Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Study Suggest Demos Hurt Game Sales

I just love studies that explore one facet of something and make wild declarations that supposedly pertain to the whole. You know, like when someone does a study that finds that 95% of serial murderers ate bread several times a week and then proclaim that we need to do away with bread immediately. EEDAR's latest findings simply replace serial murderers with "poorly selling games" and bread with "demos". The conclusion is the same: demos should be done away with.

The study has found that games which are promoted only by a video trailer, with no playable demo available before launch, sell significantly better than games that do have playable demos. The conclusion being that developers shouldn't put out pre-release demos because they only hurt sales.

That is, of course, mind bogglingly narrow minded.

They never consider WHY games without demos are selling so much better. Let's see, what games without demos have gone on to sell huge numbers: Halo 3, Gears of War, Call of Duty 4. Even though it isn't out yet, GTAIV will not have a demo and will undoubtedly be the biggest selling title of the year. See a trend here? Pretty much any game that a publisher KNOWS is going to sell like mad anyway isn't going to get a demo because it'd just be a waste of time and money. The rules don't apply to games like this.

Claiming that the success of these games has anything to do with the fact that they didn't have demos is just insane. Is there any doubt that they would've been just as successful if there had been demos? I don't think so.

Also, think about the fact that almost EVERY game that comes out nowadays has a demo. That separates those uber-franchises even more, meaning that the line that represents "no demo" games is pretty much exclusively made up of the Halo's, COD's, and GTA's.

Now, I don't disagree with them completely; I think in regards to games like Turning Point or Dark Messiah of Might and Magic, having playable demos available probably did hurt their sales more than if they just had a trailer. But that's because the games weren't very good.

So essentially, the lesson is just common sense: If your game is good, by all means, put up a demo. If it sucks, (and come on teams, you know when your game sucks) you might want to think twice. It's easy to make a game look good in a trailer, but it's tough to disguise crappiness when someone can actually play the game.

[ MTV Multiplayer via Joystiq]

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