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.