Free vs purchased demos

There has been some talk recently about charging gamers for demos. So far I've seen Crytek and EA mentioning the idea. I personally think the idea is pretty ridiculous.

Demos are pretty much a marketing tool. Like most marketing, it's a way to find people that find our game worth more than the money we are charging. Ultimately, when it works we have found a nice win-win situation.

However charging for the demo just seems very wrong. First of all, it means you are now demanding payment for your marketing. What's next, making the customer pay for your ads? Also what happens when they don't like your demo (which is going to happen fairly often)? The company got some amount of money, but the customer paid for something they didn't enjoy. A lose-win situation.

Personally I really dislike lose-win situations in business. I'm not in competition with our customers. We are in a mutually beneficial relationship, a loss for them is a loss for me. As a small aside, this is why we have a money back guarantee on all of our games.

All of this seems kind of obvious to me, so it's strange that this concept keeps popping up.


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