Xbox One Third-Party Demo Requirement Dropped. Bad Idea [Op-Ed]

The Xbox One third-party demo requirement has been dropped. I’ve got a bad feeling about this.

It was recently announced that Microsoft would no longer require third-party developers to release demos of their games due to it being a waste of their money in the first place. Really, Microsoft? How about the gamers’ money?

Game demos are how many of us decide whether we want the game or not, because in the end, even a YouTube video can’t show you the flawed or frustrating controls some games are built with. I have even disagreed with critic reviews in the past, thinking they were just too jaded and needed to just have fun. Nothing convinces me faster about whether I want a game than to play a free demo.

Xbox One third party demos will give next generation console owners more confidence that they’re making a solid purchase.

The fact of the matter is that if you take away the demo, you’re forcing gamers to buy the game just to see once and for all whether it was worth it. These games usually aren’t cheap, either, with new games running in the price range of $30 to $60 apiece, even without the special editions. It’s just flooding used game stores with regrets as we trade them in for what we hope we’ll like next time.

It has been said that third party developers are losing money when they make demos. In a way, that’s true, especially if the game was crap to begin with. That’s why we need first-party and third-party demos, especially on Xbox One and PlayStation 4. If the demo makes us want the game, developers get their money. If we don’t want it based on the demo, the developer needs to try harder to make a better game.

Microsoft’s Marc Whitten has said that not all games on the Xbox One will have demos like they did on the previous console. Apparently, Marc Whitten hasn’t looked on Xbox Live lately, because there are a lot of games that don’t have demos, or in the case of Saints Row IV, all you have is a custom character creator and a trailer. That’s not a demo: It’s an ad.

Marc Whitten continued, “That said, we are going to work on lots of ways to make it easy for you to find and try new games on the service.”

We already have a way to do that, and it’s called game demos. Dropping the Xbox One third-party demo requirement could easily lead to a lot of wasted money on the consumer end, and that could lead to developers losing money as gamers stop buying their games entirely.

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