Demos may be a good way to boost your standing among impatient fans - or at least, forestall their ire - but they don't always equate to strong sales. Quite the contrary, claims games academic and developer Jesse Schell.
Speaking at the DICE 2013 summit, Schell shared EEDAR data which shows that games that have trailers but not demos massively outperform those that get both. "Wait - we spent all this money making a demo and getting it out there, and it cut our sales in half?" he said. "Yes that's exactly what happens to you.
"Because when you put the demo out - people have seen the trailer, and they're like 'that's cool!' and they made a plan. 'I've got to try that game.' And then when they played the demo - 'all right, I've tried that game. That was OK. All right, I'm done.
"The thing is with no demo, you've gotta buy it if you want to try it. These plans make a big difference."
All fairly common sense stuff, I'm sure you'll agree, but it's interesting/troubling to see that there are real ramifications in terms of sales. Schell declined to name the games under discussion, presumably wary of publisher wrath.
Thought for the thread: could publishers offer more in the way of cross-over between demos and final games, perhaps allowing you to transfer XP or unlocks between the two?