Author Topic: Alpha and Beta testing?  (Read 2527 times)

Offline Cinth

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Re: Alpha and Beta testing?
« Reply #15 on: January 02, 2015, 06:44:24 PM »
Looking forward to this one.

Same here.  It's been hard to keep my self imposed blackout (on upcoming titles).  I just want to know more.  Must resist the urge to read up before I've had the chance to play.   :D

Also, happy New Year!  And happy birthday to me

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Offline Aklyon

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Re: Alpha and Beta testing?
« Reply #16 on: January 02, 2015, 06:46:58 PM »
Looking forward to this one.
Same here, really looking forward to it.

Offline crazyroosterman

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Re: Alpha and Beta testing?
« Reply #17 on: April 01, 2015, 05:37:08 PM »
will this game have a demo available when its fully released? just checking because a lot of game makers these days don't put demoes out for their game for some strange reason.
c.r

Offline Vacuity

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Re: Alpha and Beta testing?
« Reply #18 on: April 13, 2015, 10:42:00 AM »
a lot of game makers these days don't put demoes out for their game for some strange reason.
There's a lot of evidence that shows that offering a demo actually tends to reduce sales, not improve them.  Do a google search for "game demos hurt sales" and there's a fairly enormous list of material to work through.  Because of this (and other reasons), a lot of developers choose not to do so and who can blame them.

Online TheVampire100

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Re: Alpha and Beta testing?
« Reply #19 on: April 13, 2015, 12:46:11 PM »
Well, they ade a demo of AI War and that's still their most sold game.

Offline Captain Jack

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Re: Alpha and Beta testing?
« Reply #20 on: April 13, 2015, 01:08:56 PM »
a lot of game makers these days don't put demoes out for their game for some strange reason.
There's a lot of evidence that shows that offering a demo actually tends to reduce sales, not improve them.  Do a google search for "game demos hurt sales" and there's a fairly enormous list of material to work through.  Because of this (and other reasons), a lot of developers choose not to do so and who can blame them.
Not surprising. Demos let people find out how much they like a game before they pay for it. You know how looking at Steam achievements show show people don't finish the games they buy? And some don't even start them? That's not new, just exacerbated by cheap prices and convenient shopping. Back when demos were big, people would try the demo and pass in favor of something familiar. Plus it's harder to get invested in something you didn't pay for, there's no feeling that you have to "get your money's worth" from a demo, so you don't bother to achieve competence.

Lastly, there's Sturgeon's Law. Most games are bad. Why let sucke--customers find out before the money's in your hands?

Well, they had a demo of AI War and that's still their most sold game.
Bundles and steam sales. Even the person who introduced me to the game didn't know there was a demo.  :-\

Offline Vacuity

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Re: Alpha and Beta testing?
« Reply #21 on: April 13, 2015, 01:49:12 PM »
Demos let people find out how much they don't like a game before they pay for it.
Ftfy.  :P

Seriously though, to a fair extent, when people try a demo they're often looking for reasons *not* to buy it.  If they've already bought it, they're generally looking for reasons to justify their purchase, with the strength of that desire roughly proportionate to the quantity of cash paid out.

Edit: grammar
« Last Edit: April 13, 2015, 01:50:44 PM by Vacuity »

Online TheVampire100

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Re: Alpha and Beta testing?
« Reply #22 on: April 13, 2015, 02:12:16 PM »
a lot of game makers these days don't put demoes out for their game for some strange reason.
There's a lot of evidence that shows that offering a demo actually tends to reduce sales, not improve them.  Do a google search for "game demos hurt sales" and there's a fairly enormous list of material to work through.  Because of this (and other reasons), a lot of developers choose not to do so and who can blame them.
Not surprising. Demos let people find out how much they like a game before they pay for it. You know how looking at Steam achievements show show people don't finish the games they buy? And some don't even start them? That's not new, just exacerbated by cheap prices and convenient shopping. Back when demos were big, people would try the demo and pass in favor of something familiar. Plus it's harder to get invested in something you didn't pay for, there's no feeling that you have to "get your money's worth" from a demo, so you don't bother to achieve competence.

Lastly, there's Sturgeon's Law. Most games are bad. Why let sucke--customers find out before the money's in your hands?

Well, they had a demo of AI War and that's still their most sold game.
Bundles and steam sales. Even the person who introduced me to the game didn't know there was a demo.  :-\
To be honest, I'm one of those people that tend to purchase something before even consulting if he likes the game or if there is a gameplay demo aviable. I bought AI Wars also before I played the demo. However, I saw this gmae long time lingering on Steam around and since I owned Bionic Dues already from the same Team i thought to try it out as soon as it comes into a sale. I never regret the purchase but I was surprised how hard this game can be.

Offline ElOhTeeBee

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Re: Alpha and Beta testing?
« Reply #23 on: April 13, 2015, 03:43:39 PM »
a lot of game makers these days don't put demoes out for their game for some strange reason.
There's a lot of evidence that shows that offering a demo actually tends to reduce sales, not improve them.  Do a google search for "game demos hurt sales" and there's a fairly enormous list of material to work through.  Because of this (and other reasons), a lot of developers choose not to do so and who can blame them.

I did just that, and found one result in the last five years, a presentation from Jesse Schell given at the D.I.C.E. Summit in 2013 citing data from EEDAR. While I couldn't locate the data itself on EEDAR's website, his presentation suggests that the study has holes in it big enough to drive a Zenith starship through - for a start, it seems to not account for how there's less incentive to make a demo for a game that's expected to move five million units than a game that's expected to move fifty thousand, because the former game is assumed to already have plenty of coverage and interest while the latter needs every extra bit of reach it can get. Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 is not going to need a demo version, because most of the people that are interested in Call of Duty already know exactly how it will play and are already certain they are going to buy it, most of the people that aren't interested in Call of Duty aren't going to be persuaded to pick it up by the latest version, and there are enough of the former to mean that time and money spent making a demo version is unlikely to see a useful return on the investment anyway.

And that's just their methodology. I'd really like to know where they get their data, too - does Microsoft publicly release detailed game sales figures? Or are they just citing VGChartz, which is... less than trustworthy?

Online TheVampire100

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Re: Alpha and Beta testing?
« Reply #24 on: April 13, 2015, 04:01:02 PM »
Hm, to give examples of games where the demo made me curious enough of a game to purchase it:
1.)Earth2150.  I had a Demo from a German magazine called "CBS" and I got really fast hooked up on the game. This was one of my first games that sucked me into the world of RTS games (another one is Age of Empires). An amazing game, the demo featured the tutorial and two missions. What i liked about the game was the huge tech tree nd the customization of units. You could combine different vehicles and weapons to create your own units. The game was freaking awesome and I bought all three installments of it (Escape fromt he blue planet, the moon project, lost souls).

2.)Plants vs Zombies. Same magazine, the demo featured the first and second world (front yard day and night). After I finished it I could lust for more. The game was so freaking amazing. Simple, yes, but still I was impressed how well the game was balanced. Plants can be countered with specific Zombies, those Zombies can be countered with other plants. The artwork, the humor, i liked everything about it. It hurts really much to see how EA sliced PvsZ2 into a chash grab machine with no balance at all.

3.) Defenders Quest. There was a Demo on Newgrounds (I bet it is still there) that let's you play the first two acts and includes half of the characters of the final game. The gameplay (RPG with TD mixed) and the story were very good and I wanted more from it. I wanted to see what other characters the game has to offer. The Demo got me to purchase the full version and pre purchase the sequel when it was announced. I never regret buying it, I'm still looking from time to time into it to improve my characters.

4.) Immortal Defense. Again, Tower defense (I play quite a lot of them), like Defenders Quest you get the first two campaigns for free and can purchase the game for the rest. the game had a very refreshing approach on the genre and on story telling, mixing science-fiction with spiritual ideas. I won't get into detail but the whole point of the game is that you leave your body to become the protector of your planet in an interstellar war. The gameplay was very different in the way that your own mouse cursor represented yourself and that you attacked with it enemies. It also could create points (towers) that attacked on their own. Both, towers and cursor, benefitet in different ways from killing enemies. Also new was that cash that you collected in one level was carried over to the next level instead of having a fixed value. One of the best games ever seen in this genre, maybe even the best.

Offline Captain Jack

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Re: Alpha and Beta testing?
« Reply #25 on: April 13, 2015, 05:07:43 PM »
I did just that, and found one result in the last five years, a presentation from Jesse Schell given at the D.I.C.E. Summit in 2013 citing data from EEDAR. While I couldn't locate the data itself on EEDAR's website, his presentation suggests that the study has holes in it big enough to drive a Zenith starship through - for a start, it seems to not account for how there's less incentive to make a demo for a game that's expected to move five million units than a game that's expected to move fifty thousand, because the former game is assumed to already have plenty of coverage and interest while the latter needs every extra bit of reach it can get. Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 is not going to need a demo version, because most of the people that are interested in Call of Duty already know exactly how it will play and are already certain they are going to buy it, most of the people that aren't interested in Call of Duty aren't going to be persuaded to pick it up by the latest version, and there are enough of the former to mean that time and money spent making a demo version is unlikely to see a useful return on the investment anyway.

And that's just their methodology. I'd really like to know where they get their data, too - does Microsoft publicly release detailed game sales figures? Or are they just citing VGChartz, which is... less than trustworthy?
I just dug up an old Extra Credits video explaining the phenomena in more detail, only to find that its primary source was EEDAR. With my appeal to authority no longer authoritative, I'll instead claim that it doesn't matter if it's true or not, the narrative has become that at best demos have little on sales and at worst act to prevent them. You can see this in indie gaming, the PC space and the console space (all right I cheated with this one since it applies to all games).

Now, my personal feeling is that demos CAN help... but only if the demo content is absolutely spectacular, or confirms an already existing narrative around a game. The latter requires big beloved franchises or big beloved companies, neither of which need demos to sell--the games will sell on brandname alone. These demos can sell other products; Crackdown sold well because it had a Halo demo.

As for really good demos, they're hard as heck, because they need to put the game's best aspects on display while still convincing buyers that there's more to be had. Of these, two come immediately to mind. Gunpoint and Alien Colonial Marines (in all fairness, ACM didn't have a commercial demo but it did have a hands-off demo that was widely liked). The first is a massive success story that should be held up as a shining example of what we want to see in game development and reception. The second is not.

Stepping outside the discussion, I'd tell Chris that a demo would be cool, but should only be done for sales reasons if he's supremely confident in the game. (And putting on my marketer's hat, reach out to contacts for free pushes starting in May)