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Crytek Thinks Free Game Demos Will Soon Be Extinct

Soulskill posted more than 4 years ago | from the not-like-we-could-run-a-crysis-2-demo-anyway dept.

The Almighty Buck 379

An anonymous reader writes with this quote from Develop: "The CEO of indie studio Crytek has defended EA's divisive 'premium downloadable content' strategy, while also predicting the extinction of free game demos. ... Crytek's co-founder Cevat Yerli said he wasn't sure that a demo of Crysis 2 was going to be released. He said: 'A free demo is a luxury we have in the game industry that we don't have in other industries such as film. Because we've had this free luxury for so long, now there are plans to change this people are complaining about it. The reality is that we might not see any free game demos in the long term. ... Yes it is quite unpopular, but this is a messaging issue. The problem with any new strategy like this is it initially may appear as a blood-hungry, money-grabbing strategy. But I think there is a genuine interest here to give gamers something more than a small demo released for free. Really, what this is, is an attempt to salvage a problem. The industry is still losing a lot of money to piracy as the market becomes more online-based. So it’s encouraging to see strategies outlined to combat this.'"

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really? (5, Insightful)

leachlife4 (638543) | more than 4 years ago | (#31877700)

"A free demo is a luxury we have in the game industry that we don't have in other industries such as film" what are trailers? they provide about the same relative amount of the product before paying for it

Re:really? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31877752)

Exactly. With a trailer you get to watch a bit of the movie, with a demo you get to play a bit of the game. By comparison, game trailers are sort of like a movie trailer where you only get to hear the audio. Demoes aren't a luxury, they're a courtesy.

Re:really? (1)

blai (1380673) | more than 4 years ago | (#31877780)

who mentioned "game trailers"?

Re:really? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31878060)

The poster above you.

Re:really? (1)

Daengbo (523424) | more than 4 years ago | (#31878128)

He was talking about movie trailers, I think.

Re:really? (3, Insightful)

0x537461746943 (781157) | more than 4 years ago | (#31877908)

I agree. I see trailers for movies just like demos. If free demos started becoming paid for demos it would just cause me to buy less games... which would be a good thing for my finances. I discover new games that I like on PSN because of the demos. Not everyone has the time to read every preview and be up on the latest games coming out. I depend on PSN demos to see what games I like. Without that I know for a fact I would buy less games. At this point I would question the quality of a game that required a paid for demo. Are they so sure they will loose a sale that they need money for the demo?

Re:really? (2, Interesting)

mrmeval (662166) | more than 4 years ago | (#31877784)

I just paid 20 bux for World of Goo. They gave away the experimental version and have a demo version. It runs on about anything as it's Linux/Mac friendly. There is a native version for Linux, Mac and Windows. The Windows version even runs under wine fairly well.

Re:really? (4, Interesting)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | more than 4 years ago | (#31877860)

No - there is a difference in it that I think most people would agree on. With a trailer, you are trying to build hype for the movie. Get its name out there and make it desirable to watch.

A demo, on the other hand, tend to works the opposite way for gamers. I grab a demo which means I'm already interested in seeing what the game is like. I use the demo to determine whether or not I want to purchase it.

I can't remember the last time I went out of my way to look up a movie trailer to see if I wanted to see the movie. It HAS happened, but not nearly on the same scale.

Re:really? (4, Insightful)

alan_dershowitz (586542) | more than 4 years ago | (#31878246)

A few years ago, I don't remember what movie it was, but about five minutes from the movie was released onto the Internet as a promotion. I thought about how innovative this was, and wished other movies would do this too. This functions as a "demo" of a movie more than a preview does. I think it's comparable and good.

Crytek is acting like interactivity isn't a major factor in games. I can't truly evaluate a game without playing it for a little while. In particular this is a big deal because, unlike other things, I can't seem to return a game because it sucked.

Re:really? (1)

w0mprat (1317953) | more than 4 years ago | (#31877882)

In many cases all of the good bits are in the trailer. In fact trailers are considered a medium in themselves, there are a number of competitions around the world for short film makers to make a movie trailer for a hypothetical movie.

I can't think how many times I've i've been excited by a game or film trailer only to be disappointed enough with the end result to not buy it. Which leaves me wondering do we even need the commercial release? Crytek should just release cool looking game trailers.

Scratch that, how about just let me read interesting articles about games and game technology, don't even bother releasing anything but screenshots.

Re:really? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31878050)

I think that was the model 3D Realms were trying with Duke Nukem Forever.

Or at least, that's how they should be spinning it. ;)

Re:really? (1)

ArsonSmith (13997) | more than 4 years ago | (#31878236)

Didn't DNF do that?

Re:really? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31877966)

Translation: There are so many game failures we are not going to take the risk of giving people an opportunity to pan it before they've laid out their cash at Best Buy and cannot get a refund once its opened.

Re:really? (1)

Daengbo (523424) | more than 4 years ago | (#31878202)

Exactly. This strategy just screams "Our game isn't innovative or interesting enough to make you want to pay to play more than an hour of it.

If they wanted to charge something silly, like $1-2 for a demo, I could see paying that.

Demo is best way to see how it runs (3, Interesting)

Mistakill (965922) | more than 4 years ago | (#31877978)

If they dont release a demo, then id just buy the game (if i think i wanted it, no promises i do), and if it doesnt run well, id return it within 7 days at my local games store, for a full refund)

thats if i wanted it... Farcry 2 is a brilliant example... the first game was very fun... the second was so repetitive, i hated it...

Re:Demo is best way to see how it runs (1)

mysidia (191772) | more than 4 years ago | (#31878076)

I suppose if they didn't release a demo, I might just find some P2P server and grab a copy of the full game off it, and play it for a few hours, if I think the game might be remotely worthwhile.

Of course danger there is I may like it so much I play all the way through, delete it, and forget about it, without ever buying the game....

Back in the day, before e-commerce, you could try games at the store before buying them, and I always did

I for one am never going to spend money on something I haven't played.

A certain portion of their customers will be the same way, and they will miss out on a marketing opportunity and a lot of potential customers by not offering any demo.

Re:really? (1)

Gerzel (240421) | more than 4 years ago | (#31878036)

Indeed it is a "luxury" that largely doesn't help big labels like EA because they can go off of brand-name and star-power to sell their games, actually showing off game-play before someone buys the game means that the consumer might be forewarned on crap-ware titles. Smaller game companies with less reputation and ability to hire big names of course will still need demos.

Of course that doesn't say anything about there being smaller companies. EA and their ilk can make sure of that as a separate matter.

Doesn't change my opinion (0, Troll)

Wyatt Earp (1029) | more than 4 years ago | (#31877706)

I played Farcry and was terribly unimpressed with Crytek, this does nothing to make me want to spend money on their products.

What? Malaria isn't fun? (3, Funny)

AmazingRuss (555076) | more than 4 years ago | (#31877720)

I personally loved having to scrounge around for pills like a junkie in withdrawl.

Re:What? Malaria isn't fun? (1)

Wyatt Earp (1029) | more than 4 years ago | (#31877826)

I really, really hated the save system in Farcry. Then when the story switched to mutants from genetic engineering I was really ticked off.

Save complaints (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 4 years ago | (#31878220)

Would you rather have an autosave that runs in the background every three seconds, with no ability to load anything but the latest saved state of a given campaign?

Re:Doesn't change my opinion (1)

rjolley (1118681) | more than 4 years ago | (#31877848)

I think you missed the point of this article. I'll give you a hint: It's about game demos going the way of the dodo NOT about whether or not Crytek makes decent games.

Re:Doesn't change my opinion (1)

Wyatt Earp (1029) | more than 4 years ago | (#31877930)

I think you missed the point of my comment. If I was on the fence or was rethinking my position on a publisher making me pay to try a game isn't going to get me to try a game.

Just Cause 2, the free demo got me to buy it.

Re:Doesn't change my opinion (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31878044)

Sounds to me like: we know our game sucks, so we're not going to let you try it before paying for it. Then there is a soup of words containing "piracy", so they can later blame the pirates when the game does not sell. (Never played one of Crytek's games, so I don't know how good or bad they are.)

This will insure.. (5, Insightful)

MatrixManiac (448609) | more than 4 years ago | (#31877714)

So now you won't find out our game is crap till you buy it! :p

Re:This will insure.. (0, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31877734)

You can always go on TPB and get a free demo that never expires and is superior to the product you buy in stores.

Re:This will insure.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31877742)

ensure.

Re:This will insure.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31877764)

Not to mention, you wont find out how well the game runs on your machine, and has to trust the completely untrustworthy published system requirements.

Given that Crysis runs very poorly, even for what it does, it no surprise they are the ones doing this.

Re:This will insure.. (2, Insightful)

Pinhedd (1661735) | more than 4 years ago | (#31878134)

and i will not buy it until I am sure it is not crap, not full of bugs and runs on my hardware. Game developers and publishers have been getting progressively worse at all of those over the past decade. Hence, piracy will continue to rise.

Let them get rid of free demos (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31877748)

I love it!

As an indie game developer, I love the fact that I can be agile while the other guys are big & dumb. I can take risks on my titles. Kill off your free game demos. It just gives me one more tool to be profitable.

While you are at it, why don't you do any of these creative things. You can have this list for free

a. Require micropayments to save single player games
b. Require micropayments to save high scores
c. Never release free content for your games
d. Never give your community modding tools
e. Lock down your artwork and other IP, so 3rd parties cannot make fan sites.

It will make my job that much easier if you do.

Re:Let them get rid of free demos (5, Funny)

blai (1380673) | more than 4 years ago | (#31877796)

f. require payments to exit the game -- that's where the big buck is!

Re:Let them get rid of free demos (1)

Nasarius (593729) | more than 4 years ago | (#31877968)

Totally agree. I'm sure the big developers/publishers will continue to profit, but they'll also drive away a certain hardcore audience that has entirely different wants. Indie games are flourishing, and very likely will continue to do so. No DRM + a focus on gameplay over graphics = win.

I'd keep an eye on EA/BioWare, though. They're managing to be somewhat evil (neutering resale by offering "free" one-time DLC) while maintaining light DRM, a strong mod community, and damn good games.

Re:Let them get rid of free demos (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31878166)

I love it!

As an indie game developer, I love the fact that I can be agile while the other guys are big & dumb. I can take risks on my titles. Kill off your free game demos. It just gives me one more tool to be profitable.

While you are at it, why don't you do any of these creative things. You can have this list for free

a. Require micropayments to save single player games
b. Require micropayments to save high scores
c. Never release free content for your games
d. Never give your community modding tools
e. Lock down your artwork and other IP, so 3rd parties cannot make fan sites.

It will make my job that much easier if you do.

Please don't give them more ideas!!! :)

Re:Let them get rid of free demos (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31878208)

The problem is, when you something you put out becomes a cult hit, the big guys will likely buy you out, likely fire you, and proceed to rape the name into the ground. And that's ignoring that because they are established, they likely have some measure of control over the distribution channels.

Re:Let them get rid of free demos (1)

Elshar (232380) | more than 4 years ago | (#31878222)

I wish I had mod points. I also wish you'd posted this as non-AC.

Mod parent +insightful! Go indie games! :)

Re:Let them get rid of free demos (0)

tepples (727027) | more than 4 years ago | (#31878244)

c. Never release free content for your games d. Never give your community modding tools e. Lock down your artwork and other IP, so 3rd parties cannot make fan sites.

I think most of them already do this. Can you name a split- or shared-screen video game that does have free content and community mods?

only if your game sucks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31877766)

games that suck are the problem,I have ended up with a bunch of games that stink if I have played a demo I wouldn't buy them, if you game suck make sure you don't give away any demos or trailers

When the game is great I'll be happy to get 2 copies

I agree (1)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | more than 4 years ago | (#31877772)

Free Demo's will probably be phased out over time. As big studios go on, they'll make the Beta open to select purchasers of other titles of theirs. See example; Halo:Reach Beta open to ODST buyers. Or Blizzard's Beta entries being determined by how much you play their other successful games.

Its reached a point where consumers can help developers out in beta testing - and that studios can selectively choose who to test it so they know their target audience better. A good symbiotic relationship, if you ask me.

Re:I agree (1)

cheesewire (876598) | more than 4 years ago | (#31877944)

Free Demo's will probably be phased out over time. As big studios go on, they'll make the Beta open to select purchasers of other titles of theirs

Okay, all well and good for rewarding their existing base of loyal customers, but what about new customers? You know, the ones who use demos as a preview to see if they like before they buy.

Re:I agree (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31877980)

We'll just pirate the games. No biggie.

Re:I agree (1)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | more than 4 years ago | (#31878142)

Did you Demo a console before you purchased it?

In store or at a friends house?

You will always have a way to demo a product before you play it. Either existing fans will draw you in, or you'll try it at your local retailer in the demo kiosk they set up.

Demos may stick around as smaller studios see it as a way to draw in new customers. But for big companies like Crytek and EA, who have already released more than one multi-million dollar game seller, they don't need to draw in new customers, that will happen naturally. They need to retain old ones.

Re:I agree (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31877948)

I agree with you that it looks like a good symbiotic relationship, but it doesn't duplicate the free demo's ability to draw in new players which is an essential part. I personally don't play video games frequently, and the way it's looking with DRM and digital content you may have to buy more than once I don't know that I'd be willing to jump into a system like that without knowing it'll be worth it first.

A luxury? (1)

Doctor_Jest (688315) | more than 4 years ago | (#31877774)

I suppose if they want to go all digital and insist on paid demos, I can find another hobby. Granted, the games I currently own are enough to tide me over until the Thursday after Armageddon, but pulling the "luxury" card (at the same time he pulls the "piracy" card) has me at about -100 sympathy for the idiots. "Ooh look! Our game has user-destructible ferns! No content, but ferns!"

I'm sure there are a metric ton of people who will line up for this stupidity, but I won't be one of them. I mean, demos a luxury? What, like a decent game manual? (Oh that's right, I've not seen one of those in decades...)

Re:A luxury? (4, Interesting)

arbiter1 (1204146) | more than 4 years ago | (#31877890)

yup no demo to see if the game is good = more people like to pirate the game. I pirate games i admit it, but if i find the game is worth it i will go buy it. If they eliminate demo's as is, PC games are pretty much non-returnable like console game is. so if you shell 50-60$ for a pc game you are stuck with it.

Free testing is so stupid. (2, Interesting)

LupidStupy (663804) | more than 4 years ago | (#31877778)

I really do not understand this concept. Instead of letting users test the game and send in change requests, they are worried about money. I think the PS3 will be the last console I will ever own. I have owned them all. Wanna see my boxed Atari pong system?

there are already free demos for all games (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31877794)

its called downloading a full copy

Thats fine (1)

WarpCode (1519261) | more than 4 years ago | (#31877800)

If they dont have a demo then we dont have to buy their game. I know I wont buy a game unless I can play/test it first. Since 99% of game stores frown upon you trying out a game and returning it for your money back, the demo is the only real option. If you look at PS3's store and even XBox market place, the demos are always among the top downloaded items. You remove those demos and I bet the sales on most games will go down.

So lets do a hypothetical. (4, Insightful)

Kenja (541830) | more than 4 years ago | (#31877806)

There are two games. One I know nothing about other then the developer telling me its worth 60$ and one I can actually try a bit of before shelling out the cash. Guess which one I'm going to be buying?

Re:So lets do a hypothetical. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31877852)

Probably neither. Since you're posting on Slashdot, you're using either Linux or Mac OS X. Everyone knows that games don't run on Linux, and everyone knows that Mac users are too good for games.

I suspect you'd spend that money on Cheetos, or on an imported, finely-brewed mochaespressochino from Starbucks.

Re:So lets do a hypothetical. (0, Troll)

Kenja (541830) | more than 4 years ago | (#31877906)

Pffft. I gots a stack o' computers of just about every type. Even got a BeBox, SGI and Sun Sparc in the closet if I ever get really board.

Re:So lets do a hypothetical. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31877862)

Neither, because you're leeching cracked versions of both from an FTP site?

Re:So lets do a hypothetical. (2, Informative)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | more than 4 years ago | (#31877892)

Okay - lets pop another hypothetical.

There are two games. One you know nothing about other then its being developed by the same studio that produced 2 other titles you loved. The other one, you played the demo, and weren't impressed.

Which one are you going to buy?

This is the kind of trend the market is following.

Re:So lets do a hypothetical. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31878192)

I won't buy either one?

Re:So lets do a hypothetical. (2, Interesting)

_Sprocket_ (42527) | more than 4 years ago | (#31878022)

There are two games. One I know nothing about other then the developer telling me its worth 60$ and one I can actually try a bit of before shelling out the cash. Guess which one I'm going to be buying?

There's the third game - the cracked copy that comes from your favorite illicit data channel. You get a full demo of the entire game before shelling out $60. Of course, you usually trade off time to get that copy. And the copy you then consider for purchase is going to have all kinds of DRM on it.

I can see how "piracy" is really limiting the ability for game publishing houses to put out free demos.

Re:So lets do a hypothetical. (1)

Nadaka (224565) | more than 4 years ago | (#31878024)

There are two games, both of them are worthless shit that you wouldn't play if you got paid to do so, and they both cost $60 + $15/month + $5 for each DLC, no less than 4 of which are required to make the game stop crashing in the first hour. They both have DRM that rootkits your computer, makes your cd drive stop working and wipes your hard drive if it ever detects a debugger or compiler on your system. One has a free demo, the other does not. Guess which one I'm going to be buying? That is the future of the gaming industry as the big producers envision it.

Re:So lets do a hypothetical. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31878232)

There are two games. One I know nothing about other then the developer telling me its worth 60$ and one I can actually try a bit of before shelling out the cash. Guess which one I'm going to be buying?

I suspect it'll be the game that the review sites/magazines say is the best.

The Wii started offering Demos (1)

Brobock (226116) | more than 4 years ago | (#31877812)

Surprisingly, the Nintendo Wii began offering demos of Wiiware titles, and to a limited extent short time demos of Virtual console titles (such as through Super Smash Bros Brawl). The only companies that have something to worry about are the ones releasing horrible games where the demo causes people to test and not purchase the full version.

The movie industry offers demos in the form of Previews. Although comparing the two are like apple and oranges.

Nice! (3, Funny)

celibate for life (1639541) | more than 4 years ago | (#31877828)

But I think there is a genuine interest here to give gamers something more than a small demo released for free.

Nice! They'll start giving the entire games for free now!

One of the worst examples of foot in mouth.... (4, Insightful)

Tepshen (851674) | more than 4 years ago | (#31877830)

With film its previews and trailers, with music its promotional tracks and samples, with books its the synopsis or just reading the first page or so before you buy it, with TV its promos and commercials, hell with newspapers its headlines. The point being that EVERY major entertainment medium for at least a hundred years uses this model of giving a little bit away for free to create interest and to promote themselves. The problem with EA and now Crytek is they are looking at peoples interest in game demos not as curiosity as to if they will purchase but rather a lead in to a definite purchase and hope to sell the same product twice much the same way that companies are toying with selling downloadable content already in game and then "unlocking" it. I think they will find very quickly that it just doesn't work that way. the sad thing is that they still scream bloody murder about piracy because they are losing sales and never consider for a moment that they're aggressive and offensive sales model and draconian protection schemes may be a factor.

so ? (2, Insightful)

artg (24127) | more than 4 years ago | (#31877836)

It's a game. Who cares ? If the gaming industry gets as precious as the music industry, they'll go the same way. A product that will make money is one that's accessible, available and attractive. When an industry thinks IP is more important than keeping and attracting customers, it's dead in the water.

Why do they need to be "demos" at all? (2, Insightful)

brunes69 (86786) | more than 4 years ago | (#31877838)

If a game is a downloaded and bought online, how come I can't say, pay $5 for the first level, and if I like it, pay another $5 for the next level, etc?

Re:Why do they need to be "demos" at all? (1)

OnlyJedi (709288) | more than 4 years ago | (#31878184)

Better yet, why not get the first level for free, and then pay to unlock the following levels? Allow us to share this free first level with all of our friends legally with no fear of lawsuits, so we can get them interested in the game as well. If the first level is good enough, it can help sell a lot more of the game company's wares.
I wonder what we can call this business model, and why nobody has thought of it before? Oh, that's right, no company [wikipedia.org] could ever [wikipedia.org] be successful [wikipedia.org] giving away a product for free!

No equivalent? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31877840)

Of course there are equivalents in other industries, including film. There isn't a movie without a trailer. There are even some movies where you get to watch the first five minutes free online. Ever bought a car without a test drive? I didn't think so. Free samples are everywhere.

People are flocking to simpler games without high upfront costs. Not giving them a free chance to see what they're missing is only going to further marginalize big productions.

Money down (2, Insightful)

lyinhart (1352173) | more than 4 years ago | (#31877846)

This wouldn't be so bad if your $10 or $15 was a credit towards the full version of the game. Plunk down $10 for 20% of the final product, pay the $50 or whatever amount is left from the MSRP if you want the whole thing. This works for the gamer in that they're getting a sizable portion of the game before it's released. And it works for the company in that people who wouldn't have bought the game otherwise will have coughed up $10 for an extended demo. This system would be a decent midway point between full retail releases and games released in episodes.

Re:Money down (1)

Zironic (1112127) | more than 4 years ago | (#31877932)

Isn't that what a lot of online games do? You pay 10-15 to get closed beta access and that counts as credit for the full game.

Screw this - I'll just pirate the demos! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31877850)

I can't wait until they DRM the crap out of them, too.

If there's no free demo, there'll be "free" demos. (5, Insightful)

tlhIngan (30335) | more than 4 years ago | (#31877864)

You can't kill the free demo.

If you try, it turns out people will just obtain their demo any other way where they're not dishing out a single penny. Yes, I'm talking piracy. And they won't bother pirating the $5 demo, they'll pirate the full game, and use that to demo the game.

And console-only won't save you. All it takes is one person to say "Game XXX sucks". Friends of that guy then say "I heard game XXX sucks". And it then spreads quickly - after all, who's going to pay $5 for a demo of a game that sucks, nevermind buy the full game.

And all games suck - there is always someone unhappy with it.

Re:If there's no free demo, there'll be "free" dem (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31878054)

You can't kill the free demo.

If you try, it turns out people will just obtain their demo any other way where they're not dishing out a single penny. Yes, I'm talking piracy. And they won't bother pirating the $5 demo, they'll pirate the full game, and use that to demo the game.

^^^ Exactly that. I had my rant about this a few weeks back when there was an article about EA and "paid demos."

In a nutshell:

I pirated a lot of Apple and C-64 stuff as a teen. PC I've barely pirated any games at all. Take away demos? I'll pirate every game I might want so I can try it out as a demo. If I really, really like it I'll buy it. If I kind of like it I'll keep it and forgo buying it since you didn't think my trade was worth releasing a demo. If I hate it I'll delete it.

I'll still end up with the game it I want it. You'll end up with less of my money and far less of my good will.

How To Kill Your Business (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31877866)

I think I read this on page 34 of "How To Kill Your Business In 5 Easy Steps".

Oh shut up (5, Insightful)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 4 years ago | (#31877874)

I really don't like Crytek, they are bitchy to the extreme. They are also the ones who whined that piracy was "killing" Crysis sales. They didn't seem to account for the fact that you needed, as Yhatzee put it, "A hypothetical future computer from space," to play it well. They didn't seem to consider that maybe sales reflect how many people can play the game well, if it doesn't work someone won't buy it. Oh, and it wasn't a very good game either.

Never mind that it sold a million copies.

So they can cram it. I think free demos will indeed continue in part because you can't know if a game will work and the publishers fight to keep retailers from taking returns. With movies, you've got a very high chance it works. All you have to do is make sure you buy the right kind of movie, not hard these days. If so, it'll work unless it is damaged, in which case just swap it for a new one.

Not so with computer games, the media can be fine but there can be an incompatibility. In that case there is no reason someone should be stuck with a game that doesn't run.

Also games are a much more substantial purchase. $40 is the minimum you tend to see a new title for and $50-60 is more common. As such it is reasonable to want to try out the product a bit more before committing to a purchase. The larger a purchase, the more most people want to examine it.

But they can do whatever they like. I frankly don't care, they've shown themselves incapable of making games I give a shit about. They look very pretty, but only because they require insane amounts of hardware. In the two I've played (Far Cry and Crysis) the game starts off as a interesting semi-sneaky shooter with some very meh vehicles and then quickly turns in to a crappy monster game. As such I figure they'll keep doing that. If there's no demo, I'll simply give them a miss.

Wonderful idea, guys. (1)

Lord of Hyphens (975895) | more than 4 years ago | (#31877878)

Right. So you're telling me I should purchase your game, sight unseen.
That all I have to go on is whatever your marketing department has cooked up?
I just love knowing that I'd need to pay you for the privilege of finding out that your game is garbage. Here's my counter-proposal then: You discount my purchase of your demo against the finished product and/or allow me to return your crippled product if it does not perform to my satisfaction.

Pay for demos? I don't think so. (4, Insightful)

Uncle Tractor (1736514) | more than 4 years ago | (#31877886)

As others have already noted, movies *do* have free demos; they're known as "trailers." However, I never buy games unless I've played the demo first, and only if the demo runs well on my HW and it leaves me wanting more. No demo for me, no buy game from you. Sturgeon's Law applies to game just like anything else, and I'm not going to *pay* to find out whether a specific game is for me or not. The gaming bigwigs want to charge for demos? Fine. I'm sure the smaller developers will stay with the free demos, and I'll play their games instead. That's where the original stuff is anyway (yes, Sturgeon's Law still applies).

Wait what? (2, Insightful)

koan (80826) | more than 4 years ago | (#31877898)

"He said: 'A free demo is a luxury we have in the game industry that we don't have in other industries such as film. " isn't a demo of a movie called a trailer?

Re:Wait what? (1)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | more than 4 years ago | (#31878158)

Not really. I mean, the Episode I trailer was entertaining....

The hubris is amazing (5, Funny)

HBI (604924) | more than 4 years ago | (#31877918)

The process toward another 1983 is astounding, and i'll be ready with the popcorn.

more stupidity (1)

Touvan (868256) | more than 4 years ago | (#31877940)

Game "pirates" weren't going to buy your software anyway. You didn't lose millions of sales due to piracy.

Crytek CEO: Get over yourself.

Loosing a lot of money to piracy? (1, Redundant)

Nadaka (224565) | more than 4 years ago | (#31877952)

Is someone forgetting that the video game industry is out grossing the movie theater industry? You are not loosing money, you are earning an English ass load of cash instead of a metric ass load of cash. You don't loose anything, you just gain slightly less.

Piracy? Really? (5, Insightful)

VoiceInTheDesert (1613565) | more than 4 years ago | (#31877972)

That's why you think you're losing money, EA? Not the fact that you make shitty games or the fact that you screw over your customers, you think it's pirates that are taking your business away? Reality check: The reason you want to stop offering Free Demos is because too many people are realizing the game is shit and aren't buying it as a result. Nothing to do with "luxury" or "giving the customer more." You don't "give" people more by charging them where there was no charge before. I would have way more respect if EA came out and said it was about money for themselves rather than trying to paint it like they're looking out for the players. The players are last on their mind.

+1 Agree demos suck. (1)

w0mprat (1317953) | more than 4 years ago | (#31877974)

Demos were just fine when you could pick up a magazine cover CD with 20 game demos on it. Now who downloads 2gb just to play 10 minutes of a game? Also Magazines have gone away from cover cds, being a hangover from the omg-CD-ROMs-are-teh-future bubble in the 90's, once they realized it's a quite a labor investment for a very mythical return. I'd go so far as to say it's actually hard to get big-title game demos out to gamers now.

Public BETAs are much more relevant way to both promote your game and make assist with the development.

Some will clearly stick around. (3, Insightful)

DdJ (10790) | more than 4 years ago | (#31877988)

Look at the XBox 360's indie game market. That's the hobbyist/indy storefront for games people write with the XNA tools.

Every single game there gets a free demo, in that you can download every one of them for free. Even if the developer didn't code in any "demo" logic, if you don't pay, you get to run the game in a mode where it can't save any state and it auto-terminates after a short while.

A demo like that is cheap to implement. It's also something that, while the developers may not want to provide it, the people you buy your games from directly need for it to be there. Especially with digital delivery.

With digital delivery, there's no return policy, no trade-ins, no used game sales. This means if you shell out for an awful game, you're stuck with it. If I'm a digital delivery storefront, I'm going to want to entice people to buy games through me. The first time they buy an awful game and can't do anything about it, that's going to dramatically lower the odds that they'll buy any games in the future. The developer of that one game may not care -- they may be delighted, they got their cash -- but the storefront owner is going to care a lot, because they have an ongoing relationship with the customer.

And so you'll see things like the mandatory free demo we get with XBLA and "indie games" (perhaps coupled with the low-cost demo implementation you get for the "indie games").

(Honestly, I expect this mandatory demo policy to even make it to the iPhone app store at some point.)

Re:Some will clearly stick around. (1)

Jaysyn (203771) | more than 4 years ago | (#31878250)

Especially with digital delivery. With digital delivery, there's no .... used game sales.

Except for Stardock & GoG.

Not a big loss for me (2, Interesting)

Gadget_Guy (627405) | more than 4 years ago | (#31878012)

I don't remember the last time that I played a demo, but then I tend to wait until the games are on special at around $5. If I really want something then I will pay $10 (like I did this weekend for Dirt 2 at Direct2Drive's current sale). Sure I am behind everyone else, but then often the worst of the DRM has been removed, major bugs fixed and there's enough reviews written by people who aren't getting paid to be positive about a game.

I feel if I can no longer resell games second hand due to activation or being tied to services like Steam then will only pay single digit amounts. It works for me because I got bored of multiplayer years ago.

What you take away will be complained about (1)

adosch (1397357) | more than 4 years ago | (#31878018)

I think regardless of how useful or useless a game demo is, taking something away that's always been expected will always cause the general gaming community masses to complain and revolt about it. End users will see it as Big Corporation raping their middle-class-rut pocket books, piracy will spike for their games as the end user's way of "sticking it to the man".

I think if the Crytek gaming companies of the world do take all the money spend on marketing, packaging, R&D, escalated development cycle, ect. of promoting and distributing the demo and put the rest of that effort and money back into enhance the game in some way, then I think it's going to be a win. If it's not, then, it's just another lost cause in the gaming industry that's going to trickle down through the ranks.

Crytek can pad their story how they want; their motive of putting out a better, more thorough gaming product or a way to slash costs and blame the economy will eventually reveal itself in the end.

Who needs demos? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31878026)

Who needs demos? For the most part I don't even bother buying games until they hit $40 anymore, better yet I wait till they hit $20.

  Gotta to love Steam for that.

Fuck the companies that think I'm going to pre-order games or buy them opening day blind for $60.

big disconnect (1)

MoFoQ (584566) | more than 4 years ago | (#31878030)

strange....but not unexpected from Crytek, among a growing number of dev studios who are becoming disconnected with their customers (PC gamers) which in turn drives down their own sales.
Look at Ubisoft or even "CRYSIS" (which has been categorized by many as being a "tech demo" rather than a game)

I do have to admit, the original Far Cry was awesome even with the gameplay and plot but pretty much every game coming from Crytek since then have been alienating gamers (not to mention their controversial comments that seems to also further anger their potential customers).

Perhaps they need to not follow the footsteps of the R*AA/M*AA and actually concentrate on games that gamers will actually like to play.
Why else would their competitors such as Valve can make money even with such out-dated game engines or their infamous "Valve time" schedule?

I'll go tell South Korea and China (1)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | more than 4 years ago | (#31878038)

I'll go tell South Korea and China they don't exist then.

Meanwhile the rest of us will just keep playing free Facebook games on our iPads and ignoring what EA or Crytek want.

The funny thing is (1)

celibate for life (1639541) | more than 4 years ago | (#31878058)

He complains about piracy when game demos actually render piracy useless for those people who pirate just to try the game before buying it.

No demos? Won't that INCREASE piracy? (1)

psyque (1234612) | more than 4 years ago | (#31878070)

If they don't provide a demo, people are just going to pirate the games to see if they're any good. Then I'd say you have a 50-50 chance that someone is actually going to buy a legal copy if it's any good. Sounds like crazy talk to me. Pretty much every game I have for my Xbox 360 I tested as a demo first. Now sure you'll argue that I paid for a gold members for access but most can be played with a silver account.

Haha (2, Funny)

nataflux (1733716) | more than 4 years ago | (#31878084)

So what they're saying is that most mainstream developers can only make short games, therefore providing a demo would be giving too much value away. Because we totally need insane graphics.

No demo = me pirating a full copy to try it out... (1)

VinylRecords (1292374) | more than 4 years ago | (#31878086)

I download demos all of the time to evaluate games I am not familiar with. I downloaded the Virtual On demo for the X360 and then bought the game a week later. I download Super Puzzle Fighter HD for the PS3 based off of playing the demo. I hadn't even heard of Heavy Rain before I played the demo...and after playing the free demo from the PSN, I pre-ordered SIX fucking copies to give to my friends and coworkers when the game came out. Without demos I guarantee that I would own less than half as many games as I do now. Obviously for stuff like Metal Gear Solid 5 (upcoming PSP game), Monster Hunter Tri, and Virtua Fighter 4: Evolution, those games I didn't need demos for. I am familiar with past games in the series or trust those brands enough for a purchase sight unseen.

But if I can't get a demo for a game that I don't know about? Then I'll just pirate a full version and 'demo' that for a while going forward I guess. If I like the game then I'll buy it. If I don't then I'll probably delete it. Not having free demos probably won't hurt a resourceful nerd like me. I can find full versions on Us*n*t or just borrow a copy from one of my basement dwelling friends or coworkers and use them as demos.

This is only going to hurt more casual gamers who rely on free demos to sample products. Every week when the PSN or XBL update for new demos, or when Gamespot or whatever offers new PC demo downloads, that's just free marketing. A good demo spreads via word of mouth and becomes free promotion. No demo = no promotion, nothing to increase sales, no exposure.

So far this month we've heard that free demos are going away and that consoles will be a thing of the past. What other ridiculous and insane predictions do we have to look forward to the remainder of the year?

In a way, it's true. (1)

Nyder (754090) | more than 4 years ago | (#31878090)

I don't download game demos anymore, I download the whole pirated game. If it's good and I like it, then I'll buy the game.

So ya, whatever works

SEGA. Nintendo. Etc. (1)

Orbijx (1208864) | more than 4 years ago | (#31878096)

I think that the secret grumblings going on is that these developers are wishing for a time when the Sega Master System and the Nintendo Entertainment System roamed the earth.

You didn't really get demos of games for these, free for downloading at the time they were popular.

( - This ignores, of course, the Nintendo Play Choice 10 machines, and any Sega equivalent of the time, in which I'm sure plenty of us of the respective age range would beg mom for quarters to feed whilst she did whatever she was out and about to do. It was great, because one would feed a machine quarters, play games, and when one gets home, beg dad to buy Track and Field or Contra, or whatever. PC10s were, effectively, paid demo machines that would give you access to the full game for the right amount of dosh and skill!
It also ignores the people who had dumpers and carts to dump their old games onto, or necessary emulation software to play it on a PC.)

As someone already pointed out (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31878108)

You can buy the full version of the game from pretty much any retail outlet and return it within 7 days for a full refund.

Of course that takes a bit more effort than downloading a free demo, but you can experience more than the demo would show you as well.

Best way for the Industry to defeat piracy (4, Insightful)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | more than 4 years ago | (#31878110)

I find it funny when gaming execs (or music, or movie) go on about how much money they are "losing" to piracy. I know a 100% sure fire way they could defeat the pirates. Make really cool games, advertise them massively, then just keep them in house and never release them. Think how much more money they would make if they never let the games out into the public so that the pirates couldn't copy them. Maybe if they worked really hard at their security, they could let people pay them to come into their facilities and play the games, but they would have to be careful, if they let just anybody in, someone might make a copy and sneak it out. /s
These guys need to stop worrying about how many copies of their games are pirated and concentrate on getting more people to pay for their games. While it may be true that if they do absolutely nothing about people who pirate their games, more and more people will pirate the games rather than buy them, they are much more obsessed with stopping pirates than they are with getting paying customers.

Recommended System requirements aren't enough... (4, Informative)

Pirate_Pettit (1531797) | more than 4 years ago | (#31878126)

In addition to providing a (hopefully representative) test of content that we as gamers pay quite a premium for, free demos are extremely useful for benchmarking how a new title will run on a custom-built machine. I cannot stress this enough - I don't buy a title unless I have some idea of how it will run on my rig, and an in-game demo is far more useful than a theoretical advert on the side of the box/website. Eliminate this source of info, and you have some gamers who won't take the risk that a new title will perform adequately on an older custom built, and some other, more vocal gamers who -will- take the risk and then be extremely annoyed and dissatisfied - especially if a title isn't well optimized compared to similar titles with similar theoretical requirements (See: Mass effect 1 vs Mass effect 2) The suggestion that free demos aren't of benefit is insulting.

When will they get it? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31878154)

People have already made the point about movie trailers being the film industry equivalent of game demos, but that wasn't really the worst thing he said. He made that most heinous of claims, that the industry is losing money to piracy, which anyone with half a brain can see is nothing more than a scare tactic or sympathy plea, depending on how it's employed. The era of the video game publisher is coming to an end and they're scared, very scared. This is just another example of how they know they have everything to lose. I've been boycotting the industry for a few years now due to practices such as this, anyone else with a free mind would be wise to as well.

Piracy (2, Interesting)

TheTick21 (143167) | more than 4 years ago | (#31878174)

Are they TRYING to make excuses for failed games?

When people stop buying a $50-70 game because they don't know how good it is are they going to blame piracy again? Wtf.

I can see some part of his point. Most people who download the demo are already interested, so it's kind of redundant. I know of several games where I was uninterested until my friends told me to try the demo out.

I know people who sit around downloading demos to find which game they're going to buy next.

This can definitely work for some games (1)

dirk (87083) | more than 4 years ago | (#31878196)

While I don't think this will ever work for all games, for some games I can definitely see them going without a demo (or even better, charging for it) and it going over well. Any new games will obviously still need trailers. If you have never heard of the game before (and especially if you don't know the studio), most people aren't going to shell out $60 without a demo. But for established franchises, no one really cares about the demo, they just play it to hold them over until the full game is out. Does anyone really care about the demo of Madden 2011? The people who buy Madden will buy it, even if they can't play the demo (if anyone even does play the demo). When the new Halo or Gears of War or Mario of Zelda game comes out, all the fanboys will be lined up for it, even without a demo. And many of those fanboys would happily pay $5 for the demo just so they can brag that they played the demo and the game is great (or the game sucks, but they will still buy it anyway). With established games, everyone already knows what the game is going to be like, so the demo really doesn't serve much purpose.

Rubbish. (2, Funny)

lattyware (934246) | more than 4 years ago | (#31878240)

I wouldn't take the full version of Crysis for free. These guys can shut the hell up until they can make a good game.

Great strategy (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31878252)

This guy is an imbecile.

The fact of the matter is: Crytek games suck balls! They have sucked balls since the begining with poor stories, horrible gameplay, crappy derivative characters and boring overall experiences. What do they have? Graphics.

So, if make a game trailer of a Crytek game it'll look awesome! But if you let people play a demo, they'll soon catch on that the game sucks. Hence: kill the demos.

Meanwhile, peole who make good games won't be afraid to release demos to spike the interest of gamers and also to give us something to play for a few weeks while we save the horrid amounts of money they charge for games these days!

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