Boss Rush Banter: How Early Should Developers Release a Demo?

Game demos are crucial in the buying experience.

Without them, it can be hard to know if a game is worth our time. Games costing $70 (USD) can require prioritization from many gamers so many are likely to favor titles that include demos.

So how early should developers release a demo ahead of a game’s release?

This questions is timely because Square Enix just announced the release of a demo for Final Fantasy XVI, which is set to drop June 22. Fans have waited for a demo for months and it has finally arrived about two weeks ahead of launch.

Is this enough time for gamers?

The demo will be the first two hours of the game along with a special battle after the demo is completed. With this amount, I think two weeks is fair.

There are a couple of factors to consider. First, there seems to be few on the fence about FFXVI. Many either already preordered the game or cursed the title’s existence given its shift in gameplay.

In this case, I don’t believe it would’ve made much of a difference if the demo released a month early or not. With the sample being only two hours, many may even forget it if they played it too early

That may not be the case for all games.

Not all demos are created equal. While Final Fantasy XVI got a two-hour sampling, Dragon Quest XI S: Echoes of an Elusive Age got a 10-hour demo a few years back.

Image Credit: Square Enix (via Gaming Bolt)

In this case, Square Enix opted to release the demo a month ahead of the game. A month may have been needed given the length of the demo.

How early should demos drop ahead of a game’s release? I think it depends on the demo itself and the factors that surround it.

What’s vital is the demo is out with enough time for players to experience a taste of the gameplay, but not too early for them to forget about it. The hype surrounding the game also matters.

I look at a game like The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom and I see a title that was so anticipated that fans were eating out of Nintendo’s palm. There was no demo and that never hurt sales.

Sure, Nintendo isn’t one for demos usually, but in this case, I don’t think it would’ve made or broke the case.

The one point we can all agree on is demos are vital in the game-buying process because it gives us a chance to test drive the game before dropping hard-earned money on it.

So, when should a demo get release? Should there be a set time for all games or does it depend on the title? What makes a demo good in your eyes? Let us know in the comments below or head over to our Discord channel to join the conversation.

Featured Image: Square Enix (via PlayStation Blog)

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2 thoughts on “Boss Rush Banter: How Early Should Developers Release a Demo?

  1. There’s a lot of considerations about the best timeframe, but I think demos shouldn’t release before the game can be pre-ordered (or, at least, wishlisted). I’ve lost track of too many games in the gap between the demo and their availability.

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