Ask a Dork: Paying for Demos

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EA recently had an “error” where they charged for demos. Do you see paid demos as a way forward? Perhaps with a discount for buying full a full game? Or unlocking pre-order bonuses?

Bleh. Paid demos. What a world we live in. A demo is supposed to be a demonstration of a product. It’s a very simple concept, no? It is a taste of the bigger pie. It is not a product into itself.

Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes is a good example of a demo masquerading as a retail experience. If you know what you’re doing, you can finish Ground Zeroes in twenty minutes. TWENTY MINUTES. Is it a full game? No. Is it worth money? In my opinion it is not. And I’m a fan of the franchise.

How did we get to this state in the video game world? We used to get demo disks in magazines for free. Now people are discussing paying for these samples of gameplay. It’s bulls***, if you ask me.

I remember when Dissidia Duocidem Prologus Final Fantasy (what an atrocious title) came out for the PSP on the PSN. It was $2.99 and was basically a demo feigning as a “prologue chapter.” If you were the type of diehard that would buy it, you would unlock extra content in the full release of Dissida 012 (another horribly titled game). Did that DLC justify the price of paying for a glorified demo? I think not. It was a waste of space on anyone’s PSP memory card, and didn’t even go as far as to knock the price of the full game down a bit.

I don’t want to live in a world where we are so microtransaction focused that we make people pay for a video game demo. I don’t want content to be segmented between a “prologue chapter” and the full game. I want the games to be released with everything included, and a free demo or no demo at all.

Does it surprise me that this happened to EA, makers of the infamous Dungeon Keeper reboot? F*** no.  But it will be a travesty if anyone else in the video game world “accidentally” charges for gameplay demos.

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