The Point - The Death of the Demo

Beta Programs and Early Access are making the game demo redundant. Danny reminisces on the golden age of the demo and wonders if we've lost something in the transition.

Discussion

211 comments
hordicus
hordicus

i just love the point, danno Dwyer is real free mind in this world of overhyped annualized sequels.

he dare to call a mess a mess.

mes repects les plus sinceres mister overhype killer ^^

simon1812
simon1812

oh man I remember, SWBattlefront I think I got it with a magazine (playstation magazine I think) me and my brother played the hell out of that demo and you bet your elbow we bough that game as soon as it was released.


it wasnt perfect, some demos ended up being better than the full game (a rare occurrence though) but still I do miss demos, now it is just struggling to resist the hype and waiting for AngryJoe's reviews.

karloss01
karloss01

The most fondly remembered demo disc I remember was for Devil May Cry from the Resident Evil Code Veronica game for PS2. It finished just as Nelo Angelo jumped of the roof for the first battle against him and i was like "I MUST GET THIS GAME.!" and I got it in 2002 for my 13th birthday along with Quake 3: Revolution.


Though I have to say though I didn't get many demo discs, being a kid with Dyslexia meant I had little to no interest in buying a magazine so most of the games I were introduced to were just random selections my dad made using his own experiences from playing his Sega Master System and Mega Drive. We used to play a lot of games back in the day until friends started coming over regularly, the last game we played together was Tomb Raider 2 and we each had a save on our own progression.


I can thank/blame my dad for my love for the M-rated games, whilst my friends were playing with Mario, Crash and Spyro etc I was facing the forces of Hell in doom, ripping Sub-zero's head off in Mortal Kombat and avenging my clan in Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver. I did have the soft spot for the more kid-friendly characters as I was brought up on the Sega Mega Drive so Sonic is my childhood hero and icon of my youth though he did share his time with me with Chakan, Kid Chameleon and the Universal Soldier port of Turrican.

Konuvis
Konuvis

My biggest demo memory is definitely buying Brave Fencer Musashiden to play the FF VIII demo, having my friend over and my Mom yelling at me because she had as hit day at work and wondering if I was "going to play and gasp all evening?!!"


I also remember buying some kind of PC Soluces which came with a full version of Prisoner of Ice.

Ovirew
Ovirew

I think even in the transition from last-gen to the current gen, game demos have become less common.  It's a shame, because I really liked how it was last gen when nearly every game had some sort of demo you could try, to help you decide whether or not an obscure downloadable title was worth playing.  Even a lot of big-budget games had demos last gen.


I don't put much stock in betas and trials.  Fact of the matter is, I can't play games during a short window on someone else's terms.  I had Forza 5 free last weekend.  I played the first day, and then hardly took advantage of that full trial period because I was busy working and doing other things.  Likewise, I only tried the Destiny beta for a little bit and then it was gone the next time I fired up my console.


A demo is only really useful if it's around long after the game has been released.  If I am deciding whether to buy a $15 or $60 game, I need the demo right there now.

D4rkey
D4rkey

whats the game at 4:50? and whats the game at 04:00?

And yeah, I miss the old demodays, it was beautiful to spin up the disc and browse trough the in game demos and guides, I still remember old demos that really stuck in the head even today but I cant for the love of it remember the name of the titles, cant describe it good enough and I never found any of them in old stores! But good days.


Nowadays the only kind of "demo" i get is when I watched shows like random encounter and other shows or articles here on gamespot.
I really think you guys should start a show with a bunch of random games that isnt so hyped, like some games thats on steam greenlight etc. Or have a 3 minute clipshow in the lobby with some greenlighted games and stuff like that. Thanks danny!

atomicjuicer
atomicjuicer

Wipeout and resident evil demo discs were my fave (ps1 - it wasn't even called ps1 at the time! The abbreviation was PSX).

Great show again Danny. I remember popping the wipeoit disc out of the console and loading it up on a second console to play LAN style on the PS1 with two players and two TVs.

XCyberForceX
XCyberForceX

Ahhh the good old days.  I remember getting demo discs every month with my subscription to XBOX magazine.  

DarkLord
DarkLord

So many game demos got me to actually spend money on games! DOOM, Quake, Rise of Nations... I don't think i would have owned any of them without having played demos of them first! I miss quality demos. I even went looking for a demo for the new Wolfenstein. I was so sad when i didn't find it. :'(

scarred_fox
scarred_fox

I'm with you Danny and I've said this to many of my friends. Demos were ways of playing a piece of a game and to really see whether it was all hype and determined if I would commit to purchasing the game or not.


Now it's just betas, trailers and waiting on release reviews. If it were not for titan fall beta I would've been very disgruntled on that purchase. One hour was enough to make my decision.

couly
couly

I played the Quake demo to death.

Wesleypipes77
Wesleypipes77

I don't generally buy early access titles unless I'm pretty darn sure the final release will kickass. That being said I also don't really play early access titles after I have purchased them either until they are finalized. If they are reasonably priced or a part of some crazy sale, I'll get them and then wait for the final release. I just don't have the time to invest in playing an unfinished game, then playing it again once it is released. But if the title shows promise I have no problem getting it for a deal ahead of release and when it's ready I will play it then. Of course there is a little risk but if you do your research.... I haven't run into a major disappointment yet.

Zloth2
Zloth2

Well, one other big factor is game cost.  If you correct for inflation, games were a good bit more expensive back in the day so there was more of a need for them.

There is a great way to get PC demos still - OnLive.  You can get an account for free and they will let you play the first half hour of any game for free.  Plus you don't have to mess with installing/uninstalling.

Zaknaifen
Zaknaifen

The Warcraft II demo was freakin awesome. I played that thing so many times before I bought the full game. 

Pewbert
Pewbert

Demos meant that people could test a game before dropping money on it. Publishers got wise, and now they charge you for demos in the form of "early access". People are silly!

bezza2011
bezza2011

To me, Early Access and all that rubbish is just pure money grabbing, in what way shape or form can i make a decision on a game anymore where i don't have to pay them, early access and you still have to pay full price?? it's a joke, #BringBackDemos

wyshouldi02
wyshouldi02

Seriously, I couldn't tell you have many hours I poured into the Metal Gear Solid and Hogs of War demos. Good tiiiiiiimes

herminio01
herminio01

Back in 1998. Gamespot had this feature where you could make a list of as many game demos as you could fit into a CD, and they mailed it to your house for the cost of a blank CD which was $2-3 at the time. Since game demos back then were so small you could fit about 20 demos into a single CD, this was how I discovered games I would come to enjoy and buy. I'm surprised Danny didn't mention that. Well there's probably no one at Gamespot left that even remembers that.

RobDev
RobDev

When i first got me Playstation 1 i could only afford the console. I lived on demos until i could save up for a full game.

RobDev
RobDev

Demos were really handy in choosing between games like Fifa and Pro evo. You could get a good idea of which played better,

neowarrior793
neowarrior793

now tbh i don't like demo's and heres the reasoning, a demo is a piece of a completed game, the game most likly hasn't been changed or improved so its a marmit situation, you either love it or hate it. the difference for alpha's beta's and early access is you get to input on unfinished games, you get to say "i don't like this, theres my recommendation"  and if enough people say the same the change is made and you get to play a better game. 

it really comes down to, do you belive in developers and their ideas for a game? being happy with a slice of the game? or do you feel like you should have a say at the development stage instead?

on a side note anyone who thinks they should be "paid" to play beta's and such are just brats with little concept of life, getting free stuff is a privilege that any developer could take away is enough people bitch and moan. i don't want that option taken from me because some fools hates a free sample and causes a scene. 

i also do not support the concept of paying to get access to a beta and such, the use of a alpha/beta is to get interest from gaming community as well as fix glitches, balance things and stress test different factors. its should not be a way of generating income IN ANY CIRCUMSTANCES, the company gets good publicity and the player gets to try a game its a mutual trade off once you start involving money it A significantly lowers the number of possible players B makes the company look greedy C is unfair to poor people who will most likly not afford it.  

vanti
vanti

Oh demo discs. Best demodisc ever was the "Demo 1" that came bundled with early PlayStations, at least in Europe. That thing had a playable demo of Destruction Derby and Battle Arena Toshinden and trailers for Tekken and WarHawk not to mention the Dino and Manta tech demos. One look at that at a friends place was enough to make me run out, empty my bank account and buy a PlayStation, Tekken, Destruction Derby, a memory card and an extra controller.

Apofis_SG-1
Apofis_SG-1

Never used demos anyways. Well I used while I was bit younger and used to read gaming magazines like PC Gamer. They had DVD with demos and stuff. It was fun back then to try demos of games. But now I just download pirated version of the game and see if its worth to buy. So no big deal about less and less games having demos if you know how to use torrents.

Printul_Noptii
Printul_Noptii

there are still games out there even for PC Steam that still have a demo, best example is Konami they had demos for a lot of their games MGS, MGRR, Lords of Shadow 1-2 etc. good example.

Fandango_Letho
Fandango_Letho

I bought Zone of the Enders along with a PS2 exclusively to play MGS2's demo. And man, was it worth it. Sorry, ZoE. :(

hoscba
hoscba

The demo discs from PC Powerplay. They also had a cheat section at the end of the magazine for the demos and full games. 


Interstate '76, SWAT 3 and Outlaws were some of my favourite demos. 

4kgamer_lmxxx
4kgamer_lmxxx

What magazine was he reading at the end? I want the name along with the issue #.

jff54
jff54

I remember reading an article a few months ago about an analyst saying that releasing demos was actually bad for sales (i'm sorry I don't have the reference). From what i can gatter on various comments sections people aren't impressed by Destiny. If the idea of opening the Beta to people that already bought the game does make sense financialy (altough you could cancel your pre-order just to get a code ), making the Beta opened seems like a very bad decision on Bungie's part. Plus, we know that the game probably won't be too much improved at lauch, it was about testing servers. On the other hand, they probably wanted the avoid repeating GTA online's fiasco at lauch and that's good for people who actually bought the game. I played about half the demo and i'm not impressed either, especially if this was supposed to be one of the the most expensive game ever to produce. I'll probabably buy it later when I get a PS4 but not at full price.

Sevenizz
Sevenizz

Now that we've all played the Destiny demo...err, Beta (sorry Nintendo onlys, you lost again), can we all agree that it's terrible?

It's World of Warcraft with guns except...

* A dull story

* Nothing is cute - not the characters, mounts, NPCs, environment, nothing. There's dancing - but with nothing going on - who cares? It feels tacked in to remind players they're playing an MMO.

* There is no humor or personality - nada, zilch, nothing.

* Poor visual customization. Everyone is in an Assassins Creed hoodie. You can barely make out low to high level armor - everyone looks identical. Can you tell a Hunter apart from a Warlock? Or a human apart w/e the other races are?

* Boring enemies and Boss fights. From 0-8 (where I quit playing), I saw six enemies over and over again, and 2 bosses. Oddly, both bosses were practically ported over from WoW's Ahn Quiraj dungeon.

I was skeptical about the game - but I've more than confirmed I do not want to get involved with Destiny. Not even in a bargain bin. This can rot on a store shelf as far as I care. I'd play a 2007 NBA game over this garbage.

WolfgarTheQuiet
WolfgarTheQuiet

You can still demo before you buy, Pirate Bay :D


Problem is even with Internet, there is less and less demos, im not risking my hard earned cash without trying.

charlieboomboom
charlieboomboom

Fav demo hmm. Combat school demo on c64 was pretty awesome. On c64 u bought a magazine cause off a game review !!

gwd3987
gwd3987

Danny... please make more videos, just like these... the can not be that hard to edit, i've done it.  I'm sorry. I do not know what your job entails.  I appreciate your honest opinion but at the same time not offending many of the people your voice reaches.

That being said I miss Escape from Mt Stupid.

apolloooo
apolloooo

the reason subscribing gaming magazine back then was to get the demo CD. who knows how many hours i've spent playing pizza syndicate demo

jakek
jakek

sigh, I do miss old demo discs from the PS1 era. I played them so much and they introduced me to games I probably would have never touched otherwise

chaos-commander
chaos-commander

@atomicjuicer Ah no the PSX was a PS2 with recorder and it looked like the xbox one. The PSone was originally called the PLAYSTATION then when sony released the PS2 they made a Playstation slim and called it the PSone.

atomicjuicer
atomicjuicer

I'm guessing they only posted to the US which is why Danny wouldn't remember it as I believe he grew up in Ireland.

jedikv
jedikv

@neowarrior793 alphas and betas these days are basically demos, they're released way too close to the final release date for it to make any real difference

atomicjuicer
atomicjuicer

The videos on these discs with previews of games also had awesome music.

Printul_Noptii
Printul_Noptii

@Fandango_Letho get ZOE the 2nd Runner on the PS2 thats one of the best sequals ever made or get the ZOE collection :D but seriously ZOE 2 outshines ZOE 1 in soooo many aspects, I think ZOE 1 suffered from the production of MGS2 back in its days.

neowarrior793
neowarrior793

@Sevenizz A stop copy and pasting the same comments repeatedly on multiple articles its childish and lazy.

B if its "World of Warcraft with guns" that would mean everyone would want this game

C its not borderlands (which fits the ridiculous criteria that you should already know would never fit this game) its not meant to be funny, there are actually many enemies if you did the exploring you would know of 3 at least other races and plenty of different bosses and events.

D why the hell would you think any of this is meant to be cute either?

E this isn't a "demo" its a beta its not the finished game learn the difference. 

nothing you have said makes any sense or even applies to this game, why the hell would humor fit in here? why would cuteness be a factor? if your going to make a logical statement actually comment on relevant things.

mep69
mep69

@WolfgarTheQuiet  Ye, this is what I do with games I'm a bit iffy about. And, if I enjoy it, I buy it. The media doesn't like to mention that thought, they just like to mention the figures of people who torrented the game/tv show/film and say how bad it is. Like what they did with Game of Thrones, the mentioned how many people torrented it, but as soon as it's on Blu-Ray I buy it as I don't have access to watch it on TV.

atomicjuicer
atomicjuicer

Sorry buddy but you're obviously a bit young to remember. I'm not talking about the PSone. I'm talking about the original Playstation. The abbreviation used in reference to the first playstation during it's release period (when journalists were writing in magazines around the launch time for example) was PSX. That was the shorthand that it was known by and GCN was the acronym for GameCube.

Mantan911
Mantan911

@mep69 @WolfgarTheQuiet Even more fun is when you have no access to the Tv show or similar stuff and there's nowhere to buy it (excluding places ~100km away)