's not very likely I would have considered it.

Re:High ad budget = high demo downloads. (1)

rpillala (583965) | more than 5 years ago | (#26496215)

You might be interested in a book I'm reading called Why We Buy: The Science of Shopping by Paco Underhill. Also, he has a company [envirosell.com] that counts the sort of thing you're talking about with respect to books and marketing.

Tag: Demo-crats (2, Funny)

WiiVault (1039946) | more than 5 years ago | (#26493925)

Seriously do it.

Serious error in premise (3, Insightful)

Zerth (26112) | more than 5 years ago | (#26493983)

He equals "downloads of demo" with "success". Downloading the demo only indicates enough interest to try something free, not enjoyment and barely intent to purchase.

If he really wanted to predict success, the demos should end with "Press A if you liked this demo, B if you intend to buy the full game, or X if you thought it was crap"

Then you might have a handle on a game's future success.

Wouldn't matter anyway (2, Insightful)

Cathoderoytube (1088737) | more than 5 years ago | (#26494027)

That's is sort of a dumb argument. The idea is that if gamers try a game and decide it's not worth buying, they won't buy it? Does this apply to game rentals as well? What about game reviews? In those cases developers won't see any revenue for their games, but it allows gamers a glimpse of what the game is. In the perfect world developers would make nothing but great games and we wouldn't have to worry about trying them before hand. Unfortunately that's not the case.

Let's actually take a look then, shall we? (4, Interesting)

Werthless5 (1116649) | more than 5 years ago | (#26494127)

"LittleBigPlanet, Age of Conan or Mirror's Edge, we notice they have two things in common: very successful and well received demo versions (or beta stages) and very poor, lower than anticipated game sales."

LittleBigPlanet = great demo! Similarly, great first hour or two of game! The rest of the game is boring and monotonous. In other words, the demo is actually more fun than the real game.

Age of Conan = WOW clone but not as good, people always praise WOW clones but prefer to play the original

Mirror's Edge = Great concept, except the rest of the game is the same thing over and over. Again, this means the demo is great, but the rest of the game is basically the demo over and over again.

What do all three of these games have in common? THEY SUCK!

Warhammer 40k had a well-received demo and it sold very well, enough to warrant 3 expansions and a soon to be released sequel that some claim will be Starcraft 2's main competition.

Speaking of Starcraft, it's one of the best selling games of all time and it had a well-received demo.

WOW has a demo and it has the highest subscription rate out of any MMO in the country.

Sorry, idea was initially interesting but fails on a many levels.

Re:Let's actually take a look then, shall we? (1)

DarkProphet (114727) | more than 5 years ago | (#26495371)

WOW has a demo and it has the highest subscription rate out of any MMO in the country.

Exactly what I was going to say. The funny thing is, the WoW 10-level demo actually kinda sucks insofar that you don't get to run an instance or pvp. But, I guess that stuff is a little complicated for a newbie taking a test drive, so simple is good.
The cool thing about WoW is that the full game basically gets more kickass the further into it you get. Some titles like AoC apparently couldn't deliver on that point. My new boss wants me to try Lord of the Rings Online, which I am sort-of interested in trying, but AFAICT there is no demo, and I just can't justify buying another MMO 'sight-unseen'. I don't want to play with him if the game sucks, even if he is my boss XD

Re:Let's actually take a look then, shall we? (2)

grumbel (592662) | more than 5 years ago | (#26495475)

LittleBigPlanet = great demo!

Which demo? Where can I get that? Unless I am not completly mistaken that game never had a demo, but just a closed beta test.

Re:Let's actually take a look then, shall we? (1)

IamTheRealMike (537420) | more than 5 years ago | (#26495955)

this means the demo is great, but the rest of the game is basically the demo over and over again.

Well yeah, but that means if you liked the demo then you'll probably like the full game. I was one of those people. If anything my biggest problem with the game was that there just wasn't enough of it.

Now sure if you don't like the jumping/running mechanic, it's not the game for you, but they had enough variety in the level designs that the demo was pretty representative of the real game experience without making the game boring.

LBP - what failure? (2, Interesting)

tbird20d (600059) | more than 5 years ago | (#26494131)

very poor, lower than anticipated game sales

LittleBigPlanet is closing in on 2 million sales after 10 weeks. See vgchartz. [vgchartz.com]

It started off a little slow, but picked up steam through the holidays. This game doesn't support the hypothesis.

Re:LBP - what failure? (1)

p0tat03 (985078) | more than 5 years ago | (#26494199)

And look at Mirror's Edge. A successful game by most measures, though not quite as successful as EA had hoped. But look at the review scores: those explain your problem.

Goes both ways (2, Interesting)

JimboFBX (1097277) | more than 5 years ago | (#26494401)

Kinda a silly article since it probably goes both ways.

Games I bought because of the demo:
Klick and Play
Dark Reign 2
World of Goo
Braid
Battlefield 2
Defcon
Shadowgrounds
The Ship (free weekend)
Red Orchestra (free weekend)
Day of Defeat: Source (free weekend)
Sam and Max: Episode 1 (and later both seasons)

Games I didn't buy because of the demo:
Left 4 Dead (fast zombies didn't appeal to me)
Strong Bad's Cool Game for Attractive People
a few I can't remember

Games I bought because of beta:
Red Alert 3

Overall, for me at least, the ones I've bought are ones where I didn't have trust that it was good quality beforehand or was unsure I would enjoy it. The ones that turned me away are the ones I was hyped up to think it was good beforehand either by good reviews or marketing. I probably would have bought them had it not for the demo.

Games I bought because of the demo (1)

troll8901 (1397145) | more than 5 years ago | (#26494669)

Games I bought because of the demo:
Shadowgrounds + Shadowgrounds Survivor
Bloodrayne 2 (because sex sells)
Uplink

Collections I bought because I've played some games in the collection before:
id Software Super-Pack (from Keen to DOOM3)
Orange Box
Half-Life 1's other games (OpFor, Blue, TFC)

Several people have written very well on their personal gaming experiences. I hope they'll write more!

Couldnt agree more (1)

cliffski (65094) | more than 5 years ago | (#26495661)

I've bought tons of games because the demos kicked ass. I got cossacks because of the demo, and ended up buying the whole series and the demos for battlefield 2 and castle wolfenstein also got me to buy.
I think if you are developing a game and are concerned that people playing the demo won't buy it, you need to put more effort into the game.

As a developer, I can see how someone could show statistical evidence persuading me that no demos means more sales, but I still wouldn't do it. I'd rather my sales be a bit lower overall than thinking I'd 'tricked' people into buying a game they didn't like, and field lots of angry emails from people who feel let down.
As a gamer, I hate it when games have no demos. As a game developer, it's almost good news for me, because there is less competition for my demos, and it also helps set me out as being a company that always has a release-day demo available.

Heroes of Might & Magic, etc... (1)

owlman17 (871857) | more than 5 years ago | (#26496035)

Yes it does go both ways. I have a list like yours but one of my favorite examples is HOMM. I downloaded the demo for HOMM2 on a whim around half a decade ago. (Even by then it was already pretty dated.) It had a single large map but like Diablo, the placement of monsters, treasures were different each time. Plus you could set the difficult level, etc so no two games were alike. In theory, that would have been "more than enough" as an earlier poster had said. Heck, I wasn't even into that genre but somehow, I got hooked! I promptly got out and got the HOMM Platinum Edition that had HOMM 1, 2 & 3 plus expansion packs for about $39. (Same with StarCraft 1, KKND2.)

Demos that were "enough" for me were American McGee's Alice, Sacrifice, Giants: Citizen Kabuto, etc. Didn't go out to buy the full versions. Well, that's just me. Its a matter of taste.

I have the GalCiv demo and I most probably will buy the full version.

In short, I think the net effect of demos is more positive than negative on sales. I don't download every single demo that comes out. Sometimes, I just read the reviews and make a decision based on that. (Didn't get Spore or RA3.)

And demo or not, I'm definitely getting StarCraft 2!

About the games with no demos... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26494431)

"...titles which offered no demo versions were still incredibly well received by the public and sold big time: Grand Theft Auto IV and Metal Gear Solid 4 are probably the most recent examples."

These are two well established series and I don't see that demos would hurt the sales that much, with the possible exception of people who bought them just to see what all the hype was about. But I get the feeling they would've sold just fine even with demos.

And then you have the games which had demos but didn't do well, such as Little Big Planet and Mirror's Edge. These are brand new properties and game styles we've not really seen before, so demo or no demo people are always scared of new things.

Ultimately it's hard to say without a time machine. For my own part, I never would have bought Motorstorm if I hadn't played the demo.

Mirror's edge (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26494451)

A demo can say many things about a game. What it doesn't say, however, is the amount of content. In this case, Mirror's edge is a prime example. While I did in fact buy the game, I braced myself for what other people had already told me; a game that can be finished within 6 hours on your FIRST try. In fact, the game challenges you to beat the game under this mark. While I never tallied up the minutes, the game falls very short of regular game length.

Re:Mirror's edge (1)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 5 years ago | (#26495521)

From what I hear about many modern games 6 hours is the regular game length except the games usually come with multiplayer modes that are the real point of the game.

Demos DO affect game sales (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26494537)

If a game doesn't have demo, I don't buy it. I have been burned WAY TOO MANY times. I can't stand spending $50+ for a game that I end up not playing at all. There have also been many times where I play the demo, and find that the game is crap so I don't buy it.

Reviews (1)

owlman17 (871857) | more than 5 years ago | (#26496047)

Why not read the reviews? Or ask people who've played them if they're any good? Or you could test drive them (full versions) yourself at a friend's house. Works for me.

Wow. (1)

_Sprocket_ (42527) | more than 5 years ago | (#26494551)

Yeah. I can see how that worked out for Age of Conan. World of Warcraft also had a very well received beta period and the outcome was also entirely unexpected.

Overall yes, specifically no. (1)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 5 years ago | (#26494725)

I've seen a study that found out that indie games sell better without a demo available (the page was randomly served with and without a demo download option, the one without the option showed more sales, I presume they used cookies to make sure they serve the same version to the same people or something) but I don't think the failure of these specific games is to blame on the demo. Mirror's Edge and Little Big Planet are stylized games with quirky game design (one is a first person jump&run, the other is a game about user created content). If we look at the history of critically lauded stylized games these tend to fail in the marketplace. In fact I'd say LBP was very successful for a title in its position (some time ago I saw a sales figure of 1.3 million, might have increased by now, games like that tend to be in the 200k-500k range) though that may have been related to the massive hype the game received ("the last game you'll ever need", the PS3's killer app that will catapult it to #1, advertising everywhere, even a console bundle for it) which niche titles like that usually lack.

Other examples in the article weren't exactly flops, of course the demos will get more players than the final game (costs nothing to grab a demo but the full versions of the games listed were 70€). I think complaints are only really warranted when a game fails to perform as expected, that free versions will outperform the paid-for ones is pretty much a duh.

It's simple. (1)

Draconix (653959) | more than 5 years ago | (#26494761)

A demo for a good game will increase sales, and for a bad game it will decrease sales. Solution: stop publishing bad games.

I wouldn't have bought Starcraft, Diablo 2, or anything made by Spiderweb Software, for example, if not for their demos. Can't think of many bad games I actually bothered with the demo (if it existed) of, though.

Why the constant stream of excuses (3, Interesting)

philspear (1142299) | more than 5 years ago | (#26494849)

Dear videogame industry,

Why do you spend so much time and effort coming up with excuses and reasons why you failed on X game but not Y game? Make good games, offer them at a reasonable price, and don't mess up our computers/consoles to run it, and we will give you MONEY for it. Seriously. The other factors like "do demos hurt or help" are trivial at best, you still haven't learned the most important lesson that quality products = sales.

There are plenty of examples of this, it boggles the mind that you consistently look for alternative explanations. "Generic minigame collection 5 didn't sell too well. Maybe it was because people don't like games that have 5s or a multiple of 5 in the title!" No, it was because generic minigames 5 was crap and no one wanted to own it (as opposed to generic minigame collection 4.) THAT'S why you don't have as much money as you wanted.

If you find yourself not having as much money after making a game as you expected, don't immediately jump to blaming things like weather patterns in florida, first determine if it was a good game. Then ask yourself if your expectations were at all reasonable. AFTER that you can ask yourself what went wrong.

and no demos would be better? (1)

mjensen (118105) | more than 5 years ago | (#26495075)

"...very successful and well received demo versions (or beta stages) and very poor, lower than anticipated game sales..."

Someone else noted why people wouldn't purchase a game after seeing the demo. Good points there.

Demos also help generate interest in a game. If you don't want to have demos anymore, prepare for the possibility that there will be even less sales because people don't want to spend money on an unknown.

Or maybe the "anticipated games sales" was unrealistic in the first place.

They have an effect indeed (1)

Nickors (1454923) | more than 5 years ago | (#26495343)

Of course they have a massive effect. But it really depends if the demo showcases the games best aspects or not.. Demos that give you the first or second level is not really showing you the games potential because we all know the first levels are the "Hi, Your dumb because your new so let us explain everything that is already obvious but sadly there are still people who don't get it". Simply if games showed more of the massive rule bending aspects of the game then demos would benefit.

Whats up with game prices in the UK? (1)

grumbel (592662) | more than 5 years ago | (#26495519)

While at the topic of game sales, whats up with PS3 game prices in the UK? LittleBigPlanet, MirrorsEdge, Resistence2, Fallout3 and a whole bunch of other pretty new games sell for less then half the regular price on Amazon.co.uk.

That makes no sense (2, Informative)

deveraux (1400161) | more than 5 years ago | (#26495691)

No offense, but that theory is nonsense and I doubt that the author did proper research on the topic. Age of Conan failed because at the time it was filled with a two or at max four weeks of content and that was it. The gameplay totally changed after the first 20 levels, from a deep single player action-adventure - which was alot of fun in the vein of Oblivion and The Witcher - to a dull and empty game with no content. ALSO: Promised features that didn't make it into the release version. I fell in love with this game and bought it BECAUSE of the demo and I still feel betrayed by Funcom. Basically what the author is suggesting is, that a small taste of something good makes us don't wanna eat more of it. Makes no sense and is not human nature.

Demos are Misused Tools (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26495891)

Demos are extremely good for any game that cannot afford proper advertisement because (if the demo is good) it is advertisement that will be passed on by recommendation. So, for small studios trying to get a start, demos are great.

If the game is already heavily advertised, a demo is going to hurt it. The demo lets people who are just wondering about the game try it out. Some people wouldn't have bought the game without the demo, some would have tried the game if they couldn't get the demo. In the end, if the demo is very good, the best you're likely to get is a break-even, while a decrease in sales is likely possible as well.

So, Sony and EA should sack the demos, garages should pump them out.

Possibly (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26495931)

I remember when the demo of Return to Castle Wolfenstein came out, and the game was always full of people, so after I decided that I loved the demo I went out and bought it. To absolutely no surprise, the full game (which had 10 times the multiplayer games) all of them were packed for the longest time. So I guess it all depends on whether or not there is a good replay value to the game.

Other factors (1)

EightBits (61345) | more than 5 years ago | (#26496123)

There are other factors to consider too. I purchased Unreal Tournament 2003 based on how much I liked the first game and the demo for 2003.

Rumor had it that Halo was never going to be released on the PC in order to bolster Xbox sales. Lo and behold, that turned out to be false and one year later, Unreal Tournament 2004 comes out to compete with Halo.

What was 2004 but 2003 + vehicles? While I loved the demo, I was pissed that I spent $50 on the game only to have the next one come out 1 year later. Of course, I didn't buy it even though the demo rocked. Had they offered a good discount to 2003 customers, I probably would have bought it.

There are no doubt other factors than this, but release dates too close to each other (whether to competitor's products or your own) are definitely a very big problem.

I think they have a bigger effect on FUTURE sales (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 5 years ago | (#26496147)

Naturally it's not past sales they effect, but what I mean is that if I buy a game based on the demo and then find out that everything good about the game was in the demo and the game actually sucked when you balance out everything good with everything bad, then I will probably never trust that publisher again. Of course, what matters even more is if the game sucks - after Black & White, I couldn't bring myself to buy the sequel, for example, because I simply couldn't trust that it wouldn't be more frustrating than rewarding. (From the reviews, I did the right thing.)

My two cents... (1)

Notabadguy (961343) | more than 5 years ago | (#26496159)

My wife and I both want(ed) to play Little Big Planet. With that said, there's no way in the ninth circle of hell that we're going to invest in a PS3 to do so. Proprietary consoles can suck a fattie. Now, I wonder how many other potential non-consumers there are out there in my shoes? At least Square Enix is shaping up; Sony doesn't get a stranglehold on Final Fantasy anymore. I hope that turns into other a *lot* of other developers abandoning one-console contracts. Metal Gear, Grand Theft Auto, Final Fantasy as multi-console releases? =)
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