Xbox One and the lack of Demos

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Back during the Xbox 360’s heyday it was commonplace for any Xbox Live Arcade and several AAA games to have demos.  If you wanted to try out a game more than likely you could download a demo for it.  Nowadays that’s not the case sadly.  A good example of this is Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain.  So the reason why I use Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain as the main image is because this is one of the many games that would have benefitted from having a demo.  Now I’m not saying Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain was a bad game.  It was well done overall and it was generally well received by critics.  But it suffered from one big problem that small games and big games on the Xbox One have in common.  It didn’t have a demo.

Now some people can argue that there’s no need for demos anymore.  With YouTube let’s play’s and Internet celebrities trying out the game before you buy it.  But the problem with this is you’re not actually trying the game out for yourself.  I paid full price for Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain and I regretted my purchase.  Now once again not because Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain is a bad game.  But I came into the game thinking it would be like other Metal Gear Solid games.  I was sadly mistaken.  I found Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain to be a functional game but not a good Metal Gear Solid game.  Now you can argue that I should have done my research.  Okay that’s fine but how would I efficiently do enough research without spoiling the game for me?  And this is not the only example I have either.  Let’s move on to the next topic the recently released Inside.

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Inside is a recently released indie game developed by Playdead the creators of Limbo.  Inside has been met with critical acclaim similar to Limbo.  Practically perfect scores across the board.  A game that everyone must experience is the general consensus.  But is it really worth playing?  I’ve wondered this since it launched but since there was no demo and everything I heard from critics was it’s so great it can’t really be explained in just words without spoiling it.  So I’m back to the same issue again I don’t want to spoil the game but I’m not sure if I really want to buy it.  Granted I liked Limbo but it suffered from a severe lack of replayability.  I wondered if Inside would have the same issue.  Being a “budget gamer” I eventually made the decision that I could not buy the game in good conscience just on widespread praise alone.  I finally caved in and decided to watch a let’s play of it.  This is the last thing I wanted to do but I couldn’t help be curious on why the game had such widespread acclaim.  And well sure enough I found the reason and I’m glad I ended up not buying it.  But that being said I could have easily caved in and bought the game and not only be disappointed but ultimately I would have wasted my money that could have be spent elsewhere.  Now if Inside had a demo I could have came to this conclusion easier without having to spoil the entire game or without spending money on it.  But it didn’t and now I’ve ruined the main hook to the game and pretty much erased any want of purchasing the game in the near future.

Ultimately the point I’m trying to make is demos need to become more commonplace again for the Xbox One.  I don’t know why they stopped being commonplace but there’s to many games that could either be worth buying but to easy to spoil the story if you do research on them.  Or there could be games that are not worth buying but due to the prestige of the past games they can’t be passed up.

Jon Powers
Graduate of Fullsail University with a bachelor's degree in game design. A big fan of Japanese culture and indie games. Big fan of the Xbox One and enjoy playing as many ID@Xbox games that I can manage to play.
About the author

Jon Powers

Graduate of Fullsail University with a bachelor's degree in game design. A big fan of Japanese culture and indie games. Big fan of the Xbox One and enjoy playing as many ID@Xbox games that I can manage to play.