Blizzard have removed the Starcraft II demo from Battle.net, to replace it with a "Starter Edition" - a move which echoes World Of Warcraft's free 20-level trial. The Starcraft II starter edition allows you try out a bunch of the single player game, and also the Terrans in custom games and single-player vs AI games. More details below.
The first four missions of the StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty single-player campaign, including Mar Sara 1-3 and the choice to embark on Tychus’s first mission or Dr. Hansen’s first mission.
- The first two Challenges: Tactical Command and Covert Ops.
- Access to the terran race in Custom Games and Single-Player vs. AI.
- Access to the following custom maps (map selection may rotate over time):
Any campaign progress and achievements you earn while playing StarCraft II: Starter Edition are automatically saved to your Battle.net account, and will carry over should you ever upgrade from the Starter Edition to the full version of StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty.
That's a splendid offering, for free. I remain convinced that a really good demo or trial is the best marketing tool that games have. That publishers and developers baulk at creating them seems peculiar to me. I wonder if there is any hard evidence that the cost of making demos outweighs the money earned from their marketing reach? I've heard some people suggest that gamers would buy fewer full games because demos are enough to give them a taste of everything, but I am seriously sceptical about that. The only demos I can remember playing to excess were for games that hadn't come out yet...