Uh … WTF?: EA planning to charge for game demos

If videogame publishing giant EA has its way, we could all very soon be paying for larger game demos on our Xbox 360s, PS3s, and Wiis.

While demos on Xbox Live and PlayStation Network are currently free, the megalomaniacal publisher is planning to release large demos “for $10 or $15,” in a bid to calculate a game’s popularity before release. If this paid-for demo sells enough copies, then a full boxed product will head to shelves. That’s right, folks: EA wants you to cough up money for their market research.

That’s according to industry analyst Michael Pachter, who learned of EA’s plans from Visceral boss Nick Earl last week. Earl reported that EA intends to label this “premium downloadable content” (or “PDLC”), or “essentially […] a very long game demo.”

If the demos prove popular and a full packaged game is sent to stores, it will carry a full retail price. Essentially then, EA is saying: “Hey guys, if you want this game, you’re going to have to pay full price for it, plus another $10 or $15 for the demo, and then it might not even get made anyway, because the demo might sell poorly.”

And that, my friends, is some serious bullshit. Pachter adds:

“Mr. Earl believes that the release of the PDLC first limits the risk of completing and marketing the full packaged version, and serves as a low-cost marketing tool.”

Precisely, Michael: it takes the cost of marketing out of EA’s hands, and reaches into the customer’s pocket instead.

[Via Eurogamer]