That one word had the power to make us poor game developers tremble as it always brought with it crazy work hours and vague plans. And when we were finished we always wondered — ‘was it worth it?’
Well, now on the consumer side of the fence, I can heartily answer… no.
But please, please, keep on making them! See I’ve realized that I’m perfectly happy playing a demo and only a demo for many kinds of games. I have a half dozen racing demos on my PlayStation 3, for example, and by cycling through them, I get enough ‘race car’ to keep me happy. I have a couple hockey demos, baseball demos, et cetera that fulfill any sport gaming urges I have. We have a bunch of kid game demos on the Wii and that’s sufficient for my boys. And I have a bunch of PC game demos, a little bit of all the various types of games I enjoy.
This might seem weird, not needing to ‘finish’ a game, but realistically I only have small slices of time in which to play games now and these short 10-15 minutes demos are more than enough to keep me entertained.
I haven’t actually bought a game in several months! I will caveat this a bit by saying on the Wii, a year or so ago, I did turn a couple demos into full purchases — whether that was because the games were so good, or because I like using a ‘points card’ as opposed to entering credit card information directly, it is hard to say. So in the past I have bought games because of the demos. But, as I said, not in a long time.
So please keep making demos. Who knows, I guess if I play one I like enough I might even buy it :)