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My assessment of any game starts with player made videos. I don't watch Developer teasers because they are almost always misleading. Player made videos provide a decent idea of the gameplay, and the creator sometimes offers a few valuable opinions. If the videos look good I seek opinions from friends who own the game. This is really helpful because discussions can reveal details that are missing from videos. I find that reviews can be misleading and are very limited. Someone else may rate features differently that I would, so a low rating may have little influence on me because don't care much about the content that the reviewer perceived as important. Steam reviews are a indication of the general appeal. A recent and overall Rating of "Overwhelmingly Positive" tends to influence me to spend money. When the sum of these reviews are 96%-97% positive it increases my confidence that the game is well made. I seldom read individual steam reviews because the negative ones are usually rants, entertaining, when I'm bored, but not very informative. Price is important and proportional to the amount of time I will spend researching. If the price is low I am more likely to buy it and decide for myself. Games that are very expensive need a demo, so I can try it first.
Playable Demo via Steam (try before you buy) A playable demo for a game usually involves a playable showcase or demonstration (hence "demo") that is limited in gameplay (singleplayer only, 1 section of a level or map, experience or level cap), and importantly is free of charge, and has multiple purposes, but generally so that players can try the game before they buy it. It used to be the case that most popular games had a demo disc (usually attached to gaming magazines) Why I suggest Naval Action should have a demo Can my PC run it? (The main reason) Minimum requirements aren't nearly as helpful as an actual play-test, for finding out your machine's performance during gameplay. Everybody's hardware is different, with different drivers, and everyone's balance for Graphical quality vs Performance is different. It's especially useful for Mid-low end PC's, because you can tweak the settings to your taste and find out if you can strike a balance between Graphical quality vs Performance that you are happy with, on your personal machine - with no financial risk Promotional value From a business point of view, setting up a vertical slice of optimal "fun" gameplay can serve to "wet the beaks", so to speak, or be an effective way to let players get a feel for the game, and have a good experience with it, increasing their likelihood of buying it if they enjoyed it (over watching gameplay footage or screenshots). Trailers are good for promotion on video platforms, but a true interactive experience can only come from a demo. Consumer good will Putting out content for demonstrative purposes, free of charge, is a sign of a confident development team that is happy to have people try their game before they buy it. It's a rare enough feature in games these days. Piracy I understand that Naval Action, being an MMO, has little (to nothing) to worry about, regarding piracy, this is merely a general comment/sentiment. One of the reasons why games are pirated is because consumers want to try a product, to see if they can run it, or if they'll like it, without risking paying full price - it's rare that the people who do this then go on to buy the game once they've played the cracked version. It's very plausible that a demo can help mitigate some of the piracy, at least with regards to these types of people (especially because, as mentioned before, a developer has full control as to what they can, and want to, showcase in a demo, to make the game look and feel like a lot of fun, by setting up all the conditions). This "Piracy" bullet point is mainly speculative, I don't have any data to back the statements, it's pure conjecture based on logic and experience. Other games on Steam that have a playable demo Steam has a "demo" tag that makes it easy to find games with playable demos, and there are many games that have this feature, the top 10 most popular of which are in the following image Final notes Personally, if I knew my machine could run it, I would buy it on the release date. As it stands, I will (full disclosure) have to find another way to try the game (Family Sharing) for free another way, before I consider it. I hope someone can sympathise with my wanting of more demos these days (gone are the days of gaming magazines coming with demo discs of all the popular triple A games that year), I'd really love to try the game before I buy it.