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Releasing a game demo can cut sales in half, according to DICE SUMMIT speaker

LoktofeitLoktofeit Stone Mountain, GAPosts: 13,668Member Uncommon

Jesse Schnell. Good game designer, but he should probably stick with game design and leave marketing to the marketing people.

Using Xbox 360 sales as an example, Schell proceeded to show his audience that the best-selling games were those that built expectations in players, but then gave them no way to try it out short of buying a copy. Summarising the collective feeling of the room, he said "You mean we spent all this money making a demo and getting it out there, and it cut our sales in half? Yes, that’s exactly what happened to you."

Schell went on to assert that the best way to increase sales is to tease gamers with a trailer, and then to make sure there is absolutely no way the game can be tried out unless they buy a full version. As he said, "The thing is, with no demo, you’ve gotta buy it if you want to try it."

 

Source: http://www.ign.com/articles/2013/02/11/jesse-schell-releasing-a-game-demo-can-cut-sales-in-half

 

 

There isn't a "right" or "wrong" way to play, if you want to use a screwdriver to put nails into wood, have at it, simply don't complain when the guy next to you with the hammer is doing it much better and easier. - Allein
"Graphics are often supplied by Engines that (some) MMORPG's are built in" - Spuffyre

Comments

  • Superman0XSuperman0X San Jose, CAPosts: 1,595Member Uncommon
    Yes. He accidentally stubled upon what the big P2P marketters already knew. You can hype a game way beyond reality, and in doing so, you can increase sales beyond what would be considered reasonable. This is something tha players have been complaining about for years... and now he has shown that the data backs up the consumer complaints.
  • niceguy3978niceguy3978 Gainesville, FLPosts: 2,000Member
    Originally posted by Loktofeit

    Jesse Schnell. Good game designer, but he should probably stick with game design and leave marketing to the marketing people.

    Using Xbox 360 sales as an example, Schell proceeded to show his audience that the best-selling games were those that built expectations in players, but then gave them no way to try it out short of buying a copy. Summarising the collective feeling of the room, he said "You mean we spent all this money making a demo and getting it out there, and it cut our sales in half? Yes, that’s exactly what happened to you."

    Schell went on to assert that the best way to increase sales is to tease gamers with a trailer, and then to make sure there is absolutely no way the game can be tried out unless they buy a full version. As he said, "The thing is, with no demo, you’ve gotta buy it if you want to try it."

     

    Source: http://www.ign.com/articles/2013/02/11/jesse-schell-releasing-a-game-demo-can-cut-sales-in-half

     

     

     I have no doubt that this is true.  This is also why we get fewer demos, and also why we get more fan rage.  There aren't that many industries where you can't return a product you are displeased with, most of them fall within entertainment.  When you can't try something out first, and then can't take it back if you don't like it, you are going to have high levels of vocal displeasure.

  • FromHellFromHell NY, NYPosts: 1,311Member
    Originally posted by Loktofeit

    Jesse Schnell. Good game designer, but he should probably stick with game design and leave marketing to the marketing people.

    Using Xbox 360 sales as an example, Schell proceeded to show his audience that the best-selling games were those that built expectations in players, but then gave them no way to try it out short of buying a copy. Summarising the collective feeling of the room, he said "You mean we spent all this money making a demo and getting it out there, and it cut our sales in half? Yes, that’s exactly what happened to you."

    Schell went on to assert that the best way to increase sales is to tease gamers with a trailer, and then to make sure there is absolutely no way the game can be tried out unless they buy a full version. As he said, "The thing is, with no demo, you’ve gotta buy it if you want to try it."

     

    Source: http://www.ign.com/articles/2013/02/11/jesse-schell-releasing-a-game-demo-can-cut-sales-in-half

     

     

    It's the buy before try trap! 

    bad games never have a demo

    Secrets of Dragon?s Spine Trailer.. ! :D
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fwT9cFVQCMw

    Best MMOs ever played: Ultima, EvE, SW Galaxies, Age of Conan, The Secret World
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  • MightyChasmMightyChasm londonPosts: 298Member

    Doesn't surprise me for the bigger releases, but I have bought a few small indie games off the back of a demo that I would never have heard of otherwise.    

  • SovrathSovrath Boston Area, MAPosts: 18,455Member Uncommon

    Yeah, I read that last night.

    I have to say that I can see a demo not really encapsulating what a game is about and that cutting up a game here and there in order to sell it might do more harm than good.

    On the other hand, maybe players just try the demo and realize the game is crap.

  • ShakyMoShakyMo BradfordPosts: 7,207Member
    Releasing a game demo can cut sales in half - IF YOUR GAME SUCKS

    If your game is good it can lead the lots and lots of word of mouth sales - see doom, terraria, minecraft etc..
  • H0urg1assH0urg1ass Austin, TXPosts: 511Member Uncommon

    It's an asshole move for a company to pull, but he's partially correct.  If their game is truly shit, then it will shine through the demo and the beta, and people won't waste their money.   So what he's really sayin is that if they think they have a shit game on their hands, then hide it until release day.

    I can count on both hands the amount of demo's and betas I've played  which cemented my decision that the game wasn't worth purchasing.  The most recent was TSW.  I played the Beta right up until release and then said, "nope if this is what they're releasing, then I don't need to waste my time and money."

    On the flip side of the coin, I only spent about a week in the Mechwarrior beta and I immediately purchased a Founder pack in preparation for release.

  • SeelinnikoiSeelinnikoi LONDONPosts: 661Member Uncommon
    Coming from DICE, who makes/publishes/breeds the worst games ever!
  • FARGIN_WARFARGIN_WAR New York, NYPosts: 166Member
    Originally posted by Loktofeit

    Jesse Schnell. Good game designer, but he should probably stick with game design and leave marketing to the marketing people.

    Using Xbox 360 sales as an example, Schell proceeded to show his audience that the best-selling games were those that built expectations in players, but then gave them no way to try it out short of buying a copy. Summarising the collective feeling of the room, he said "You mean we spent all this money making a demo and getting it out there, and it cut our sales in half? Yes, that’s exactly what happened to you."

    Schell went on to assert that the best way to increase sales is to tease gamers with a trailer, and then to make sure there is absolutely no way the game can be tried out unless they buy a full version. As he said, "The thing is, with no demo, you’ve gotta buy it if you want to try it."

     

    Source: http://www.ign.com/articles/2013/02/11/jesse-schell-releasing-a-game-demo-can-cut-sales-in-half

     

     

    Right. So this guy came the the conclusion that half of their customer base found the game not worth playing once they tried the demo, due to the existance of a demo, and not because its a not very good game.

    So I guess that means instead of trying to improve on the quality of their games they instead want to bamboozle their customers with hype to make them buy a game sight unseen. No wonder these companies keep folding or getting absorbed by the huge corporate crap factories.

    image

    If you don’t do stupid things while you’re young, you’ll have nothing to smile about when you’re old.

  • SpottyGekkoSpottyGekko RotterdamPosts: 3,845Member Uncommon

    He's absolutely correct of course ! image

     

    Pump the hype and keep the "mystery" under wraps for as long as possible. People will queue around the block from midnight to be first into the store on release day...

     

    Modern gamers are very impatient and always fall for the hype. Every new AAA game launch seems to prove that fact. And the old cliche of "Be the first on your block to own <Game X> !" is just as powerful today as it was when some marketing person first coined it decades ago.

    Besides, with everyone being in such a mad rush to buy  a new game, you'll have sold millions of copies before word gets around that it sux.

    Everyone has to "get it on release day" at the very least. Thousands (perhaps hundreds of thousands) of gamers regularly pay in advance to get "early access" to a new release. Just as many regularly pre-order (and often pre-pay) just to get beta access.

     

    In the not too distant future, it will probably be quite common to be offered "closed beta access" for $40 or $50, even though the game is actually F2P.... And believe me, thousands of players will pay the fee... image

  • maskedweaselmaskedweasel houston, TXPosts: 7,277Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by FARGIN_WAR
    Originally posted by Loktofeit

    Jesse Schnell. Good game designer, but he should probably stick with game design and leave marketing to the marketing people.

    Using Xbox 360 sales as an example, Schell proceeded to show his audience that the best-selling games were those that built expectations in players, but then gave them no way to try it out short of buying a copy. Summarising the collective feeling of the room, he said "You mean we spent all this money making a demo and getting it out there, and it cut our sales in half? Yes, that’s exactly what happened to you."

    Schell went on to assert that the best way to increase sales is to tease gamers with a trailer, and then to make sure there is absolutely no way the game can be tried out unless they buy a full version. As he said, "The thing is, with no demo, you’ve gotta buy it if you want to try it."

     

    Source: http://www.ign.com/articles/2013/02/11/jesse-schell-releasing-a-game-demo-can-cut-sales-in-half

     

     

    Right. So this guy came the the conclusion that half of their customer base found the game not worth playing once they tried the demo, due to the existance of a demo, and not because its a not very good game.

    So I guess that means instead of trying to improve on the quality of their games they instead want to bamboozle their customers with hype to make them buy a game sight unseen. No wonder these companies keep folding or getting absorbed by the huge corporate crap factories.

    This isn't necessarily a good game/ bad game scenario, or improving on certain games.  Its about understanding whether a player would like the game or not.

     

    This is how things were back in the cartridge days... you couldn't demo all the games, and you ended up buying a ton of games that ended up being, not what you expected,  and most choices were made by reading the information on the boxes.

     

    This is why my development is focusing around mobile platforms.  Ad-supported revenue, while not directly a cash-cow is the perfect try-before-you-buy-but-we-still-get-something scenario.  Likewise with development opportunities that utilize a "cash shop".

     

    Blindsiding customers is a great way to make money up front, but also a great way to get a bad reputation.  

     

    Better Demo's is what they need to create.

    "Loan me a Dragon I wanna see space"


    image

  • tom_goretom_gore TamperePosts: 1,796Member Uncommon

    Like lambs to the slaughter!

    This is why I never pre-order games without being able to try them first.

     

    Speaking of pre-orders, what exactly is the point of pre-ordering a digital copy of a game anyway?

     

  • MightyChasmMightyChasm londonPosts: 298Member
    Originally posted by tom_gore

    Like lambs to the slaughter!

    This is why I never pre-order games without being able to try them first.

     

    Speaking of pre-orders, what exactly is the point of pre-ordering a digital copy of a game anyway?

     

    You get some pointless fluff and to beta test it for free!  Lucky people.  

    And the value is literally double the made-up prices in their cash shop.  

  • tom_goretom_gore TamperePosts: 1,796Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by MightyChasm
    Originally posted by tom_gore

    Like lambs to the slaughter!

    This is why I never pre-order games without being able to try them first.

     

    Speaking of pre-orders, what exactly is the point of pre-ordering a digital copy of a game anyway?

     

    You get some pointless fluff and to beta test it for free!  Lucky people.  

    And the value is literally double the made-up prices in their cash shop.  

    Yeah. I still remember the times when beta testers were paid to do their job and not the other way around.

    I really need to get into bridge real estate. There might be a lot of customers among the gamers of today. 200 USD for a Neverwinter Founder Pack? ROFLMAO

  • XAPKenXAPKen Northwest, INPosts: 4,919Member Uncommon

    Disclosure dampens hype.  Hype drives pre-purchases.  I don't doubt the validity of the guy's statements, but it's not like this has been a secret.

     


    Ken Fisher - Semi retired old fart Network Administrator, now turned Amateur Game Developer.  I don't Forum PVP.  If you feel I've attacked you, it was probably by accident.  Realm Lords 2 on MMORPG.com
  • SpottyGekkoSpottyGekko RotterdamPosts: 3,845Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by tom_gore
    Originally posted by MightyChasm
    Originally posted by tom_gore

    Like lambs to the slaughter!

    This is why I never pre-order games without being able to try them first.

     

    Speaking of pre-orders, what exactly is the point of pre-ordering a digital copy of a game anyway?

     

    You get some pointless fluff and to beta test it for free!  Lucky people.  

    And the value is literally double the made-up prices in their cash shop.  

    Yeah. I still remember the times when beta testers were paid to do their job and not the other way around.

    I really need to get into bridge real estate. There might be a lot of customers among the gamers of today. 200 USD for a Neverwinter Founder Pack? ROFLMAO

    Yup, and no doubt they'll sell 50 thousand or so !

    After all, the game is F2P, so many people will justify the $200 because they "won't be paying a sub"....

  • mmoguy43mmoguy43 , CAPosts: 2,441Member Uncommon

    Either the game was bad or it was ONLY good, not amazing. There is a plethora of good games out there so your game has to be beyond just good to sell really well.

     

    Schell:

    "Fake marketing bullshit isn't going to work anymore," he said.

    "It used to work in terms of getting games sold, but in the world of free-to-play it's not going to work anymore.

    "Making a good game isn't good enough anymore. You have to bring people a gateway to the promised land. Nothing less than that is going to work."

    http://www.gamesindustry.biz/articles/2013-02-08-schell-fake-marketing-bullshit-isnt-going-to-work-anymore

  • ArclanArclan Chicago, ILPosts: 1,494Member Uncommon


    Originally posted by ShakyMo
    Releasing a game demo can cut sales in half - IF YOUR GAME SUCKSIf your game is good it can lead the lots and lots of word of mouth sales - see doom, terraria, minecraft etc..

    Yes they left that important detail out of their meeting.

    Doom would not exist if not for the free Demo they gave away. WoW would not be market dominant if they didn't first give away the game to millions of Chinese players.

    Luckily, i don't need you to like me to enjoy video games. -nariusseldon.
    In F2P I think it's more a case of the game's trying to play the player's. -laserit

  • cronius77cronius77 Fairfax, VAPosts: 1,347Member Uncommon
    thats the thing about this sort of attitude in the industry though , all its doing is driving people to use pirated software, music, and movies when bit torrent sites for a long time where underground , membership only groups. People will only get burnt so many times before it just pisses them off and they try to obtain things for free to make sure they like it. I cannot think of how many times Ive waste 50 or more dollars at the movies in the past and as soon as I left the theater regreted it because critics and reviews hyped a crappy movie. People have a right to be pissed off to , with this sort of dev attitude. Thats why I personally think now free to play and buy to play will be majority of the mmo industry from now on. There is a complete lack of trust in devs and studios and players have every damn right to feel burned as games continue to climb in price and you got assholes out here like that speaking just worried about the bottom line and not long term entertainment.
  • LoktofeitLoktofeit Stone Mountain, GAPosts: 13,668Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by maskedweasel

    Blindsiding customers is a great way to make money up front, but also a great way to get a bad reputation.  

    The only problem with that is that's not really how it works. EA and it's reputationis the best example of that. People will hate EA right up until the next release of their favorite EA title is available for pre-order with exclusive skins.

     

    There isn't a "right" or "wrong" way to play, if you want to use a screwdriver to put nails into wood, have at it, simply don't complain when the guy next to you with the hammer is doing it much better and easier. - Allein
    "Graphics are often supplied by Engines that (some) MMORPG's are built in" - Spuffyre

  • LoktofeitLoktofeit Stone Mountain, GAPosts: 13,668Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by tom_gore

    Speaking of pre-orders, what exactly is the point of pre-ordering a digital copy of a game anyway?

    None, which is why they have switched to calling them founder's packs. 

    That's a damn good question, though, as the lack of a retail box product and absence of physical goods as extras really should get a lot of us (yes, I include myself there) seriously thinking about why we're spending money months in advance and what are we really getting out of it.

    There isn't a "right" or "wrong" way to play, if you want to use a screwdriver to put nails into wood, have at it, simply don't complain when the guy next to you with the hammer is doing it much better and easier. - Allein
    "Graphics are often supplied by Engines that (some) MMORPG's are built in" - Spuffyre

  • SpottyGekkoSpottyGekko RotterdamPosts: 3,845Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Loktofeit
    Originally posted by maskedweasel

    Blindsiding customers is a great way to make money up front, but also a great way to get a bad reputation.  

    The only problem with that is that's not really how it works. EA and it's reputationis the best example of that. People will hate EA right up until the next release of their favorite EA title is available for pre-order with exclusive skins.

     

    EA isn't a game company, they're a marketing company. How else do you manage to sell basically the same game every year for 25 years running, by mainly changing the box art ? image

    Madden NFL will be releasing the "25th Anniversary Edition" this year. As of 2010, 85 million copies sold and $3Billion revenue earned during it's lifetime...

  • XAPKenXAPKen Northwest, INPosts: 4,919Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by SpottyGekko

    Madden NFL will be releasing the "25th Anniversary Edition" this year. As of 2010, 85 million copies sold and $3Billion revenue earned during it's lifetime...

     

    Damn, that's one serious pile of cash.

     


    Ken Fisher - Semi retired old fart Network Administrator, now turned Amateur Game Developer.  I don't Forum PVP.  If you feel I've attacked you, it was probably by accident.  Realm Lords 2 on MMORPG.com
  • SouldrainerSouldrainer Elmer, NJPosts: 1,857Member

    Jesse Schnell has written THE definitive book on game design.  That said, he as never really been that great at anything else, and his other projects have largely flopped.  Therefore, I say he needs to stick to the book writing and stop making statements that will cause the industry to flop.

     

    Demos worked just fine for a lot of games, including Mass Effect 3 and Batman:  Arkham Asylum.

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  • Dexter2010Dexter2010 Beverly Hills, CAPosts: 244Member Common
    The simplest solution is to watch gameplay on youtube or from a friend/neighbor.
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