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For-Pay Demos Coming to Xbox Live?

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the defeats-the-point-a-bit dept.

XBox (Games) 112

The Opposable Thumbs blog is talking about a disconcerting new idea being floated by the Official Xbox Magazine. Most people only buy the mag for the demos; they're considering just offering up the exclusive demos on Xbox Live, along with the included trailers and such. The catch? They're going to charge you $2.50 for the privilege. From the article: "We're used to paying for Xbox Live at this point--the feature set is worth the money--but it was sold to us as something of an all-inclusive deal. You're a part of the Xbox network, so you get the demos and the videos and that's part of what you're paying for. Now there is even more of an incentive to offer for-pay demos to people with this new distribution model. In some ways the magazine is already obsolete, and they could conceivably soon be in the business of selling demos." Would you pay money for a downloadable demo?

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Hell No (5, Insightful)

Thyamine (531612) | more than 7 years ago | (#20046993)

That's my short answer. I'm already paying to be on the network, and if I want to buy the game I'm not going to get a $2.50 discount. Now I don't want to sound like a cheap wad (which maybe I am), but the demo of the game is for me as the consumer to determine if I want to buy a game. Putting an additional barrier between me and your demo certainly isn't going to endear me to buy your game. Not to mention I have purchased games after playing the demo, so I can easily see this stopping me from buying games that I may have bought after trying out the demo (for free).

Re:Hell No (1)

PrescriptionWarning (932687) | more than 7 years ago | (#20047065)

if they'd actually put 2.50 worth of entertainment in a demo, I'd be all for it. But all too commonly these demos last about 10 minutes and don't let you get much of a feel for what you get with a 60 dollar purchase. if they made it more like the shareware games from 10 years ago it might work, they often contained a good 1/5th of the entire game content or so.

Re:Hell No (2, Interesting)

CRiMSON (3495) | more than 7 years ago | (#20047185)

Good idea, the problem is tho (least imho) majority of the games out if they let you play 1/5th the game you'd have pretty much played the game.

I've played numerous demo games, then bought the game to find out the "demo" was the best level of the game and the rest is just horrible.

Re:Hell No (1)

xantho (14741) | more than 7 years ago | (#20049693)

Numerous? Can you give us a smattering of that list?

Re:Hell No (1)

LKM (227954) | more than 7 years ago | (#20054237)

The Heavenly Sword demo actually lasted all of 5 minutes, including cut scenes. And it's a gigabyte download. I'm hoping there will be a second, longer demo for the game.

Re:Hell No (3, Insightful)

xenocide2 (231786) | more than 7 years ago | (#20047379)

sound like a cheap wad (which maybe I am), but the demo of the game is for me as the consumer to determine if I want to buy a game
.

There's certainly a cheapwad in the room and I don't think it's you. A demo is advertising for a product. By charging your customers to sell them something else, they've earned the title cheapwad.

And at 2.50, plenty of people are making a profit off of the demo itself. This is essentially an attempt by publishers to cash in on AAA status titles before they've truly hit the shelves, and isn't the first time. The trouble with AAA games is that they take a damn long time to make, meaning they take a long time to go from spending money to making money. Metal Gear Solid 2 had a demo released around six months before the game actually shipped. In an attempt to shorten the time from spending to making money, they packaged the demo with an otherwise weak game, "Zone of Enders". Sold like gangbusters simply on the market demand for that demo. I shouldn't have to mention how upset people were at how different the demo was from the game released six months later. (gameplay-wise, it was fine, but the setting and characters radically changed, which upset many longstanding fans of the series).

I believe, if you want to sell demos, make shorter games and sell them instead. 50 dollars or 2.50, it's the principle that matters here -- everyone knows its not about finding new customers.

It is insane to do this (4, Insightful)

cliffski (65094) | more than 7 years ago | (#20047905)

Totally agreed, yet it constantly amazes me how much big AAA develoeprs do NOT want me to see their product.
They release the demos exclusive to paid-subscription websites which I am not a member of
Then they insist on me 'waiting in a queue' to download it
Then they plaster pop up adverts over multiple pages in order for me to get to my download link.
Then there is the slow 6k download connection for 'non subscribers', mixed in with streaming ads.
Then they try and persuade me to buy it before I've tried it, pester me to 'pre-order' it, and have nag screens I cannot quit.

As a game developer myself, this all seems insane, and naturally I do things the more sensible way. Every one of my games has a free demo, thats always updated to be the very latest code (i patch my server copies of the demo the day I patch the main game). Each one is on a server hosted by me, with an uncapped connection, and a direct .exe link (Download manager friendly), with no adverts, queuing or other bullshit to get between you and my demo.
My demo is my advert, I *WANT* everyone to get the demo as quickly and easily, and as hassle free as possible. I cannot understand the mentality of doing it any other way. Just another reason to stick with the PC and not get an XBox I guess :D

Re:It is insane to do this (1)

pipatron (966506) | more than 7 years ago | (#20054443)

I bet you have also considered this, but using bittorrent here could also be useful. (At least if you pay for the bandwidth)

Re:Hell No (1)

Sarutobi (1135167) | more than 7 years ago | (#20051909)

I think you bring up the best point example for the point I want to make.

I can understand that some people would be upset to pay to download for a demo on a network they pay to be on, on the internet connection they pay for. BUT! This is all business. If a large enough part of the gaming population is willing to pay for a demo, then companies will try to make money out of it. Simple as that.

The ZoE example is pretty good. I'm convinced this game would've never sold nearly as well without the demo in it. It means people were willing to dish out 40 to 50 dollars for a demo.

If I remember properly, the Final fantasy 8 demo was included in brave fancer musashi. It wasn't a bad game, mind you, but this game too would've probably gone largely unnoticed without this demo. Here too, they managed to make profit on a highly awaited game's demo.

But that doesn't work for little known games or developpers. So, I hope that if that system comes into existence that they will give deloppers the choice of charging or not for the demo.

On a side note, I remember how much of a pain it was to download the 56mb diablo demo. All night long on a 336 kilobaud modem. How much bandwidth it must've cost Blizzard!

Re:Hell No (1)

LKM (227954) | more than 7 years ago | (#20054221)

Yeah. Not only would I not pay for the demo, but I also would not buy the game without playing the demo first.

$2.50 $10.00 (-1)

CaseCrash (1120869) | more than 7 years ago | (#20047011)

Sounds like FUD to me.
Isn't this just a cheaper easier way to get something that you already had to pay for to obtain?
Except that you don't have to throw away the magazine afterwards.

(note: not an ms fanboy, it just strikes me as wrong to complain that something that wasn't free is also not free now.)

Re:$2.50 $10.00 (1)

CaseCrash (1120869) | more than 7 years ago | (#20047043)

The title was supposed to be '$2.50 (less than symbol) $10.00'

Re:$2.50 $10.00 (1)

hidannik (1085061) | more than 7 years ago | (#20047229)

I suppose the real question here is whether publishers that currently offer free demos will, on seeing the nonfree ones, suffer an attack of shortsighted greed outweighing their business judgement. Should that happen, the number of free demos available through Xbox Live will rapidly dwindle to nothing.

And I'll be buying fewer games.

Re:$2.50 $10.00 (1)

heinousjay (683506) | more than 7 years ago | (#20047285)

If it sounds like FUD to you, then you don't really know what FUD means.

Re:$2.50 $10.00 (1)

CaseCrash (1120869) | more than 7 years ago | (#20047421)

Ha! true, but this is slashdot so I had my microsoft-is-a-bunch-of-asshats overlay turned on.

It's hard not to read anti-microsoft propaganda into every ms article.
:P

Re:$2.50 $10.00 (1)

captain_cthulhu (996356) | more than 7 years ago | (#20048753)

you have a point although when you buy a subscription to magazine, you are really paying for articles and insight written by the editors and journalists rather than just a disc of demos.

again to your point, before xbox live, I would regularly see demo discs for sale at the checkout counters of stores like Gamestop for a price.

still, what are we paying for when we sign up to xbox live? the ability to pay MORE for demos?

I regularly download demos from xbox live - even games I'm not really interested in. I'll surely stop doing that if it costs more money.

i wonder if the $1billion hit on the warranties is behind this...

Re:$2.50 $10.00 (1)

geeknado (1117395) | more than 7 years ago | (#20048979)

I doubt it's the warranties, since this is almost certainly driven by the game developers rather than Microsoft...More likely, it's just recognition by the developers of certain highly anticipated titles that gamers are willing to pay for demos in the aforementioned magazines and considering this an unexploited revenue stream. The sad part is, they're probably right [penny-arcade.com] .

I may be mistaken... (2, Insightful)

Locriology (1097777) | more than 7 years ago | (#20047049)

But I thought the point of a demo was to try BEFORE you buy?

Re:I may be mistaken... (1)

onecheapgeek (964280) | more than 7 years ago | (#20047103)

Didn't you get the memo? Apparently, people bought gamer mags FOR THE DEMO DISCS.

Didn't they?

Re:I may be mistaken... (1)

bestinshow (985111) | more than 7 years ago | (#20047241)

Well now you can assess a high cost purchase for only the small friendly sum of $2.50, surely that's worth paying to protect yourself from the potentially larger loss!

All this tells me (in my pessimistic mode) is that a large number of upcoming '360 games are so crap that they want to get some income up front because nobody would buy it. Now maybe if the demo lasted an hour or two it would be worthwhile, it would be like buying a part of a game, but if it was just a video/non-interactive content then I would be livid.

No, these are the exclusive demos that normally... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20047717)

come on the Official XBox Magazine disks. They aren't normally on XBox Live at all.
They're considering offering them on XBox Live for a nominal fee, vs. needing to buy the Magazine to get them.

Re:I may be mistaken... (2, Insightful)

Applekid (993327) | more than 7 years ago | (#20047869)

$2.50 protects me from a potentially larger loss by making me disinterested in the game altogether so I save the $60 AND the $2.50.

If I really (and I mean, REALLY) want to take a crack at the game, why not just rent the full thing (as opposed to an incomplete, cherry-picked demo) for a few bucks more?

Rent from where? (1, Interesting)

tepples (727027) | more than 7 years ago | (#20048981)

If I really (and I mean, REALLY) want to take a crack at the game, why not just rent the full thing (as opposed to an incomplete, cherry-picked demo) for a few bucks more?
Because the local independent video game rental store doesn't carry the platform I prefer. Rental stores typically do not carry handheld games, nor do they carry PC games (the rental, lease, or lending of which requires the permission of the copyright owner, which permission is not available to smaller firms).

Re:I may be mistaken... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20054107)

No, that's what piracy is for.

I have an interesting, insightful response to this (5, Funny)

Rob T Firefly (844560) | more than 7 years ago | (#20047085)

And you'll all have the privilege of reading it, just as soon as everyone on Slashdot sends me a dollar each.

Re:I have an interesting, insightful response to t (5, Insightful)

Chouonsoku (1009817) | more than 7 years ago | (#20047141)

I would love to, but I just ran out of Slashdot Points and I don't want to buy another 800 if I'm only going to use 150.

Amusing (-1, Troll)

PadRacerExtreme (1006033) | more than 7 years ago | (#20047123)

I always find it amusing when people complain about things like this. You got something for free once. Now it should be free forever.

If you don't like it, don't pay for it. It is pretty simple. If enough people refuse to pay for it, it will go back to being free. Or are you concerned that enough people will pay for it and you won't have a choice?

Re:Amusing (3, Insightful)

Jimmy King (828214) | more than 7 years ago | (#20047287)

Just because you vote with your dollars doesn't mean you should only vote with your dollars. Explaining exactly what you are unhappy with and why makes it more likely that it will be corrected in a way that you want rather than just made different but still crappy or all out taken away.

Re:Amusing (2, Insightful)

91degrees (207121) | more than 7 years ago | (#20047313)

People are still quite entitled to be offended at the suggestion that they should pay for a demo. Or for anything else for that matter. XBox magazine come across as being incredibly money-grabbing.

Re:Amusing (3, Interesting)

spun (1352) | more than 7 years ago | (#20047477)

I think paying for advertising is bullshit and I want to convince others of the same. When I don't like something, I do more than not buy it. Depending on how much I don't like it, I may tell a few friends about it if they ask, I may post something online, I may call the BBB, or even write a letter to my representative.

I don't think you really find that amusing. I think it pisses you off. I think maybe you are even a little put out by the idea of anything being free, and relish the commoditization of everything that was once cooperative and social. It all smacks of hippie liberal activism, doesn't it? All these tiny, unimportant people, talking amongst themselves and screwing with the God given right of important people to make a profit, it's horrible, isn't it?

Re:Amusing (0, Troll)

PadRacerExtreme (1006033) | more than 7 years ago | (#20047761)

I don't think you really find that amusing. I think it pisses you off. I think maybe you are even a little put out by the idea of anything being free, and relish the commoditization of everything that was once cooperative and social. It all smacks of hippie liberal activism, doesn't it? All these tiny, unimportant people, talking amongst themselves and screwing with the God given right of important people to make a profit, it's horrible, isn't it?

Wow. That is quite an inference you just made. It more sounds like you hate the idea of someone making a buck much more than I like the idea of someone making a buck.

Did I just feed the troll?

Re:Amusing (4, Interesting)

spun (1352) | more than 7 years ago | (#20048035)

Yeah, you fed the troll a little bit. But I was more over-reacting than really trolling.

Making money is okay. Sure, I made a big leap of inference there. Something about the attitude pissed me off. It's not just you, I've seen it before and I guess I took it all out on you, sorry. It really feels like some people have a knee jerk reaction towards people complaining about commercial things, like the only legitimate way to express one's dissatisfaction with a commercial product is by not buying it. Complaining about it to others is too much like collectivism, and we can't have that! I don't know if that's what you really think or feel, but it's the impression I get whenever anyone makes those kind of anti-free-speech, shut-up-and-just-don't-buy-it arguments.

So, okay, maybe I over-reacted. I'd love to hear your explanation as to why people complaining about something they don't like is so bad. When people complain, they are providing free information to the producers of the goods being complained about, who would otherwise have no idea exactly why people aren't buying their product. Maybe we should charge for our complaints.

Re:Amusing (1)

acidrain (35064) | more than 7 years ago | (#20054705)

Complaining about a product/service is arguably one of the more important aspects of free speech in our society. It is often our only defence against the abuses of large businesses.

Re:Amusing (1)

HTTP Error 403 403.9 (628865) | more than 7 years ago | (#20048289)

If you don't like it, don't pay for it. It is pretty simple. If enough people refuse to pay for it, it will go back to being free.
OR if enough people bitch and moan about the cost, they might decide to remain keeping it free.

Re:Amusing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20052449)

>OR if enough people bitch and moan about the cost, they might decide to remain keeping it free.

no, first they will offer a discount, later followed by a "bulk purchase" deal.

then they might offer it back how it was (if they do not dress it up as something else first).

ie: access to the beta testing group.

Re:Amusing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20048891)

Never underestimate the power of stupid people in large groups.

No way. (2, Insightful)

webrunner (108849) | more than 7 years ago | (#20047127)

1. Demos are advertisements. Paying for advertisements is stupid.
2. The biggest exclusive demo they have isn't exclusive if you have a Japanese account set up (Eternal Sonata- if you D/L the Trusty Bell demo it comes out Eternal Sonata when you play it)
3. Exclusive demos existed as a way to get you to buy the magazine, before. Now you're just paying for the demo?

Re:No way. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20054881)

looks like someone in marketing is going to get a nice bonus. he figured out how to make the customers PAY for advertisments.

Rental "demo" (2, Insightful)

EMeta (860558) | more than 7 years ago | (#20047201)

Or, I could pay twice that (tops) and rent the whole game when it comes out, which I may get my fill of during some weekend. Micro-payments might work ($0.25-$0.50, say), but $2.50 is completely ridiculous.

Wait! (3, Funny)

CaptainPatent (1087643) | more than 7 years ago | (#20047213)

People buy Xbox Magazine just for the demos? [penny-arcade.com]

Probably timed (2, Insightful)

MooseMuffin (799896) | more than 7 years ago | (#20047227)

They way I would envision this working is that the demos normally included with the magazine will cost $2.50 or whatever for the month associated with that issue's release. When the month is up they would make them free to everyone. Thats the only way I can see them doing this without pissing everyone off.

Re:Probably timed (1)

GrayCalx (597428) | more than 7 years ago | (#20048213)

I agree. If they set it up in this fashion, so that I can still eventually get the free demo, it wouldn't bother me so much. I'm not such a hardcore gamer that i need the demo right when it comes out.

Otherwise, I'm like a lot of the other posters. I'm not going to pay microsoft or the developer money for the honor of playing whats basically an advertisement and possibly a QA test.

Yes - like a short story (1)

dazedNconfuzed (154242) | more than 7 years ago | (#20047265)

Would you pay money for a downloadable demo?

Yes. I rarely have time to take on an entire 40/80/hundreds hours game, and am not inclined to spend upwards of $60 on it.

I do have a few hours to fiddle with a demo and be amused by that.

I recall playing "Kingpin" - a demo long enough to be a fun, short session.

There is a category of more sophisticated (than Tetris etc.) players who want the game equivalent of a short story.

Re:Yes - like a short story (1)

bomanbot (980297) | more than 7 years ago | (#20047687)

Umm, isnt that the whole purpose of the Xbox Live Arcade? You know, to get you access to short, sweet games for just a few bucks?

Why dont you get your quick gaming fix from there? Because the demos are not designed for that, they are supposed to fix you on to the big, long game for the big bucks, so clearly not what you wanted...

just rent em (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20047301)

umm, take your $2.50 go to the store and rent the full game...

Re:just rent em (1)

Wilson_6500 (896824) | more than 7 years ago | (#20047329)

Maybe independent game stores allow you to rent for that price, but game rentals at Blockbuster run about $8 these days.

Re:just rent em (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 7 years ago | (#20049035)

umm, take your $2.50 go to the store and rent the full game...
How do I talk a local independent video game rental store into carrying the platform that I use, let alone the title that I want?

Blockbuster (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20047335)

At $2.50 for a demo (correct me if I'm wrong, but it IS just one demo, right?), you might as well wait until the game comes out and pay $5 to play the whole game and really "try before you buy". After all, demos do tend to change a little bit by the release date.

But if it's $2.50 for, say, four or five demos, then that might be worth it, especially because the alternative is to pay around the same price for that and a magazine (that apparently "no one reads") as well.

Can we at least get a demo of the demo for free? (2, Interesting)

llevity (776014) | more than 7 years ago | (#20047433)

I understand that due to rising budget costs in game development, the previous use for using demos as a try-before-you-buy demonstration of the game is now obsolete and outdated.

But if we could get a demo of the demo before buying, it would let us make a well informed judgement.

On a serious note, I have mixed feelings about this. Previously, those demo magazines were a bit more expensive than usual magazines. I understand this to be due to the cost of compiling the content on the discs, producing the discs, etc. That's fine.

But at this point, you're eliminating that step, but still charging? What are you charging for? Does the game company get a cut of that? Or is this a deal where the demo magazine is paying a game company for exclusive use of their demo, then charging for it on the hopes of netting a profit?

On the other hand, there have been a handful of games I've wanted to get a taste of badly enough that I went out and bought an $8-$9 magazine just for that demo. I might have leafed through the magazine, and played a couple of other demos as well, but pretty much, I was after a specific demo. Paying a couple of bucks for one, where I don't have to even leave the house doesn't sound so bad.

Re:Can we at least get a demo of the demo for free (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20052359)

>But if we could get a demo of the demo before buying, it would let us make a well informed judgement.

they call them reviews IIRC.

but as you mentioned, demos are becomming a thing of the past. Be it they cost too much to make or done to long before the main release so are not related.

Either way it is said to see them go.

Some demos like one of the Unreal games comes to mind. The demo with two multiplayer maps was more popular than the game was.

Better Question (2, Insightful)

MBraynard (653724) | more than 7 years ago | (#20047497)

As a developer, do you want to charge people for your demo or give it to them for free?

The answer is more than likely the latter. I don't expect this to change.

Silly slashdotters - the market usually solves questions in the consumers favor.

Re:Better Question (1)

The Moof (859402) | more than 7 years ago | (#20047971)

Don't underestimate the marketing machine that is the Halo franchise. I recall a Game Informer interview with Bungie about Halo 3 in the Feb 2007 issue. Bungie seems more than willing to charge for a demo based on the size of the rabid fanbase.

Re:Better Question (1)

MBraynard (653724) | more than 7 years ago | (#20049115)

Right - but that's only because people are willing to pay. A lot of people bought Crackdown just for the brief demo (though Crackdown seems to have been a good game).

Really, I've gotten a helluva lot of play from demos over the years when I never bought the actual. FEAR for example. The Age of Empires online demo (played the hell out of that).

But, you know, for the 100s of other game demos out there, they only get tried for fun and maybe sell you on the game, so they best keep the first 'hit' of the gaming goodness free like any other crack dealer.

Yeah, but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20049089)

> Silly slashdotters - the market usually solves questions in the consumers favor.

But business usually solves the market (or the government) in their own favor...

Re:Better Question (1)

Alakaterai (1120607) | more than 7 years ago | (#20052033)

That's the way it should work, yes. The market dealing with it. However, I have a feeling that if some games show a loss of sales this won't be blamed, at least not at first. I mean, it's so much more convenient to blame piracy than a moronic business move.

Re:Better Question (1)

MBraynard (653724) | more than 7 years ago | (#20052949)

Don't be so obtuse in thinking you are smarter than the business people at EA, MS Games, etc.

First, MS and the publishers both know if you playing the demo resulted in a sale of the game. They will know the exact conversion rates (assuming you got the demo from XBL.)

Also, realize that game developers currently PAY OXM to put the games on their disks, not the other way around. It's doubful that XBL will be allowed to hinder distribution of the developers games - especially since MS makes more money off the sale of a game than $2.50.

The fee to consumer to play demos pits OXM/XBL's line item against MS/Publishers. And since MS owns XBL and oversees OXM and make money the same way the publishers do, you can forget about paying for demos off of XBL.

In Other News (2, Interesting)

Strange Ranger (454494) | more than 7 years ago | (#20047537)

The movie industry will begin charging consumers to watch trailers.

Pricing info has yet to be released, but it is expected that trailers made available on the internet will be cheaper and probably different than the Pay-per-View trailers made available for television.

For-pay demos are not necessarily new. (1)

Wilson_6500 (896824) | more than 7 years ago | (#20047573)

It is likely that this has been pointed out already, but the for-pay demo is not new. Back before the Internet--back when the concept of the "demo" was still mostly a benefit of being a PC gamer--there not only existed shareware but actual for-pay demo disks. Shareware is obvious: vend a small portion (up to a quarter) of the actual game for a reduced price--maybe it was free on BBSes, but I think the "masses" (what masses there were) paid for these disks. Shareware was often much more than just the one or two level taste that the modern demo more or less always seems to be--in the case of episodic games, it was usually an entire episode. There did exist, however, for-pay demo disks; I remember a display in a Babbage's that had $5 or $8 demo CDs for some kind of sea combat game. Assumedly, the cost of these demo CDs was to cover the cost of the physical medium and distribution.

With the rise of the Internet, however, I feel PC gamers (at least) have grown to expect that a demo will be released for free. Those magazine demos--again, at least for PC games--were usually quick to show up on the Internet after the release of the magazine. Lately, with the exclusive demos hosted by sites such as fileplanet, we're seeing a trend towards charging money for a demo without necessarily providing a demo that is worth the price. I suppose the bottom line is that if people would like for us to lay down money for a demo and nothing else, at _least_ scale the price to the proportion of content in the demo versus the game. Maybe in the days of limited bandwidth people didn't mind paying for a CD to save themselves the hassle of downloading that huge, 100 Mb demo, but I very much doubt people will be happy paying for nothing more than a demo without any additional content or convenience above the norm.

Re:For-pay demos are not necessarily new. (1)

MMaestro (585010) | more than 7 years ago | (#20047673)

Except for the fact that back then unless you game was a runaway success like Doom or Simcity 2000, marketing was more or less word of month. Shareware and demos were pretty much the ONLY means of advertising for some of these companies. Throw in the fact that producing and distributing those floppy disks/CDs was expensive and you can see why companies wanted to charge people for such demos.

Re:For-pay demos are not necessarily new. (1)

getnate (518090) | more than 7 years ago | (#20048065)

True. I remember doing chores in 5th grade so my mom would buy me the Doom episode 1 demo diskette for $4.99.

Okay, Or we could do it this way: (2, Interesting)

Alzheimers (467217) | more than 7 years ago | (#20047683)

Since the world seems so pent up on taking pre-orders for unreleased games, how about applying that "demo fee" towards some pre-order price?

This way, if we like the game we get first dibs AND that payment is already applied to the purchase price. If we don't like it, MS keeps the money and there's no hard feelings.

It makes it feel more like a rent-to-own than a scam, the difference being that there's now some value besides the soul-crushing sadness that comes from the "honor" of paying for advertising.

Re:Okay, Or we could do it this way: (1)

PopeGumby (1125507) | more than 7 years ago | (#20051817)

Since the world seems so pent up on taking pre-orders for unreleased games, how about applying that "demo fee" towards some pre-order price? This way, if we like the game we get first dibs AND that payment is already applied to the purchase price. If we don't like it, MS keeps the money and there's no hard feelings.

Yeah, that's what I was thinking too. If it was $2.50 to play the demo, that would equate to X amount of MSPoints. So, when the game is purchased, it looks at whether or not you purchased the demo, and if you did, it refunds X MSPoints. But then my understanding is this isnt just $2.50 for a single demo, its for all the content that would normally be on a cd...

As an Xbox Live Gold subscriber.... (1)

ThinkWeak (958195) | more than 7 years ago | (#20047715)

What exactly will I be receiving for my annual membership? I thought my annual subscription entitled me to

1. 24/7 access to play online multiplayer games (unless there is an additional mmorpg fee)

AND

2. Instant access to new demo's, trailers, etc.

I have noticed that sometimes magazines will get an occassional demo before it hits the Live Marketplace, but it usually is only a week or two difference. What would happen if this new money-making model is rolled out? Will I ONLY be able to download certain demos if I shell out some additional money?

If so, give me half of my money back.

Re:As an Xbox Live Gold subscriber.... (1)

ivan256 (17499) | more than 7 years ago | (#20048557)

Multiple other systems give you both of those things for free. I'd ask for all of your money back if I were you.

Re:As an Xbox Live Gold subscriber.... (1)

@madeus (24818) | more than 7 years ago | (#20054543)

Name one console platform that gives you an experience like XBL for free then (HINT: it sure as hell isn't the same on the PS3, Wii or the PC).

Re:As an Xbox Live Gold subscriber.... (1)

ivan256 (17499) | more than 7 years ago | (#20055221)

Who said anything about console?

And the "experience"... Held on high as if it were the second coming by yet another person who hasn't even tried a PS3. Yeah, maybe matchmaking is slick, but it's not $50/year better. If I had to come up with a single adjective to describe how much better it was I'd pick "marginally".

Re:As an Xbox Live Gold subscriber.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20048677)

Not exactly. Gold subscription is for a policed online multiplayer and that's it. Demos (and all of the Marketplace Content) are available to everyone for FREE not just Gold members. Sometimes they put demos up for Gold members to download a week early, but you never have to pay to access a free demo. Technically speaking, this would just be making the OXM available in electronic form instead of physical form (no more boiling DVDs!). There have been lots of demos that were available on OXM that never showed up on Marketplace because OXM paid for exclusivity. So technically they aren't charging you for something you already got for free- they are giving the option of charging less for something you can receive electronically that you used to have to get by mail. I see no issue (pun intended) with that. I'd actually prefer to download OXM since apparently my mail carrier is some four hundred pound sumo wrestler who can't read labels like "Photos: Don't bend" or "Disc inside- don't snap it in two, you moron!"

No chance (1)

ScotchForBreakfast (1060672) | more than 7 years ago | (#20047729)

Crippling a modern method of distributing demos for the sake of propping up a somewhat out of date method of distributing demos (magazines) seems ridiculous on the face of it.

Also what game developer or publisher would possibly want to limit access to their demo in this manner?

To echo others (1)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 7 years ago | (#20047767)

The only way I could see this working is if they only charged for the demos that are on the disc for a month....after the month is up, release them for free.

I know for certain games I would be willing to pay to have a playable demo (Bioshock, Fable 2, and Mass Effect come to mind) but in general, I likely would be able to wait it out until the demo was either free or the game was released.

Much Ado About Nothing (1)

grapeape (137008) | more than 7 years ago | (#20047871)

OXM disks have always had a fee attached..the price of the magazine with or without the disk had a differnce in cover price of several dollars. They generally have had one timed exclusive demo and the rest was filled with the demos already on live, interviews, screenshots and other crap. As long as they stay with the same format...where is the problem? If they suddenly only offered demos if you purchased the OXM content (which would be suicide IMHO) that would be a different story, but so far every indication is that this is just a convenience for subscribers or non-subscribers who dont want to shell out $10 just to see whatever is on them.

Re:Much Ado About Nothing (1)

Babbster (107076) | more than 7 years ago | (#20048951)

Say it twice. People seem to be assuming that this means all demos will become $2.50 when the truth is that OXM is trying to stay in business by offering their exclusive demos over XBL for a fee. My take is this: OXM (along with virtually every other videogame magazine) deserves to be out of business. They give their readers less than they can get for free over the Interwebs and all that keeps them in business are publishers who let them have first crack at demos. Said game publishers would be much better off charging a buck a pop for demos directly (via XBL) before the release of a game, making it free from, say, two weeks before release onward. There's just no good reason for OXM to be in the loop at all.

Re:Much Ado About Nothing (1)

toolie (22684) | more than 7 years ago | (#20049315)

Say it twice. People seem to be assuming that this means all demos will become $2.50 when the truth is that OXM is trying to stay in business by offering their exclusive demos over XBL for a fee.
Yes, but there are a couple factors working against the article (and OXM) here.

1) It's on Slashdot, so nobody RTFA.
2) It's on Slashdot, so people see 'pay' and freak out.
3) It's on Slashdot, which means the summary is sensationalized and completely wrong.
4) It's on Slashdot, which means if its Microsoft its automagically bad, unless it hurts Sony, then its good.

Did I miss any?

Re:Much Ado About Nothing (1)

@madeus (24818) | more than 7 years ago | (#20054563)

They give their readers less than they can get for free over the Interwebs and all that keeps them in business are publishers who let them have first crack at demos.
Some people like reading magazines now and again, of the ye-olde physical variety.

The future of gaming (1)

El_Muerte_TDS (592157) | more than 7 years ago | (#20048077)

Pay for everything!

You even have to pay for the privilege of paying (this is actually already true, because you need a creditcard to pay in the first place).

No debit cards? (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 7 years ago | (#20049085)

ou even have to pay for the privilege of paying (this is actually already true, because you need a creditcard to pay in the first place
Are you claiming that Xbox Live doesn't work with debit cards? Citation please.

Dream On Microsoft (1)

Dr Kool, PhD (173800) | more than 7 years ago | (#20048161)

Now Micro$oft is going to start charging for demos? This will only hurt them in the long run. When I play a great demo I go out and buy the game, for example I just pre-ordered Heavenly Sword after playing the awesome demo. If the demo didn't exist OR wasn't free then I wouldn't have played and would have never bought the game.

Yet another misstep for Microsoft and the abortion that is the Xflop 360.

WTF? (2, Insightful)

sxeraverx (962068) | more than 7 years ago | (#20048187)

OK. Wait. WTF? This absolutely makes me cringe. First of all, it's ridiculous that Microsoft even has the guts to make people pay for XBox Live. You pay for the console, you pay for the game, online play is fucking part of the game! A monthly/yearly fee is just nuts! Next, it's demos that people have to pay for. And this is only for the simple reason that Microsoft saw that gamers would bend over and take it for the online play--demos only logically follow. Instead of charging $600 per console, they nickel-and-dime us to death. They drop the price to $400, and in just four years, ($60 per 12-month subscription), you've paid for more than a PS3 (and you still have crappier hardware). And they've probably lost more money than Sony has (for replacing your console, what? three times now? four?) Now, I'm not a Sony fanboi, but it seems to me like Sony's receiving way too much flak for their price, and Microsoft's not receiving nearly enough for theirs.

Re:WTF? (1)

GrayCalx (597428) | more than 7 years ago | (#20048357)

[crotchety old voice]
I remember when vid'o games only cost a quarter! And you could play as long as you could stay alive. And these were in, what we called then, Arcades. Had to walk a mile to get there just for the honor of playing. None of this sittin' on your couch bullcrap! We'd walk it and we were happy to walk it! Up hill, both ways! Which weren't so bad if it hadn't been for those snow drifts. Bigger than your head boy! But we did it, and we liked it.

Now its all-day with the online, and the webernet. Talking with people who aren't even in the room?! You tell me if that makes sense? Kids these days... with their wireless and their def-hi. Get off my lawn!
[/crotchety old voice]

Re:WTF? (1)

captain_cthulhu (996356) | more than 7 years ago | (#20048911)

maybe you're not a Sony fanboy - although the 'crappier hardware' comment says otherwise since all but a couple of multi-platform games look better on xbox (currently) - but you sure sound like an MS-hater... I hear they frequent these here parts.

it's not nickle-and-diming when you have a choice - don't buy the downloads if they charge for them. problem avoided and sends a consumer-initiated message to them which will probably result with them lowering or hopefully pulling the prices away from demos. action-->reaction

Re:WTF? (1)

sxeraverx (962068) | more than 7 years ago | (#20049213)

The "crappier hardware" comment is a statement of fact. It's well-known that the sheer hardware of the PS3 is better than that of the XBox360, regardless of its firmware/software. And yes, it would send a consumer-initiated message if no one bought the demos, but people are going to buy the demos because they have no other way of getting them. Just like people have no other way of playing online without being charged for XBox Live. It may be optional in theory, but it's not by any means optional in practice. Think labor unions (which often didn't work anyway), except without any organization whatsoever. Workers had the theoretical option of not working for whatever company, but in practice it just wasn't an option.

Re:WTF? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20048963)

By your logic you shouldn't have monthly bills for anything, right? You bought a phone and then paid to have phone service connected to your home. Why should you have to pay every month to keep it as-is? That's double dipping. And then once you do pay for your monthly phone service, why should you pay extra for long distance? Triple dipping. And what about tv? You bought a tv AND paid for electricity to run it AND paid to have DirectTV/Cable? Why should you pay a monthly fee? And then since it takes no new equipment, why should you pay extra for HBO and Pay-per-view? It's just a signal that comes down the equipment that is already there that you are already paying for. There is no extra work involved. Quadruple dipping! And I paid $40 for World of Warcraft. Why should I pay each month to play it? That's insane! But hey, you be happy with your online games on your PS3. Sure they have a lower framerates, dumbed-down graphics, and longer load times, but at least online for Virtua Fighter 5 and Tony Hawk is free. Oh wait. The PS3 versions of those games don't have online play. I guess you get what you pay for.

Re:WTF? (1)

sxeraverx (962068) | more than 7 years ago | (#20049149)

Your conclusion to my argument would make sense if phone companies sold you your telephone and charged you $500 for it, and I'd agree with you if the cable company charged you $1000 for a cable box and $5000 for the TV you have to watch it on. Likewise, I'd agree with you if Microsoft simply gave out XBoxes (or charged $10 for them) and then charged a monthly fee. But that's not what they're doing. And yes, the WOW pricing scheme is ridiculous, too.

Re:WTF? (1)

Alakaterai (1120607) | more than 7 years ago | (#20052105)

Heh, bending over and taking it is unfortunately standard operation procedure, at least for most gamers I know. Just you wait, eventually we'll have a system where you purchase 100 frags, and any kills thereafter won't be added to your score. And we'll have a nice old arcade revisit, after dying the n:th time "Insert credit(s)" will be flashing on our screens.

Pay For Everything (2, Insightful)

SandwhichMaster (1044184) | more than 7 years ago | (#20048497)

Gamers are gradually getting nickle and dimed for everything. Games like WoW started with a monthly fee AND an upfront fee, AND you have to pay for the expansion. Then there's things like Shadowrun, which would basically be worthless without a Live subscription. Some games are shipping where you have to pay to unlock content that shouldn't be locked in the first place. And soon we'll be expected to pay for demos.

I personally refuse to purchase any of these games, but as long as there are those willing to (of which there are many), we can only expect things to get worse.

Re:Pay For Everything (1)

Mister Kay (1119377) | more than 7 years ago | (#20053715)

For MMO games there is overhead. The companies need to be running their servers, constantly patching, paying their game masters and programmers. All of those operation costs are not covered under the original selling price of the game, and if it is, God forbid the company turn a profit, because profits are bad, especially in business.

And it's not like WoW was the first game to do it, hell Ultima Online's been doing it for what? 10 years now? They've had plenty of expansion packs that users had to pay for. In many cases expansion packs add a lot of content to a game, and are generally less expensive than the original game, as the engine and what not is already packed into the original game.

I absolutely agree with you on the whole locking stuff unless you pay thing though. If it's in the original game code, I shouldn't have to pay more to use it.

I for one will never pay for a demo of a game. Although many people dropped $60 for the halo 3 beta, I got crackdown because I wanted the game, not because of the Halo 3 demo, which I played twice.

Rent instead (1)

tonyreadsnews (1134939) | more than 7 years ago | (#20048505)

Ok, I can download the demo for 2.50... OR I can go rent the full version for a week for $4-5. I'll go with option 2 where the game won't quit on me and give me a bunch of stupid splash screens after 5 minutes on why I should buy it!

"Never heard of it" (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 7 years ago | (#20049121)

Ok, I can download the demo for 2.50... OR I can go rent the full version for a week for $4-5.
If your rental store even carries the title.

Re:"Never heard of it" (1)

tonyreadsnews (1134939) | more than 7 years ago | (#20049181)

There are still some online rental places that carry pretty much every kind of game. The only exception to this would probably be the Live Arcade, and if they start charging 2.50 for those demos I'm sure people will stop playing.

Didn't anyone RTF? (3, Informative)

Is0m0rph (819726) | more than 7 years ago | (#20049235)

It's not A demo for $2.50. It's OXM's entire disc content for the month for $2.50. Demos, interviews, themes, pics, etc. So if you are just interested in the disc contents and not the magazine you can get it for $2.50 instead of whatever OXM sells for now ($6?).

PAY FOR DEMOS? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20049415)

I don't even pay for the full games.

Viva Pinata? (1)

dunezone (899268) | more than 7 years ago | (#20049883)

So your saying instead of releasing a video of Viva Pinata, they should have released a demo of Viva Pinata for $2.50 instead? Maybe then it would of sold more units then it actually did?

Seriously, if this is true then their just abusing the market and the gamers. I already commented on the exclusive title garbage today and now they might charge for demos. Give me a break.

Bussiness Model 2.0 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20049911)

Welcome to the new model for just about everything.

You will be gouged ^H^H charged, for everything.

Want to play a demo?
    -1.25 bandwidth fee
    -0.25 download micropayment fee
    -0.10 paypal fee
    -0.20 credit card fee
    -0.10 fee collection fee
    -remainder we will charge you just cause we feel like it fee

Don't like it? Don't buy the crap. Look where software/hardware is going. Get used to renting things, you will not be owning things much longer.

I could see it... (1)

evilklown (1008863) | more than 7 years ago | (#20050333)

I would probably pay $2.50 for some demos, especially if they were extended demos (more maps/bosses/options/whatever). The idea of making the subscribers pay for it, however, is ridiculous. I would say that the content should be free to subscribers (with a code to enter, perhaps) and let everyone else download the stuff for $2.50 and not have the bathroom fodder that comes with the demos. That way, if you want the magazine, you get it AND the demos; if you don't want the magazine, you can still get the demos.

hmm... (1)

quakehead3 (988738) | more than 7 years ago | (#20051629)

Would you pay money for a downloadable demo?
xbox users would.

Problem solved (1)

dosboot (973832) | more than 7 years ago | (#20051677)

I'm fine with paying for a demo. Just give me a sampling of what the demo is like, and then let me decide whether or not it is worth $2.50.

Would I? Not often, but possibly (1)

Krozy (755542) | more than 7 years ago | (#20053463)

The fact is, there are thousands of people that already are paying for demos. Whether in the form of discs included with the gaming magazines, disc exchanges for beta games, or premium memberships to download sites, there are several avenues where demos are effectively 'purchased', rather then had for free. But the article is implying that the content of the magazine would be available along with the demos. Essentially, everything digitized. To me, that seems like a good deal for only $2.50 a month if you're buying the magazine already. And, with it accessible over live, that's just a matter of convenience. No worries about it getting lost in themail, or the cd getting destroyed, or the news stand not having it in stock, and so forth. Small price to pay if you really really want the content or demos. -Krozy

No; but sometimes the demo is worthwhile in itself (1)

AaronLawrence (600990) | more than 7 years ago | (#20053743)

Like others I am amazed at how grudgingly some publishers offer demos (sometimes not at all).

However, in some cases the demo is a very worthwhile, if small, game in itself. I am thinking in particular of Unreal Tournament 2004, which made a demo with several maps on several game types, including online play. This demo is still being played today, 3 years later, so in fact that was a very entertaining ame in itself (albeit a bit limited).

Epic might have gone too far with UT2004. But the fact remains that often a demo can be an entertaining diversion in itself, as well as an advertisement for the full game. PERHAPS there is sometimes a case that a demo could be worth paying a small amount of money for.

Incidentally, it's clear the demos are quite costly; they have to package it and test it like a full release, and then someone has to pay the rather large download costs (on a 500MB demo thats going to be significant).

Paying for advertisements (1)

XavidX (1117783) | more than 7 years ago | (#20053855)

Remember when you paid to go to a movie and you sat down and the movie started instead of having to watch 20 min of advertisements. Or you bought a video and when you played it the movie just started instead of having to fast-forward it 10 min to get past all the advertising.

It seems like this is starting to be a trend. Just look at some of the magazines out there. They are like 15% content and 85% advertising.

Looks like MS is trying to pull off the exact same thing.

Slow Down... (1)

Grumblow (1044412) | more than 7 years ago | (#20054765)

I'm curious as to why everyone thinks this means that ALL demos will cost money. Only the OXM demos will cost money; there will still be free demos released on market place. Relax, put away your torches and pitchforks, drink some tea...
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