Demonisation: Crytek Doubts Demos’ Future

On Friday, Develop reported that Crytek CEO Cevat Yerli sees the end of free demos. Complaining about the expense, he notes that “A free demo is a luxury we have in the game industry that we don’t have in other industries such as film.” Of course, he’s entirely right. The idea of showing a small edited part of the experience to give a taste of the full thing is unknown in films. Which is a shame, because if there were only such a thing, they could show several of these “film-demos” before the main feature and so give ’em a little more exposure. Stepping aside from the sarcasm, there’s a lot of the aforementioned forseeing in the Develop piece, which is well worth reading. Meanwhile, I foresee an angry, eye-rolling comment-thread.

116 Comments

  1. Baboonanza says:

    I think it depends on the game. For a big name sequel that will have a large promotion budget and is guaranteed to sell well I can see that demos serve little purpose.

    But for smaller/unknown games it can be a really good investment. For instance I would bet that the demo for ‘Just Cause 2’ (not even that small a game) made a lot of extra sales and more than paid for itself.

    • Baboonanza says:

      Also, you’re better off releasing no demo than a rubbish demo. See ‘Alien vs. Predator 3’

    • Heliocentric says:

      @baboo i often read the lack of a demo as “game is bad and we know it”. Why would they want to warn you, afterall.

    • Colthor says:

      @Baboonanza:
      Or Terra Nova. If that hadn’t had a demo I’d’ve probably got it full price, rather than for a couple of quid from a bargain bin. Poor Looking Glass *sniff*.

    • The Sombrero Kid says:

      Terra Nova is still one of the best games ever made. it’s kind of sad that that’s true 15 years later.

    • bob_d says:

      On the other hand, I believe the studio that made “Just Cause 2” had had let go most of its employees by the time the game was done, because it couldn’t afford to keep them. They made the hunting game after JC2 because even doing game proposals for publishers was too expensive.
      Not that I agree with the guy, but I understand why its the Crytek CEO is the one suggesting they cut demos. Since each new generation of AAA game engines gets more and more expensive to develop for, and Crytek is one of the few companies really pushing to make full use of the current (and future) hardware, theirs is one of the most expensive engines in which to make games. The fundamental problem that he’s not acknowledging is: given that development costs are increasing far faster than the market size, simply developing AAA titles is becoming “prohibitively expensive.” Crytek is doing everything it can to reduce costs, such as having a development studio in Hungary, and it’s clear they’re desperate to jettison every cost they can and add every possible new revenue stream. Along the way they (along with the other AAA developers) are going to make some dumb mistakes.

    • Vinraith says:

      @Heliocentric

      Exactly. The lack of a demo usually reads as one of two things. Either the publisher/developer has low confidence in the game or they don’t feel any need to support it. Neither is a good thing.

    • np says:

      @Heliocentric

      Where as in Japan, releasing a demo for a game is seen as a weakness and a lack in confidence in the games quality.

  2. Metalfish says:

    Hugs all round, you wonderful people.

  3. Veret says:

    All right, allow me to be the first of many to roll my eyes at this news. Paid demos are an oxymoron, this will increase piracy, lose money in the long run, what the hell are they thinking, etc.

    Really, though, what part of making a demo is suddenly “prohibitively expensive” all of a sudden? I thought most developers just cut out a portion of their game, stuck it on steam/gamershell, and called it a day. Maybe if Crytek could bother to explain why this is wrong, they would be seeing a little more sympathy.

    • qrter says:

      From what I gather, making a demo is extra work – they’re generally not just a bit hacked out of the whole game, but specifically modified for demo-osity.

      Now, I could see how this could be a problem for a small and/or indie developer, but larger guys like Crytek – not so much. (This is completely regardless of Crytek always trying to push the technical graphical side of gaming, which means people really need a demo, if only to see if it won’t reduce their system to a smoking ruin.)

    • JKjoker says:

      its obvious what they are thinking, they want to implement a sort of paid “shareware” release model so that you pay 5-10 bucks to find out if a game is shit (which you wont since they will make sure the demo is the best part of the game, and in many games the flaws expose themselves once the initial “wow” factor wears off) and then fork another 60 to find out if your first impression was right (probably wont), this works very well for them :

      it forces you to use “their” direct download online drm service of choice
      it forces you to install the micropayment platform in order to play the demo (even if you dont buy the game they get to suck free marketing data from your box and force feed you targeted ads/bargain opportunities for other games though it)
      and it gives them the opportunity to make even shorter, crappier games since half the gamers will only play the demo and the other half are screwed the second they pay the extra 60 bucks
      also, you know whats better than free beta testing ? when beta testers pay YOU!

    • cliffski says:

      I’ve worked at big studios and alone, and I’ve never understood why making a demo is so much extra work. It really isn’t.
      Its just a matter of craving out part of the game.
      A separate list of assets for the installer, and a bunch of #ifdefs in the code. It really cannot be much work.
      Either my demos suck, and other demos are awesome in ways I don’t understand, or everyone in triple A studios is doing it wrong, or its just a pathetic smokescreen for deciding not to bother.

  4. LionsPhil says:

    Simple solution, here: no demo => no sale until it hits budget and is cheap enough to buy as an unknown.

    Enjoy your “PC gaming is dying”. It was murder.

  5. tiktaalik says:

    Raaaaagh! *rolls eyes*

  6. Rich says:

    The amount of Demo you get for a new film can be enormous. Never mind the two or three different trailers and teasers that tend to get put out, what about all the featurettes and making-ofs that will do the rounds before release of any block-buster? Silly man.

    I’m angry and my eyes are definitely rolling.
    Frankly, he can screw off.

  7. Heliocentric says:

    Sometimes a demo is just a content ripped or time limited sample which is cheaply made and results in increased sales.

    Can’t see why anyone would stop doing that.

    Sure some games have specially made demos, fear and fear 2 for example.

    I don’t really spend more than £5 without a demo or some extreme hype.

    Enough of this, i vote with my wallet and i vote nay, demos shall result in me spending money, i’m not alone on this, ever pay for a game you might not of after enjoying a demo?

    • LionsPhil says:

      Hell, I bought Red Faction against PC GAMER’s advice based on the demo.

      Admittedly, I regretted that when I finished the damn thing in a single weekend and the Geotech stuff largely petered out after the first level, but from a business standpoint, that was a sale they wouldn’t have got otherwise. And it did mean I got to stick detpacks to civilians and listen to them run around screaming and flailing their arms.

      What?

    • D says:

      and Half-Life! What an awesome demo that was.

    • Clovis says:

      @D: I liked the Half-Life demo so much that I was disappointed that that sequence was not actually in the game.

      Of course, as a kid with no money, I played the demo over and over again. I only managed to play the full game years later.

  8. Hmm-Hmm. says:

    No. As someones else, somewhere else said (paraphrased): a demo is there to get people to whet their appetites. It’s a type of marketing.

    And if they’re so tight on their wallets, just don’t make demos. You’ll lose customers for it but at least you aren’t cheating them out of their money (-AND- losing customers).

  9. Sobric says:

    *WARNING* Below May Contain Opinion *WARNING*

    I think it’s a fair point.

    Demos are a luxury that many developers cannot afford, but it differs game to game in a huge way. Some games (anything with stratified levels for example) can just package-up on already made level/mission and release, no problem. However, if your game is vast and free roaming it is a little trickier. Just Cause 2 had the full game with a timer (and no missions?) but tbh I don’t always feel like downloading a full game, especially if I’m not even sure if I’d like it or not. The alternative to that is reusing assets to make a special “demo version”, but that is time consuming for developers and doesn’t fully represent the final game.

    So I’d agree that demos are a luxury. However, they are not an uneccessary luxury. Despite the problems I’ve just outlined, I can’t understand AAA games not releasing demos. They have the funding and the staff to release demos, which can only boost sales if borderline buyers enjoy the product.

    Smaller developers: well, I can understand not wanting to release demos, but if you can you should.

    • Sobric says:

      Also, the film comparison is rubbish, sorry. Film trailers are a few minutes of cut-and-pasted footage done by an editing team, with added affects. Game developers already do that.

      You’d all go fucking spare if a developer released 2 minutes of gameplay that jumped all about the final product.

    • LionsPhil says:

      Demos matter EVEN MORE to small developers, because they NEED people to get hooked without any brand force behind them.

      Witness Multiwinia’s flop after their stupid, stupid first demo didn’t include multiplayer. Then their second did, and I believe things picked up, but it they’d already fumbled the ball.

      (No, I am not suggesting that this is the only factor affecting indie sales, DURRHURR. Anecdotally again, though, I wouldn’t have bought World of Goo and then raved to everyone within listening distance about it had there not been a demo to get me hooked first.)

    • Sobric says:

      Hmm reading through my post it makes it seem as though I’m in complete agreement with Crytek man – I’m not I just don’t think his point should be dissmissed.

      What I’m basically trying to say is that if you can release a demo, you should (unless you know the demo is really, really bad). BUT I’m not going to get uppity if a game doesn’t release a demo. Like Helio said, I can vote with my wallet – it’s their loss not mine if I don’t buy.

      N.B: Speaking of Helio and Demos – SWAT 4 is awesome!

    • Vandelay says:

      “You’d all go fucking spare if a developer released 2 minutes of gameplay that jumped all about the final product.”

      Both FEAR games did this and it worked reasonably well as a showcase for the game. I think it is something more companies should do, although it would be much more effort than just releasing a single level.

    • Heliocentric says:

      @sobric i know. Watch direct2drive, they have triannual sales on swat 4 or some. You can get it with the expansion for $5 if you are patient.

    • Vitamin Powered says:

      @Sobric

      Yes, but film trailers are released in the same format as the films themselves. The entire point is to give the potential customer a brief taste of what they’ll be getting for their money. And you’re forgetting the clip segments that are often shown on tv shows to promote films; they tend to show a full scene on those shows, again in a similar enough format. Videos of gameplay are too big a shift, going from actual executing code allowing interaction and a taste of gameplay, to a set fixed demo.

      Plus you don’t need to see a film trailer at your local cinema first to check whether the projector can play the film at the right speed.

  10. cliffski says:

    This guy is a complete flipping idiot talking complete and utter crap.

    Yours truly, someone who makes and sells games.

    P.S, Cheers dude. The less demos triple A dunderheads make, the more eyeballs land on demos of indie developers.

    • The Innocent says:

      @cliffski

      You’re completely right; power to you. Because of your demos, I’ve been compelled to buy GSB and Kudos 2 recently, whereas some bigger releases I’ve avoided, thus freeing up money for said purchases.

    • 12kill4 says:

      Going largely from his appearence on GFW Radio a few years back, I think it is a bit much to call him an idiot. As much as I do love to hate on people who make ‘There Is No Alternative’ statements, he has generally come across as an intelligable human being- albiet somewhat prone to hyperbole- so perhaps the attacks upon the functionality of his mental faculties are a bit undeserved… or at least premature.

      In terms of actually addressing his comments, I can forsee the gradual discontinuation of *free* demos for large studio titles- especially after the fun that was the BF:BC2 *Beta*. Perhaps a greater move towards conditional access to demos would have been a more accurate prediction. We all remember the complaints of developers having to ‘waste’ time on constructing big demos for E3 presentation… playable demos seem like the obvious next casuality in an industry concerned with time and cost management.

      Seeing as Kotick is bringing in all those package goods people, perhaps there will be some cross-pollination of video games people into the package goods industry… I can’t wait for the free demo of my next pair of jeans to arrive (even if it only includes the left buttock pocket).

    • Clovis says:

      Flipping? Out of curiousity, where’d that come from? In the US, I’m only aware of it being used like that by Mormons in Utah. Is it a common fake-cuss in England? Or did you just like Napoleon Dynomite?

    • Baboonanza says:

      It’s not widely used anymore, but ‘flipping’ was fairly common in the UK. I seem to remember it being used in Fawltey Towers or Monty Python, but I may be making that up. I know my dad used to say it.

    • Lack_26 says:

      I use the word quite a lot still, for example I’ll say ‘flipping heck’ (well, I actually say flippin’ ‘eck). So it might be something more common in Britain.

    • Rich says:

      My mum uses ‘flipping’ all the time. That and ‘flaming’, which are both interchangeable replacements for ‘f*cking’. ‘Sugar’ is her preferred replacement for ‘sh*t’.

      On the other hand, you won’t find many people referring to a swearword as a ‘cuss’.

  11. Dinger says:

    He’s right. If demos do not increase sales, don’t do them. This is no different from studios not showing crappy movies to reviewers before opening. If people are going to install your demo and say “wow! my PC cannot handle these graphics, and the game design is punitively Calvinist with aliens thrown in for no particular reason!”, then, no, you can’t afford the luxury of a demo.

    • LionsPhil says:

      Ouch. You win the Zing of the Week award for that one.

    • Hmm-Hmm. says:

      In the case of Crysis, however, not being able to run the demo (at least at the time the game was released) could certainly be regarded as a forwarning of not being able to run Crysis. It being Crysis of all games.
      Therefore all the more reason to deliver a demo. It just has to be a good one (not long, but a decent in being able to see how it runs and how the game feels).

    • Hmm-Hmm. says:

      I think something flew over my head just now..

      (Grrrr.. internet!)

  12. Crozon says:

    here lies the problem, games are expensive to buy. People use demos to see if its any good and to see how the graphics are, controls etc and does it run on my pc.
    Get rid of demos and we only have the opinion of reviewers to say if its good or not before release.
    And the only way to try before you buy is then to download a dodgy copy.

    Maybe one way is to do what they did with burnout. Release the whole game for download and you could play a bit for free and then pay to unlock the full game.

    • RedFred says:

      That’s exactly how I feel. I’m not going to shell out money for a game where my computer’s specs are borderline because if it then does not work I can’t return it to the store.

      So if a game does not have a demo that I can try and my computer is around the minimum specs required then goodbye sale for said game.

      It’s too much of a risk to buy a game and hope it runs knowing that if doesn’t you’re out of pocket 40% of the purchase price.

  13. Jannakar says:

    Demos would not be (so) necessary if the gaming press were such a bunch of sycophants to the gaming industry.

    You honestly can’t trust even the majority of sites/mags as they are so deep in the pockets of the industry

    • Sobric says:

      I can’t say I’m fully informed on the goings-on behind the scenes of gaming mags/sites, but I guess this is a big issues with AAA titles and Demos (let’s leave small developers out of it for the moment).

      AAA games, especially sequels, gain a lot of sales from their fanbase – a demo probably wont change that fact. However, this section of consumer is relatively small I’d guess.

      Many many people will be swayed by previews and heavy advertising from magazines and websites. This sort of advertising definitely covers the largest section of consumer.

      The smallest section of consumer (outside of those who just aren’t interested in your games genre) are those consumers who hold off of buying until they can try a demo, but also take the above point into consideration.

      This last section of informed consumers, we can call them “RPS readers”, while it benefits the most from good Demos, is not the main target of most AAA publishers. Assuming a limited budget on marketing, the benefit of spending on “hype” through magazine/website previews, reviews and adverts has a much greater impact on sales than a good Demo will. Good Demos will still boost sales, that is certain, but so will launching a huge advertising campaign on various Games websites and magazines – and that nets you “critical” acclaim at the same time.

      Basically what I’m trying to say is that while Cevat Yerli’s comments are pretty hard to swallow, through him is speaking the cold, hard, consumer-unfriendly voice of “Good Business”.

  14. Zwebbie says:

    Last time I checked, movie theaters sort of fulfilled the purpose of demos for film. I can see a movie once and then decide whether to buy it or not. It’s not a perfect comparison, but I wouldn’t buy a film at full price if I hadn’t seen it before and liked it.

    Anyway, that’s at least one sale lost, because I rarely ever buy games if they don’t have a demo. It doesn’t seem to make a difference to most people, though.

    …Oh, who am I kidding, even if Crysis 2 had a demo, I don’t think I could be bothered to download it.

  15. rocketman71 says:

    I give the same credibility to anything coming from Cevat “We would have sold 20 million units of Crysis if not for piracy” Yerlo than something I read from an article in the Daily Mail.

    Oh, wait, thinking about it, the Mail has a bit more credibility.

  16. Mungrul says:

    They really shouldn’t let Cevat Yerli speak to people, should they?
    Every time I see him saying something, he’s inevitably sticking his foot in his gob.

  17. Britpunk says:

    Bit stupid I think, especially coming from a ‘cutting edge’ dev.
    You see, Crytek’s games are notoriously demanding. IMO the best way to try whether a high-spec game will run smoothly or like treacle on your machine is with a free demo. Especially when the ‘recommended’ specs give widely varying results from game to game, dev to dev, publisher to publisher.
    It was on this basis that I bought Far Cry on release. It was on this basis that I did not buy Crysis on release – there’s simply no point spending £35 on an unknown when It may struggle on my computer. After all, we can’t all afford to keep our PC’s at a high spec.

  18. Saucy says:

    Games are a luxury.

    Should we stop making those?

    • LionsPhil says:

      Saucy has worked out how to completely stop game piracy dead!

  19. Cinnamon says:

    Crytek plan to sell games based on saying controversial things that get on blogs and pretty screenshots. They are not confident of gameplay quality enough have demos. Shocking. A first for the games industry.

  20. Buemba says:

    I always thought the cost of making a demo was covered in the marketing budget. Then again, who knows how effective they are as a marketing tool nowdays…

    All I know is that without demos the list of games I wouldn’t have bought include Hi-Octane, Fallout, Syberia, Blueberry Garden, MDK, AaAAaaaA, Defense Grid, Peggle, Trine, Dirt 2…

    Plus the shareware distribution model was what got me into PC gaming in the first place.

  21. Rich says:

    Of course, you can play a demo and be really please with how it runs, only to find the full game is a bug riddled monstrosity. I’m looking at you Empire: TW.

    Also, make the console players pay for demos. They’ll lap it up.
    MW2: Stimulus Package. 2.5 million DLs in the first week. $15 each.
    FOR 5 FECKING MAPS!

  22. wyrmsine says:

    Not that I don’t agree with assertions regarding Mr. Yeril’s sub-par reasoning skills, but there is a precedent for this. I seem to remember $5 shareware demos sold at the front counter of computer stores, positioned for impulse purchasing. Granted, this was back before the internet, so it’s safe to say the landscape of game sales has changed somewhat…

    Still and all, it’s been done before. Can’t see it working now, though, unless they go to the trouble of providing physical copies of the demo for a fiver at the check-out of the local Walmart. Which is still too much of a crapshoot to be a viable strategy, so I can’t see it working well in any case, but I’d still buy the odd demo that way just to avoid a long download.

  23. Lambchops says:

    I may have been a bit scathing about demos last time the discussion came up here (mostly because so many demos are shit and not as good as the Starlancer demo). However suggesting there is no future for demos is a tad silly. And when I say a tad I actually mean very!

    While for the most part I’ve got a fair idea of whether I want to buy a game not from previews and trailers demos are still handy for checking out titles that are a bit different (I’m not commiting to buying Plain Sight, for example, until they release a demo) or for testing whether big budget titles will actually run OK on my computer.

  24. drewski says:

    All the obvious jokes have been used *sad face*

  25. _Nocturnal says:

    Another expensive luxury that we have in games and we don’t in other industries: interactivity.
    You spoiled brats may have gotten used to actually *do* things in games, but guess what? It’s expensive! And it makes designers’ brains hurt. It’s pretty much bad for all humanity.

  26. XM says:

    I can’t remember the last demo I tried they jumped ship to evil boxes. May have been something on Steam or a free weekend.

    With the power of the internet demos are needed less as you can find lots of info about a game. Then there are forums that tell if the game is a buggy flop on day one.

    So I think time should be put to finding more bugs than creating a demo that is nothing like the final game.

  27. HermitUK says:

    tl:dr version: We don’t want all the PC folks complaining about how we’ve dumbed down Crysis for the consoles. At least not without getting their cash first.

    And you totally know those complaints will be coming, accurate or otherwise :p

    • Clovis says:

      How could you dumb down Crysis for the consoles? By forcing auto-aim?

      Now, you can definitely downgrade the graphics …

  28. the affront says:

    They should just make returning games, once you’ve bought them, easier (as in integrated into the UI and all that). Shouldn’t be hard to do with, say, Steam, as evidenced by the free play weekends.
    So you pay, download the full thing and have 24 hours or whatever to try and maybe “return” it. Or probably only even pay after those 24 hours as to make the whole billing process easier and all.
    Seriously, what the fuck, why aren’t they doing it already? It’s perplexing and nowhere even near logical.

    It shouldn’t be rocket science. If only those fucks gave half a shit about their customers for a change – instead of their idiotic WAH WAH PIRATES theatric…

    • Wordy says:

      Yeah, because no one is going to download the game, complete it, then ‘return’ it for a full refund, are they? Didn’t get enough of it? Set up a new account and ‘buy’ it again!

      Steam might as well turn their business model into a free game rental distribution service. I suppose it would go some way to reducing piracy though, since no one would have any need to download their games illegally any more.

    • the affront says:

      Wordy:
      How ’bout you tie it to a valid credit card number (maybe even one requiring a prior purchase of something) instead of to a Steam account? So you wouldn’t be able to do it twice.
      Also how ’bout you reduce the time to whatever you deem fair, depending on the length of your game? I’m sure you could even only start the timer once you’ve fully downloaded it…
      And furthermore, how ’bout you think of the people who pirate a game to have an honest (same performance, not just the most fun content of the full game, etc) demo of it and then never bother to DO buy it once they already have it, which would MAYBE, if they got a full demo for a few hours, including automatic billing after those hours if they don’t cancel/”return”, even buy a few more games.
      But nah. That shit will never happen. Let’s hate on the pirates and fuck over the few honest customers left instead, it has worked so well until now, hasn’t it?

      Think a little, next time.

  29. Flakfizer says:

    I bought my first PC as a direct result of playing the demo for the original System Shock at a friends house.

  30. Aemony says:

    I hate demos as they are often used to put the player in the most enjoyable part of the game. If you have played the demo and liked it you know that that might be as fun as it gets in the best parts, meaning the rest of the game is pretty bad.

    There’s an option to demos however, which I constantly use. Playing at a friends home or talking to other people who have bought the game and played it through is a much better demonstration/review of what we can expect.

  31. dhex says:

    some of the pain might be blunted if it functioned as a discounted intro to buying the game itself. i.e. i might consider paying 10 bucks for a full-featured demo if i meant i got the option to buy the game for 10 or 15 bucks less than the full cost.

    but if it’s in addition to? yeeeeeaaah.

  32. Twigg says:

    This idea may have a bit life in it (however small) if buying the demo now reduces the cost of buying the game later.
    ie. if you buy the demo for £10 before you can upgrade to the full version later for £25, instead of paying the full £35 straight away.

    I m guessing though that this pretty unlikely because the guy is clearly mental.

    Yerli – “Ultimately, it will be a better deal for the gamer.”

  33. Shalrath says:

    “Many many people will be swayed by previews and heavy advertising from magazines and websites.”

    Modern Warfare 2’s marketing cost 200 million dollars. That’s significantly more than the game itself cost to make.

    • Guildenstern says:

      Well I guess I can see now why Activision is so confident that they’ll be able to repeat success of two previous MW games with the third one… Their advertising budget didn’t get fired.

  34. jalf says:

    Seems like we’re back at the good old sense of entitlement. In most other industries, something like this would have been a simple matter of business: “do we generate enough additional sales by releasing a free demo to justify the cost of developing it?”

    In the games industry, somehow, that doesn’t matter. Game developers are *entitled* to us buying their games.

    We shouldn’t ask under what conditions we’re buying it (DRM, download/activation limits), we shouldn’t ask what’s *in* the game (demos) or anything else.

    We should just buy their games to support our friendly game developers.

    Ridiculous, really. It wouldn’t bother me one bit if Crytek decided “we are no longer going to make demos, as we’ve determined it isn’t worth it”, but this pathetic attempt at trying to convince us that it’s some kind of luxury they only ever did for our sake just screams to me that they haven’t understood the basic fact that they’re operating a business.

    Game developers should not make demos for our sake. They should do it for their own sake, to increase sales. And if they determine that people buy their games even without a demo, they don’t need to apologize to us, or try to convince us that it’s for the best or any of that rubbish. Just stop making them.

    You’re not doing us a favor by making a game. You’re doing it in the hope that we’re going to buy it. Base your business on that, and not on some hope that we’re going to feel sympathetic towards your plight.

  35. Mario Figueiredo says:

    Quite honestly couldn’t care any less if triple-A games would suddenly drop their demos. But I’d understand the anger coming from consumers of these products. Fortunately none of the “big corp” logic makes any real sense in the indie industry, where I’ve been buying most of my games for the past years.

    It’s quite ironic however to see the argument. “Demos” (the term is actually wrong in the context of computer software) is a shareware invention. It’s only costly if they want it to be. And it has been on some cases because these companies refuse to adopt a shareware strategy to their business (a concept that would kill most distributors) while producing “demos” that are meant to serve as a means to increase sales instead of a means to increase awareness.

    Demos are expensive because they can’t contain the bugs we are going to see in the final title. They are expensive because their content must reach a lot more audience than the one that may actually be interested in playing the game, etc. Essentially they are expensive because they have become marketing toys, instead of distribution tools.

    The irony resides on the fact demos should have never worked. And it took a long time for some of these companies to actually grow the necessary balls to start discussing this publicly (They do it, btw, because their consumer base has proven beyond any doubt they don’t care. Whether you like it or not, games consumers care about games not about demos or always-online DRMs).

    Now, if these studious contracts with the big distributors didn’t force them to exclusive distribution rights, it could be triple-A games studious could produce their “demos” on a separate shareware channel, where the “demo” would be a distribution tool and not a marketing ploy to fool the consumers.

    • Mario Figueiredo says:

      Btw, I took note of them calling Crytek an indie studio. Nothing really surprises me anymore these days.

      It’s not that they are alone, really. I mean, We have RPGs that aren’t, games being considered art, everyone applauding strange decisions to fund indie games, unhealthy loyalties to gaming studios just because they make games we like, a general diabolization of publishers,…

      In this pop culture of loss of meaning and relativity of concepts, everyone is invariably right. Even those who call Crytek an indie studio.

  36. Greg Wild says:

    Shock report! Crysis 2 most pirated game ever!

    In unrelated news, Crysis 2 was released without a demo.

  37. Premium User Badge

    Cooper says:

    Demos work as a marketing tool. Especially for something like Crysis when I’d like to know, as would many other people, if the bloody thing will work in anyway half decent on my computer before i buy it (min specs on boxes mean bugger all in the idosyncratic owrld of PC hardware).

    Evebn a non-playable version of the new cryengine is going to be a must have for so many PC owners out there who don’t want to stump up for a possibly unworkable game…

  38. Tim Ward says:

    Well, I played the Crysis demo and decided not to buy the game as a result. As it was shit. So, no, a demo is a luxury you can’t afford if you make games that are shit.

  39. Jeremy says:

    I blame shareholders and American culture. We’re no longer content with just being “plain ol’ rich”, we want to be “more wealthy than a month ago” in a consistent fashion.

  40. Jad says:

    But Crysis had a demo. And that demo sold me on the game.

    Maybe the demo came out after the game had been out for awhile? I don’t remember, as when Crysis came out my computer was ancient and I wasn’t even looking at games that it had no chance of playing.

    I upgraded my computer about a year later and I immediately downloaded the demo to Crysis. It proved me three things: 1) My new comp could run the game reasonably well, 2) I was enjoying the gameplay, and 3) the story was starting to interest me … the end of the demo was the first sighting of an alien, and it was a hell of a cliffhanger.

    I remember quitting the demo, firing up Amazon, and ordering both the game and its expansion pack. Literally five minutes after the end of the demo Crytek had gotten $50+ out of me.

    If there had been no Crysis demo, I probably would have bought it at some point, but I might have waited for a sale, I might not have ordered the expansion pack, etc.

    So what the hell is he talking about?

    • alseT says:

      I remember the demo was released before the full game and it was one of the best ones. You could spawn a lot of weapons unavailable at that point in the game and have some wicked fun with explosions and the enemy AI.

    • MultiVaC says:

      Ironically, Crytek’s games have both had outstanding demos that were widely praised on most of the forums I’ve read and convinced many people (myself included, particularly with Far Cry) that the games would be great. The demos were also both insanely re-playable and tweakable. I remember spending countless hours in the Far Cry demo using the LUA scripting to replace the boat you start out on with a glider, giving the jeeps the ability to drive on the ocean floor, and all sorts of shenanigans. The Crysis demo even included the Sandbox editor, and you could actually edit the demo map itself, or place different items from the game into the demo. I added helicopters, rocket launchers, tornadoes, and a tank that fired nukes. In the both demos I remember painstakingly killing every hostile entity in the map and they letting my younger sister explore the island and role-play games involving shipwrecks and stuff, or load crates from all over the level on to trucks to make a rudimentary box fort populated by chickens. As far as I’m concerned, Crytek has released the best demos of all time, hands down. I think Far Cry actually had two separate demos. Hell, even that Nvidia dinosaur island tech demo they released way back was awesome.

  41. LewieP says:

    EA would be getting much better PR if they said “We are looking at making smaller experimental games before heading into full scale development on them”

    Everyone loved Portal. Everyone is probably going to love Portal 2.

  42. Delusibeta says:

    Ultimately, charging for demos is only going to cause more piracy. Maybe he’s paid attention to Nintendo’s “A Little Bit Of…” series of DSiWare, which is probably what he’s talking about.

  43. Calabi says:

    So they dont want to market their games?

    Sounds like a guy trying to dictate terms to the market, instead of adapting to it. That’ll work.

  44. DarkFenix says:

    Cevat Yerli really is a colossal idiot isn’t he. This isn’t the first time he’s said something moronic, so I have to wonder; is he deliberately poking controversy for attention or does he really have his head that far up his own arse?

    Fortunately, I don’t need his bullshit to put me off buying Crytek’s games. The thoroughly mediocre Crysis already did that. Spout away fuckwit.

  45. Severian says:

    Perhaps anecdotal evidence is irrelevant, but…

    Demigod. Like many, I was initially attracted to the screenshots being published, the overall gist of the game, etc. Then release came and everything was a horror story. I wrote Demigod off my list. Then they patched things up a bit and – here’s the important bit – released a Demo. I downloaded and played it, just because I was still curious to see how pretty the game actually was.

    After a weekend of playing online with that Demo, I was hooked. I immediately purchased from Stardock and definitely do not regret my decision (i’d prefer not to get into a whole thing about the pros and cons of Demigod).

    So, yeah, without a Demo I would not have bought it. I can say that with 99.9999% certainty. With a Demo, I did. Case closed.

  46. Flyspeck :. says:

    Ok, but whats to stop people pirating the full game to serve the purpose of the demo?

  47. durr says:

    Grrrr… *eyeroll*

  48. Hat Galleon says:

    Rather than debate this claim that demos may soon disappear, I’d like to address him saying that “demos are a luxury that films don’t have”. Films are to be watches, not interacted with, therefore, they have trailers. These trailers show a small sampling of the film, and everything that can be experienced in that small sampling. Games, because they are ALSO interactive, have demos, which show a small sampling of the game, and everything that can be experienced in the small sampling, ALONG WITH allowing you to interact with it. Having only trailers for a game is like having only pictures of a movie; It doesn’t show you how well it’s presented, how good the camera-work is, how good the actors are. It would just show you a picture, which could only really tell you about the visual style of the movie. Trailers for a game show you the presentation, but doesn’t let you try out the level of interactivity and how well the interactivity is integrated into the game. This is crucial when games’ main selling point is, in fact, to be interactive. Trailers are honestly just a holdover from film-making.

    • Hat Galleon says:

      I AM ENTIRELY UNABLE OF DETECTING YOUR SARCASM KIERON I AM SO SORRY

      Also I blame scanning over the article quickly.

  49. Radiant says:

    Isn’t this just part of EA’s push to make us pay for demos?

    Crytek just toeing the party line.

    I think the wording the EA spokeperson used went along the lines of “You pay to play a small part of the game, yeah? Now wouldn’t it be great if you pay a bit more and get to play even /more/ of the game? Like reverse DLC”

    Which is dickheadedness.

    All it means is that less people will know about your game.

  50. Radiant says:

    I actually just played through Crysis [and Warhead.] to try out that natural mod [nice].

    “COVER ME! BILL ODDIE!”