Releasing a game demo can cut your sales in half, warns Schell

Monday, 11 February 2013 13:42 GMT By Dave Cook

Schell games CEO and industry analyst Jesse Schell has warned that releasing a demo of your game before launch can kill your sales. Schell argues his case against releasing a demo at DICE Summit 2013 last week, and he had the stats to back up his claim too.

Above: EA recently confirmed that the Dead Space 3 demo was downloaded over 2 million times.

PCGamesN reports that Schell stated, “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.”

He cautioned developers that without a demo to test, gamers will have to buy a game in order to see if it’s any good or not, while demo downloads will often deter players from picking up the full release, rather than encouraging a purchase.

Schell also explained that the games selling most were those that built up expectations by not releasing a demo, while teaser trailers and other marketing ploys worked more effectively than a demo to raise interest in titles.

Here’s Schells presentation in full. PCGamesN points out that he makes the above points around the ten-minute mark.

What do you think? Would you be sad to see demo downloads disappear? Have they ever put you off buying a game? Let us know below.

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