Crytek Boss Predicts The Extinction Of Free Game Demos
As some of you may have already heard, EA wants to try charging for lengthy game demos as part of their "premium downloadable content" plan. Unsurprisingly, this didn't go over well with gamers, but Crytek CEO Cevat Yerli has defended this idea.
In speaking to Develop, Yerli says free game demos will go the way of the dodo and added that he was currently unsure about a Crysis 2 demo. He calls free demos a "luxury" that is actually "prohibitively expensive" for the developer and that the "reality is that we might not see any free game demos in the long term." Now, it should probably be noted that EA just so happens to be the publisher for Crysis 2 so maybe it isn't surprising that Yerli would defend their plans. However, he still believes it has merit; in responding to the backlash, he said:
"I read a lot about this, and read about the backlash as well; people complaining that they would essentially be paying for a beta. I think EA’s strategy is interesting, overall. The thing is, every time we see a publisher doing something to improve the industry, making things more commercially viable and actually increasing the market, people instantly think this is only some money-hungry ploy."
We do have to agree with him there. There's a quick knee-jerk reaction amongst the gaming community that regards all such plans as rip-off schemes designed to take advantage of the "little person." It gets a little tiring hearing so many people complain bitterly about very small fees for something that, if it were a similar service in any other industry, you would most certainly pay. In short, it seems Yerli believes gamers are a touch spoiled (and a touch cheap), and in that, I have to agree with him to some extent.
As for EA's plan, he believes it just wasn't explained properly. He says that although it may appear one way on the surface, it's really "an attempt to salvage a problem:"
"The industry is still losing a lot of money to piracy as the market becomes more online-based. So it’s encouraging to see strategies outlined to combat this.
I think the whole issue needs to be explained in a better way, because there is good thinking behind EA’s plan. I understand why people are thinking that all EA wants to do is maximise profits out of the audience, but really, what it’s really trying to do is get investment back but while being as fair to the gamer as much as it can. Ultimately, it will be a better deal for the gamer."
And given the cost and "time pressure" required to release a quality demo, Yerli says it can be very difficult to deal with and he won't guarantee a demo for Crysis 2. But now that he's said his piece, we'd be interested to hear what other developers have to say about this... Ninja Theory told everyone Heavenly Sword didn't sell well enough to warrant a sequel, and the game sold 1.5 million copies...to most designers with realistic expectations, that'd be a smash hit. So are Yerli's observations universal or is he in the minority in the dev crowd...?
Related Game(s): Crysis 2
4/17/2010 10:42:20 AM Ben Dutka