Posted on April 23, 2008,

Study Says Trailers Sell Games Better Than Demos


Contrary to what you may believe, a study presented at the MI6 videogame marketing conference recently suggests that trailers are more effective at selling games than demos are. While I doubt BioShock would have turned out to be the success that it did without releasing a demo, I can understand where the logic comes from — you can certainly make a bad game look good in trailer form. But release a demo of a bad game, and suddenly those potential buyers who are on the fence realize their money would be better spent on gum. Lots and lots of gum.

Gregory Short and Geoffery Zatkin of the Electronic Entertainment Design and Research Group presented the study. They were also responsible for a study that said marketing teams should have a hand in creating a game’s achievements.

MTV Multiplayer has two charts proving the case, although I wonder how it would work out over a longer period of time and if games like Halo 3 – which don’t need to release a demo — weren’t included. I certainly can’t see the harm in releasing a demo provided you’re releasing a good game. But, like delaying the press from reviewing games until after release, hiding a bad game for as long as possible probably would benefit from what this study is saying.

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6 Comments on Study Says Trailers Sell Games Better Than Demos


On April 23, 2008 at 11:01 pm

Noooo! Now they’ll get rid of my freebies!


On April 24, 2008 at 1:37 am

I wouldn’t say that. Clearly demos have led to tremendous success for some games (again, see BioShock). So I wouldn’t worry about demos going anywhere.


On April 24, 2008 at 5:35 am

Hiding a bad game isn’t going to help sales noticeably in my opinion. Studies are also just figures that can be re-arranged to prove a point, so I have my limitations when listening to random facts and figures.

I don’t even think MTV needed a study to realize that demos don’t sell games as well as trailers. How many demos are on the net compared to trailers? It’s simply a fact that trailers go up on one site and then within a couple hours, they can be found on hundreds and sometimes thousands of random sites. Demos are often located in select spots. So it’s obvious to me that trailers get more exposure, thus the reason they sell more.

I don’t think hiding things is a smart move either. Gamers are smart these days. They do their homework. If there isn’t much known about a title, it isn’t going to sell at all. People will simply wait until there’s information out there about a game. I don’t know many gamers who do not check out various websites prior to choosing what game they want to buy next. It would be retarded for even a bad game to not release trailers or demos. Even bad exposure can drive sales to a degree.


On April 24, 2008 at 10:07 am

See to me, how a game plays is important and trailers may or may not show actual game play. I value a demo over a trailer any day. :cool:

Go Marlins!!!!


On April 24, 2008 at 11:58 am

trailers that dont show gameplay are totaly useless in influencing my game buying decision.


On April 24, 2008 at 7:03 pm

yes its a scam, u may be excited by the action of a video and say it looks cool, but compared to a demo, once u play a game it may suck for different reasons. it could have garbage controls or totally suck when u play it yourself.

i have seen videos like that, u think WOW this is gonna be great, til the demo arrives and its a total let down. its obvious videos will sell a game faster, but anyone that falls for it is a fool. any video wont sell a game for me. Demos, word of mouth and friends has more of a influence.