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Normalize releasing a playable demo earlier than taking pre-orders

Contemplating the state through which most video games are releasing as of late, I feel it is honest to ask studios to launch a playable demo with a minimum of half-hour of gameplay to showcase the graphics, efficiency and common mechanics in the event that they’re anticipating pre-orders. Asking for full worth for a promise is extremely shady in my view and we as avid gamers should not encourage this. Playable demos consultant of the completed product would a minimum of give us some inkling as to the sport’s efficiency earlier than we put down our cash.

This was commonplace again within the 90s however kinda pale away over time…

What are your ideas on this?

Comments ( 49 )

  1. I think they’ll give you access to the demo as a reward for preordering.

  2. I was just thinking about this. I remember when game demos were very common. Most games had at least a small demo available. I’m glad that Steam takes refunds so easily, because there’s no pain like paying $60 for a game only to be stuck with it if you hate it.

  3. wouldn’t they just focus on the demo and proceed to release an unpolished, bugged-ridden game anyway? Legit curious as I’m not an expert

  4. We were still getting demos up until a couple of generations ago. Discs, then downloadable demos. Now, they just rely on misleading gameplay trailers.

  5. Better idea: normalize not preordering. Or at least not preordering until reviews are in.

  6. A demo won’t solve anything and will just take away resources from the full game. A demo also doesn’t guarantee performance issues will be solved. They could put so much effort into making sure the demo is polished, that the rest of the game could suffer. Development costs money and prolonging that by releasing a demo, which would also come with its own distribution fees, isn’t the fix all you think it might be.

    Unless you’re buying into early access, a pre-order just shows a company that you’re interested in buying their product the day it releases. They don’t profit off of pre-orders, they profit from the sale of the product when it releases.

  7. Capcom and Square-Enix have been pretty good about releasing demos lately.

  8. It won’t solve anything.

    If demos become mandatory, companies will focus on optimizing and polishing the demos, and making them deceptively good, and leaving the rest of the game a broken mess still. Age of Conan leaps to mind. They did a beta, with first 20 levels (out of 80, I think). And it was magnificent – rich, polished, fully voiced. But once you get past lvl 20, voice acting stops, it’s just text, and quality of content kept getting worse and sparse. Levels 60-80 were almost completely barren. Having that lvl 1-20 demo was useless.

    Best approach is still to simply not preorder, and wait for full reviews from reputable sources. It’s the only way.

    Having said that, I do like demos. They help to see if the game runs well on my hardware, and whether I like the feel of combat and controls. There’s been quite a few games where I was iffy about the game, and never would have bothered without a (SMALL!) demo download to quickly try it, but ended up buying immediately because of how good the demo was. I don’t want to download 80+ Gigabytes, even with a 2 hr refund window on Steam, just to treat it as a demo. The playable version couldn’t have been more than 3-5 GB of that. But I think some companies did a bunch of research and concluded demos weren’t worth it and didn’t translate into more sales. It could be PR bullshit though, I wouldn’t put it past them.

  9. What the you cancel your pre order when you find out our games are not finished and not optimized

  10. Capcom has been releasing demos for all of their new games and each one has been very indicative of the actual games. I don’t know how it’s so hard for other companies to do the same. I want to get Street Fighter 6 just because I had fun in the demo for the story/avatar mode, and I’m not even that into fighters. The demo was just fun to mess with.

  11. Does anyone remember demo disc with game magazines?

  12. Demos hurt sales.

    It may sound paradoxical, but it’s a fact.

    The experience of the past is absolutely clear: If a game has a demo, even a very good demo, it somehow satiates people’s desire to *experience the game*. And when the game releases in full, this desire is now missing, and “To buy or not to buy (at full price)” becomes a more *economical* decision, rather than *emotional* decision.

    And knowing that game prices drop by 30-50% in just one year, plus the fact that there are regular sales every 2-3 months, players who don’t *covet the game experience* (in a biblical sense, almost) will think ‘Nah, let’s wait’.

  13. Doesn’t Sony do this ? They have playable demos for their games if you have the ps plus premium subscription.

  14. I would prefer order if there were demos right before the release

  15. Back in my day, this was normal, whippersnapper.

  16. And normalize releasing a playable game..

  17. As great as this idea is, it’s not feasible with how long modern games take to develop. It requires the devs to take time to cut out a vertical slice of the game, like developing a little micro game alongside the main project.

    People need to just stop preordering when there’s not point in doing so anymore.

  18. That’s called piracy and I fully endorse it.

  19. Devs won’t spend a dime on additional resources for demos when people preorder without knowing anything about the gameplay. That’s what stopped demos. The increasing cost of them against the fact people buy without trying anyway.

  20. when i was a kid i used to replay demos instead of buying the full game, most of the time the demo was one of the best levels

  21. Or just buy the game months later on sale. Fuck full price gaming. Screw AAA rip offs.

  22. I agree with what others are saying that they could “polish a turd” and just make the demo play great while the rest of the game is a mess. But, I will say the RE4 demo was the reason I felt ok buying RE4 day 1. I think that game turned out really well.

  23. Why would anyone pre-order a game any more?

  24. Everyone else have that game they just kept repeating the demo of?

    My two were Just Cause 2

    And a game called Grid Iron : Backbreaker (which I would kill to have on PC)

  25. It worked previously, it ought to work now. I remember getting game demos on cd with pc gamer magazine and running them to see which game to actually buy. And I once managed to skip the built in block for the settlers II demo and play one extra mission, glorious. And man, the warcraft I demo disc ran hot.

  26. dont fucking say normalize just say “we demand”. releasing a demo isnt a social trend that needs to be normalized its a business practice

  27. Open Betas are essentially demos. Diablo 4 beta convinced me to get it. Still didn’t preorder, but I am 100% getting it.

  28. is there any EA reference in this? Because I’m 100% in for the idea of a playable demo

  29. Yeah good luck changing the landscape of the gaming industry with a Reddit shower thought. But really, with the (file) size of modern games, I dunno about downloading upwards of 100gb+ just for a sample (depending on the style of game but I’ll assume you mean AAA in which yes you would need most of the assets installed even for a timed demonstration) and also the question of is it anywhere near worth whatever testing and verification and other hoops they would need to jump through just to get it out there? If your response is “just create a smaller area to demo within where you don’t need ALL of the game assets installed” then you’re asking them to spend time away from working and fixing up the main game to create an entirely new thing that won’t even be in the full release or representative of the final gameplay/world design. It’s also easier to get a vertical slice looking and running better so it could be even easier for them to deceive you there. The reality is it was infinitely easier for companies to make and release demos when games were 500mb in size or even when they started becoming multiple gb’s in size. Also when they were designed to be level-based and whatnot. They aren’t designed the same anymore so you can’t have all of the same previous expectations. If you’re tired of getting burnt on games, the simple and easy answer is to wait for the reviews. There are a million sources to go to upon a games release to find out exactly how it turned out and how it really looks and performs on your system of choice at launch. And I’m not talking about IGN or some corporation like that, find some smaller YouTube channels that you trust that will give you the lowdown. I use channels like Skill Up, Angry Joe Show, and Gmanlives just to name a few. If you can’t wait for reviews to come out and tell it how it is, then that’s on you and not the devs.

  30. Does anyone remember demo disks on magazines, I based alot of my decisions after playing them I feel like they dried up in the early 00s

  31. …Or you can simply stop pre-ordering.

  32. My thoughts are people will spend money on broken crap and microtransaction riddled bullshit because they always do. Calls to reform this come and go. The outrage does not outweigh the need for immediate gratification.

    We will never get out of this hole unless there is legislation or lawsuits at this point.

  33. This vid might be ten years old, but it still speaks truth.


    Game demos decrease sales in nearly all cases and cost resources to make, so companies don’t make them.


    Is that fair? No, but there should be a wider push to honesty in games media instead.

    Or just more of an education of the general public on what to expect.

  34. A lot of games still do this, OP, and guess what? The demo section works fine. Then when the game comes out, it’s the other parts of the game that struggle.

  35. I think people should stop supporting preorders. It’s become normalized because asshats keep fishing out money for games that are absolute garbage on release instead of waiting for a finish product and demanding the game companies stop with this assanine bullshit. If gamers stopped supporting the devs early access, pre orders, and game previews by giving them fucking money then they would have no choice but to put out a playable product on release day instead of trash like fallout76 and cyberpunk 2077.

  36. They won’t because they know if people see how broken a game is they won’t buy it.

    Games that heavily push pre orders and day one bonuses tend to be the most broken.

  37. Shoot, normalize releasing a playable game on the specified release date or push back the fucking release date. Game shouldn’t need patches months after its release in order to make it playable.

    Once we can get that unanimously agreed on maybe they can start on playable demos.

  38. They’ve always been releasing trailers for games that have been completely rendered in an isolated engine that is different from the graphics or fps that we get on release. They would do something similar with the “demo” we get I’m sure. It would look and act amazing, then SSDD

  39. Normalize not preordering games or just waste your money idrc

  40. Unfortunately, a demo would in most cases result in the opposite of what you are looking for, devs will be diverted to making a polished demo and the actual game will be worse. Polishing is typically near the end of the dev cycle, so the game is typically complete and it can be tricky to section out a portion of a game for a demo without leaving breadcrumbs behind that will spoil the rest of the game, or in a couple cases accidentally give the whole game away for free( Crash Bash demo comes to mind). The demos there are now are typically early builds that aren’t any more polished than what we have been getting as “finished games”.

    There are exceptions though, Capcom does demos quite well, the RE4 Remake demo was good although short.

  41. First we have to normalize not paying full price for broken incomplete games in hopes that one day they’ll be patched or modded into a playable state.

    Until we stop that behavior the publishers really have no incentive to start releasing playable demos again…or any kind of accurate gameplay preview. They know that audiences will mindlessly buy their games no matter what.

    Also, **Steam** has kind of effectively brought back playable demos with their two hour return window.

  42. Square Enix has done this a lot.

    I bought nier automata because of it, octopath traveller existed, etc. so despite square kind of dropping the ball this practice has been fantastic for them

  43. Normalize not preordering things

  44. I wantt o give full credit to the devs of Diablo 4 here, they ran a closed and an open beta plus a server stress test, during the open beta I did notice stutters transitioning through areas but in the server test the stutters were gone. I have put 30+ hours into it and the performance is polished, the writing is meh but the game itself is ready for release.

  45. > performance… to the game’s performance before we put down our money.

    The problem is that the demo is never optimized. Because they don’t have time or people to dedicate to “optimizing the demo”.
    I remember trying the CoD4 demo, and it worked like garbage, you can probably still download it and compare it with the final product. I thought I’d have to upgrade my PC, but when a friend of mine lent me his copy, I found I could run the full version on my PC even with the graphics set to “high”. Something that was absolutely not possible in the demo.

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