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Playable Demo via Steam

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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.

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I don't undestand what you are trying to say...

I apologise for the vagueness - what you saw was an unfinished post! I pressed Enter (meaning to start a newline and continue writing) but it had, accidentally, activated the Post button, and thus, it was posted, unfinished, and I couldn't delete or cancel action, so I have edited it, and added relevant information as quickly as possible - sorry for the inconvenience.

he is suggesting putting out a demo version of the game so people can get a taste.

That's right - people getting a taste is a great reason. Personally, a demo is a great way to test if my machine would be able to run it at settings that I like.

On most games I prefer a demo as well.  If the game is good it has nothing to fear from a demo.  However, I don't think a demo is good for early access.  On full release?  Yes.

Thank you for sharing in my enthusiasm for demos, something that seems to have gone extinct in recent years.

"However, I don't think a demo is good for early access." Yes, I agree, it can be misrepresentative of the final product, not to mention chaotic and extra stressful for the developers to commit new updates to both the Early Access and Demo builds. However, I made this suggestion regardless to start the conversation.

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Isn't there some kind of trial / refund after 2 hour option in steam?

Yes, there is.

When you purchase a game on Steam, a refund policy applies*, which entails a full monetary compensation, that you are eligible for if you have less than 2 hours of playtime tracked on that game (with the condition that you have owned the game for less than 2 weeks).

The list of reasons you can provide is extensive, and can even boil down to "it wasn't what I expected" or "it was too difficult". I've been through the process twice on my account, and within 6 hours I got my money back without a hitch.

Why do I still think a demo is more favourable than only relying on Steam's refund policy?

  1. Steam's refund policy is always viable to change, so there is no guarantee that people will always be able to rely on this policy to try the game
  2. Players don't tend to buy games on a whim, based on screenshots, with the foreknowledge that if they don't like it, they can refund it. In fact, not everyone has the option to spend money to try a game (even if they can get that money back). In other words, refunding is much less convenient than a demo, which is perfectly appropriate, as a refund policy shouldn't be overly convenient, but a demo serves its purpose as a showcase, whereas a refund can have a plethora of reasons (they serve different purposes)

Still, relying on the Steam refund policy is totally viable, and I see your point, which is valid.

*The aforementioned policy I'm describing is only accurate as of 21-Jan-16 and may have changed since then, depending on when you're reading this.

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Eventually, when game starts to loose players devs might do it, for now there is no reason. Currently, Game is healthy, got many players and room for expansion. 


It's a fair enough statement to claim that it's not worthwhile, currently, to invest time and resources developing a vertical slice/demo. I can totally get behind the idea that it's not a priority, currently, given the state of things (Early Access, unfinished game etc.). However, I'd argue that "for now there is no reason" may not be a just assessment - I've stated some reasons in my original post, and saying "there is no reason" doesn't really address them. I acknowledge that there are currently "many players" and that the "Game is healthy", which addresses the promotional aspect of my reasons for suggesting a demo, but I think people would agree that a "try before you buy" feature is a positive feature, with a good [positive results: time invested] ratio,

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