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Console demo’s. What a novelty! Once banned to the unholy land of the official magazine of your console choosing, comes the almighty demo to that of which is now known as “the nextgen”. PC gamers all quiver to how behind the times console only gamers are to the party that started over ten years ago, but one thing is for certain, a “good” demo will most definitely help your game. Need I say a “bad” demo will destroy your chances as at success in one fellow swoop as if you killed everyone’s family who come away with no interest in your game.
So, what’s a “good” demo and a “bad” demo? I stress good and bad, why? Demo’s do not represent the entire game experience. I repeat, demo’s do not represent the entire game experience. Demo’s are what they are, demo’s. Nothing more. They are there to solely market the game. Needless to say, “It’s a trap” once again apply’s here to.
Gaming is expensive. You and I both know that, so here come demo’s to the rescue. Oh wait, here comes the death nail to your game, coming from a publisher/dev standpoint. Nearly all demo’s are utter and total failures. Every last one of them. Inherently, they will never be a success unless your Bioshock, Crackdown, Dead Rising, or Lost Planet. Sure, there may be a few more, but out of the over one hundred that have befallen the Xbox Live Marketplace, that sure is a low percentage. If anything, these demo’s are a huge cock block in every way, shape or form.
Game “A” has a very cool mechanic that separates itself from the crowd. Game “B” in the same genre is what is way to often referred to as “generic”, lacking anything to call its own. But wait, in the world of demo’s you’ll never know that, because guess what? It isn’t in the damn demo. Developers can’t blow there load in the demo. Can they? This is all about you running out to buy the game with that demonic stuff we all call money.
Ultimately, this comes down to gamers reviewing judging games time after time based on a ten minute demo play through if they finish it at all. Don’t get me wrong, demo’s are a great thing, but the sad reality is that more often than not they do nothing but put off potential buyers based on a fraction of the full game or what is referred to as a vertical slice that doesn’t necessarily reflect that of a full game in the least.
Should developers be wasting their time to produce these bits of “marketing material” as opposed to putting full attention to finishing the final product? As often as you’ll find the word demo in the words above it sure certainly seems so, but the quantity of demo’s versus better final products are the real issue. Create a demo if you’ve used your development time wisely, other wise, don’t bother. Especially if you have a monstrous marketing budget and or a Jade Raymond frenzy on your hands.
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-William “thewilleffect” Bell-