Jesse Schell: Releasing a demo harms your game sales | PCGamesN

Counter-Strike ushers in its Halloween Mask-erade with player ghosts and vengeful chickens

Get better acquainted with Dragon Age: Inquisition's Iron Bull, Sera and Dorian

Don't call them dreadnoughts: Fractured Space is a multiplayer ship combat game from the Strike Suit Zero team

Jesse Schell: Releasing a demo harms your game sales

Jesse Schell, speaking at DICE 2013.

In an impassioned presentation at DICE 2013, Puzzle Clubhouse CEO and respected analyst Jesse Schell spoke about the importance of getting people to want to try your product. Or not. It turns out that if you’re selling a video game, it would be wise for you to not let people try a demo of it.

Surprised? The numbers back him up.

Producing a graph of Xbox 360 sales figures to illustrate his point, Schell explained how the games that sold the most were games that built expectation in players, that people wanted to try, but that didn’t offer them the opportunity to do so through a demo. “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 said.

Instead, the way to generate the best sales figures was to tease gamers with a trailer, with something that makes people want to try a game, but then give them no way to do so beyond picking up a copy of the game. “The things with no demo, you’ve gotta buy it if you want to try it,” he continued. The risk you take in making a demo is that people will try your game, but that’s all they’ll ever do. They may not have the desire to then go on and buy the full game.

Naturally, gamers love demos for just this reason: we get to try before we buy and we get to make our minds up about titles that we aren’t sure about. Schell’s point is a very mercenary one and makes perfect business sense, but I for one would be much sadder in a world without demos.

Here’s the full presentation. Schell makes his point ten minutes in:

Login or Register
Alienware - Game VictoriousNvidia Shield - Titanfall
Win a ticket to the Tank Museum and a premium Fury Sherman with World of Tanks

World of Tanks

Win a ticket to the Tank Museum and a premium Fury Sherman with World of Tanks

Counter-Strike ushers in its Halloween Mask-erade with player ghosts and vengeful chickens

Counter-Strike ushers in its Halloween Mask-erade with player ghosts and vengeful chickens

Get better acquainted with Dragon Age: Inquisition's Iron Bull, Sera and Dorian

Get better acquainted with Dragon Age: Inquisition's Iron Bull, Sera and Dorian

Don't call them dreadnoughts: Fractured Space is a multiplayer ship combat game from the Strike Suit Zero team

Don't call them dreadnoughts: Fractured Space is a multiplayer ship combat game from the Strike Suit Zero team

Lucas Pope's Return of the Obra Dinn is a 1-bit mystery, and you can play some of it right now

Lucas Pope's Return of the Obra Dinn is a 1-bit mystery, and you can play some of it right now

Titanfall's next update will add wave-based co-op shenanigans and a bunch of new enemies

Titanfall's next update will add wave-based co-op shenanigans and a bunch of new enemies

Lords of the Fallen is a ferocious, and infuriating Dark Souls clone

Lords of the Fallen

Lords of the Fallen is a ferocious, and infuriating Dark Souls clone

Lords of the Fallen is a bit tricky, so Deck13 has broken down the mechanics in video form

Lords of the Fallen is a bit tricky, so Deck13 has broken down the mechanics in video form

Unity co-founder and CEO steps out of the ring, tagging ex-EA boss John Riccitiello

Unity co-founder and CEO steps out of the ring, tagging ex-EA boss John Riccitiello

Judge dismisses securities fraud suit against EA; executives were just being optimistic

Judge dismisses securities fraud suit against EA; executives were just being optimistic

Elder Scrolls Online and Skyrim books will cover the lore and the land of Tamriel

Elder Scrolls Online and Skyrim books will cover the lore and the land of Tamriel

Aliens by way of XCOM game, Halfway, gets mod support

Aliens by way of XCOM game, Halfway, gets mod support

Red:Out is Wipeout, but on the PC. It’s about time.

Red:Out

Red:Out is Wipeout, but on the PC. It’s about time.

World of Warcraft: Warlords of Draenor has a place called Gorgrond that’s positively beastly

World of Warcraft: Warlords of Draenor has a place called Gorgrond that’s positively beastly

The Stanley Parable sells over a million copies;

The Stanley Parable sells over a million copies; "The Narrator decided not to tell Stanley"

Ragnar Tørnquist defends ableist language in Dreamfall Chapters:

Ragnar Tørnquist defends ableist language in Dreamfall Chapters: "Those people exist in real life, and so they must exist in fiction"

Titanfall's

Titanfall's "biggest update" is still ahead of it; expect details via Twitch today

Master of Draenor I'm pulling your strings: Metallica are playing at BlizzCon 2014

Master of Draenor I'm pulling your strings: Metallica are playing at BlizzCon 2014

World of Warcraft: Warlords of Draenor gear guide: getting started

World of Warcraft: Warlords of Draenor

World of Warcraft: Warlords of Draenor gear guide: getting started

Epic's hosting an Unreal Engine game jam this weekend, so get tinkering

Epic's hosting an Unreal Engine game jam this weekend, so get tinkering

Topic of the Week: What games are you looking forward to in 2015?

Topic of the Week: What games are you looking forward to in 2015?

Rodina is No Man's Sky on a budget

Rodina is No Man's Sky on a budget

Paranautical Activity developer steps down after threatening Gabe Newell

Paranautical Activity developer steps down after threatening Gabe Newell

It will never end: Assassin's Creed Chronicles will be a series

It will never end: Assassin's Creed Chronicles will be a series