Releasing a demo can cut a game’s sales by half, claims a new report from industry research company EEDAR.
As reported by CVG, findings from the study were revealed by developer Jesse Schell at the Gamelab conference, and suggested that games only promoted through a release trailer were likely to sell twice as much than those with a demo.
The report noted that the average Xbox 360 game sold around 525,000 when promoted with a release trailer after the first six months. When developers also launched a demo alongside their game however, sales dropped to 250,000.
Titles that were released without either a trailer or a demo sold on average around 100,000 copies.
It should be noted however that the report did not state whether demos directly brought down game sales. Blockbuster games such as Call of Duty have in the past released without game demos, but arguably because they are not needed and consumers know what to expect from the series. It is not clear whether such titles would have sold less had some form of free trial been available at launch.
It is also unlikely that major releases would be released without a launch trailer, and the difference could distort results.