News Article

WiiWare Demo Program Proving Successful

Posted by Jon Wahlgren

Sales boost seen for all games with free trials

During an early november earnings meeting, Nintendo CEO Satoru Iwata explained how the company wants to get more people to visit the Wii and DSi Shop Channels and browse around, instead of going in already knowing what they want to get. Iwata then announced the company’s plans to roll out a temporary WiiWare demo service to see if they could spur sales.

So far, the experimental demo program has gotten a lot of people to take a swing at the new freebies, occupying the top chart spots in the US, UK and Japan. No surprises there; people like free stuff.

In the US and UK, demo versions were made available for World of Goo, Bit.Trip Beat, NyxQuest: Kindred Spirits, Pokemon Rumble and Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: My Life as a Darklord. Japan received Rumble, Darklord, Goo and Pokemon Fantasy Dungeon Ikuzo!: The Adventures of Storm.

Sneakily, players who reach the end of said demos are automatically whisked away to the game’s Shop Channel page. A lot of our forum members expressed increased interest in these games, but how many people are actually taking the plunge on the full versions?

Quite a few, it would seem.

In Japan, Darklord jumped from barely-in-there 20th place to 6th this past week, the second full week of available demos. Considering there are four demos occupying the top four spots on the chart, it’s actually sitting pretty in 2nd place, right behind Pokemon Rumble in 5th/1st.

The UK saw increased sales of the psychedelic Bit.Trip Beat, jumping from 19th to 15th, or 10th when removing the five demos from the chart. World of Goo hopped up to 11th in the week immediately after but has since slid to 14th. Darklord’s demo took the top spot while the full version re-emerged in 17th place, or 12th among paid downloads.

World of Goo climbed to 9th/4th place on the US chart this past week after sitting in 13th/7th. Bit.Trip Beat returned to the chart in 19th/14th place as well after a period of non-appearance.

NyxQuest did not crack any of the Top 20s, but five slots normally reserved for paid downloads are occupied by freebies. It’s entirely possible that the game is sitting in 16th place.

Pokemon Rumble was released alongside its demo and has stayed at or near the top spot in all three territories.

As one of the most successful WiiWare releases, both critically and commercially, World of Goo is no stranger to the top of the charts. While it doesn’t enjoy that luxury as often anymore, 2D Boy’s Kyle Gabler noted that the demo service was a nice boost.

“I haven't looked at the demo numbers in detail, but at a glance, and having heard from two other developers with new demos, we've all seen a definite increase in sales,” he said.

Alex Neuse of Gaijin Games, the studio behind the Bit.Trip series, would love to see the demo service extend beyond its experimental nature.

“I think that the WiiWare service has so much to offer that any amount of marketing effort that The Big N puts behind it is very well spent,” he said. “I would love to see Nintendo flex its marketing muscle more on the downloadable services.”

Demos may be a nice first step for the advertising-starved service, but in order for the service to really take off like developers and Nintendo want it to, greater awareness should be raised outside of gaming circles to hit the very market that made the Wii and DS so successful in the first place.

“When I tell non-tech-savvy friends ‘Hey, I made a game and it's for Wii! You can download it from WiiWare!’, it would be nice if they didn't respond ‘So that means I can buy it at Target? In a box? What? I can connect the Wii and download the internet into it?’,” Gabler said. “With however many millions of Wii's out there, it sure seems like a small percentage actually knows they can get games that aren't on a disc, or even that non-disc games exist. It might be easier if consoles were ‘always connected’ with magic like the Kindle.”

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User Comments (73)

Rawk_Hawk

#2

Rawk_Hawk said:

I loved the Bit.Trip beat demo and I'm pretty much sold. I will be downloading in the near future.

Hoffkage

#3

Hoffkage said:

Im pleasured.

I even downloaded World of Goo demo already owning the game just for the sake of the service.

Draygone

#5

Draygone said:

Finish the demo and be tempted with the "buy" screen? A smart move on Nintendo's part. Now let's see more demos come out. And a bit of advertising.

Porky

#8

Porky said:

As long as Nintendo is happy then I am. Didn't like the demo idea in the first place but if its Boosting sales then ya im happy.

TKOWL

#9

TKOWL said:

The Bit.Trip Beat demo is the best one of all. And at only 600 points? A steal

Lady_Gryphon

#11

Lady_Gryphon said:

I wasn't sure I would like the NyxQuest or not but it did look kind of interesting so I decided to try the demo. I was surprised to find out I actually liked it. I didn't buy it right then and there, but it's certainly on my list now and it wasn't before.

I do think the WiiWare service itself does need more advertising. I know quite a bit of people that have the Wii, but they don't even try to connect to the internet with it much less see what games are available on WiiWare and Virtual Console.

Sylverstone

#12

Sylverstone said:

I just hope they can make demos for the DSi Shop now...

With this article, it's evident that WiiWare demos are here to stay.

dizzy_boy

#15

dizzy_boy said:

one good thing is that the nintendo official magazine (ONM) here in england has a dedicated feature each month telling people how to set up their wii`s for the online channels.
and they do review the VC games atleast. which is a start.
as for the demo`s. i already own world of goo, but i`ve not been convinced to download the other other games, even after trying out the demo`s.

Sneaker13

#16

Sneaker13 said:

So far, from the four demo's (already owned NyxQuest), I got none and I don't see me getting it any time soon. But it's a great service and I hope that they would continue the service with weekly new games.

ReZon

#17

ReZon said:

Glad it's working out - imagine if it had been implemented from the get-go? Hopefully Nintendo will step it up and get even more demos out there now.

vakama94

#18

vakama94 said:

thats true many of my friends asked me today if the bit trip games can be buyed on a disc, sad but hey, if they continue making demos for the service it will be really good for us who cant decide to get a game or not

pixelman

#19

pixelman said:

Great article. Hopefully this means will see the demo service continue.

Go NyxQuest!

Raptor78

#20

Raptor78 said:

What is odd is that after Gifting the Demos to my friends that had conected online just for the sake of Brawl and Mario Kart etc, not long after they went out to buy wiipoints... not for the games that the demos were for but instead other wiiware games. So it goes to show that even other developers that may not have demos out yet are getting the benefit of online wii owners who hadnt yet taken the wiiware plunge.
The best coments I have heard have been about the Pokemon Demo however 1500 points does seem a bit steep.

Raptor78

#21

Raptor78 said:

... In response to Egg Meister about putting demos out for games that are not out yet would be a great way to build up anticipation. Also I think on demos that have been released proir to the game being released mabey a feedback scren should display at the end instead of taking you to the wiishop so that the developers could make any last minute changes.

Hardy83

#23

Hardy83 said:

No one should be applauding NIntendo on this move. It was years overdue... I can't believe it took them so long.

Uh duh, who would've thunk trying the product yourself leads to increased sales over blindly spending money....GAH!

Gilzane

#24

Gilzane said:

Played the pokemon rumble demo and it was pretty good. But, I'm saving up for an xbox now so I can't buy it :'(

Odnetnin

#25

Odnetnin said:

@Hardy83 Ever heard the phrase "better late than never"? I see no reason to not pat Nintendo on the back for finally introducing a great feature to the Wii Shop Channel.

Hardy83

#26

Hardy83 said:

@Odnetnin
Yes better late than never and I'm loving the demo system, but I'm still not going to pat Nintendo on the back for this one. lol I personally believe this should've been on their online systems since 2006, so I won't congratulate them for something I think it 3 years late. :P

Also it BETTER stay and let any dev make a demo for their game, or like XBLA that a demo should be required.
Obviously separate the demos off the top 20 chart though, so the good games can still be seen.

Earendel68

#27

Earendel68 said:

@Odnetnin I agree with you.

I tried NyxQuest and World of Go; already owned My Life as a Darklord. Downloaded Nyx and it is REAL good. I love the demos service!!!

Nintendo, be sure to offer more demos in the future (and not only because it´s almost Christmas...).

thaantman

#28

thaantman said:

from the sound of the success rate looks like the demos are here to stay. already own WOG & beat I have yet to purchase any of the other games only because i have other games on my radar at the moment. I thought of a way nintendo should distribute the demos, they should release 5 weekly or biweekly, 2 games that had already been out for a while so people that perhaps been curious about a old title but just never made that leap to buy the game can see if it's worthwhile, two that had been just released so the games can start off with stronger sells, and one that haven't been released yet so people will be more likely to make a day 1 purchase

langsterguy

#29

langsterguy said:

Well when I played the demos for World of Goo, and Pokemon rumble I was going to buy them, but didn't have enogh points at the time. But I do know that the demo realy made me want World of Goo.

sonic_brawler95

#31

sonic_brawler95 said:

I played through the World of Goo demo about 3 times, then I bought, and I gotta say, sniff, I love it ssssoooooo much! :D

NintendoNaut

#32

NintendoNaut said:

The demos are awesome. What I'm hoping, is that Ninty will take the demos beyond WiiWare. Having actual game demos like PSN and XBOX Live would be indescribably awesome.

Djungelurban

#33

Djungelurban said:

For the record, in Sweden all five games are charting and has been pretty much since release of their respective demos. In fact, all of them are in the top 15 (technically top 10). Yay for Icarian/NyxQuest!

Jave

#34

Jave said:

I was on the fence on Rumble and Beat, but the demos convinced me. I'll get them on my next deposit.

'Bout time Ninty added demos.

Moco_Loco

#35

Moco_Loco said:

It's kind of sad that such a common-sense approach (and one that is common practice for PS360 and PC) would have to be done on a "trial" basis at all. People like to try before they buy whenever they can. That way they make an informed decision, are happy with their purchase, and are more likely to spend more money in the future.

I recently bought two games that I am very happy with: Pokemon Rumble and Water Warfare. With Pokemon Rumble, I played the demo a couple times and decided I wanted it. With Water Warfare, I decided to investigate the game because I wanted an FPS I could play while my kids are around. I had to read reviews, watch reviews, and watch numerous gameplay videos before I was sold.

Demos help customers make good decisions, and the average consumer is far more likely to buy a game after trying it than to seek the game out and do the kind of research I had to do on Water Warfare.

Feld0

#36

Feld0 said:

Now, if only they released demos of retail games...

For example, an SSBB demo that features a single stage and four characters in the standard versus mode. Not that it's really necessary, as the game is the very definition of popular, but you get the gist of it.

Or a demo of SMG with the first galaxy.

Kid_A

#37

Kid_A said:

It's a very good system. I just downloaded the Nyx Quest Demo--pretty darn fun! I really hope we could get some Retail demos as well, so the lesser-known third party greats like Deadly Creatures, Zak and Wiki, and MadWorld can get some more love.

Djungelurban

#38

Djungelurban said:

Really people, retail demos won't happen... I mean, where are you supposed to put them? A decent demo could go on about 2gig and in that case the internal 0.5gig HD won't get you far.

MasterGraveheart

#39

MasterGraveheart said:

It worked for me. I demoed Pokémon Rumble and ended up buying it a couple of days later. Now, demo Art Style.

Atlantis1982

#41

Atlantis1982 said:

I do hope they carry on with these demos, and try to ask other developers to add in their share. If it was not for these demo's, I would be passing off of the Bit Trip series.

Granted, I only have Beat, but if I want to get more then no doubt I will get the other two.

I am still skeptical about Rumble, I know I will enjoy the game, but the 1500 price point is still a bit much considering I am waiting for a few more WiiWare games to come out as well.

NyxQuest was another game I would had passed off if it was not for the demo service. Right now preoccupied with New Super Mario Bros Wii, but when the time I want another platformer comes around then no doubt I will grab this hidden gem.

astarisborn94

#42

astarisborn94 said:

@Hardy83: Better late then never.
I just know with every major online advancement, he'll still butterfly at Nintendo for being "too late".

Objection

#43

Objection said:

I'm going to hope that my comment isn't taken by Ninty (who definately reads my comments) that I don't love the demos but here goes. Of the 5 games, I already had Beat and Goo. Liked the demoes of Rumble and Darklord but they basically saved me from spending 2500 pts because I didn't like either near enough to download the full version. (Both were games I was considering getting, too.) Last demo to try is Nyx, which I sincerely hope I like, because I need some good ol' platforming between now and Christmas (NSMBW.)

Djungelurban

#44

Djungelurban said:

No worries, you'll love NyxQuest I'm certain. Just remember thought it's not so much of a platformer as it is a platforming action puzzle adventure... I mean, if you're expecting a jump and stomp game (or Kid Icarus), you're not gonna get that...

SwerdMurd

#46

SwerdMurd said:

This decision wins. Seriously--well, well, well done Nintendo. This is proof that is' MUCH better late than never.

LEGEND_MARIOID

#47

LEGEND_MARIOID said:

Good news. Though I think you'd need to research this over a longer time peroid to be entirely sure. Hope this trend continues.

CDavis

#48

CDavis said:

I think they should make a new section for it as it will look strange havin 2 versions of the same game and the charts will mess up.

JimLad

#50

JimLad said:

It's been 14 years coming, but the lightbulb has finally come on for Nintendo.
"If we demo them... they will sell?"

i8cookie

#51

i8cookie said:

I thought NyxQuest looked bad when I saw previews of it, now i've played it... it's complete garbage. But I'm considering getting Dark Lord because of the demo!

Kirk

#52

Kirk said:

No Sh1t Sherlock!

I could have told Nintendo that allowing consumers to try demos of games would increase sales, of the good ones.

Of course it works in reverse if a game is total crap but then that's not really our fault or an inherent issue with demos now is it.

@ CDavis
I agree that they probably need to make a separate demo section

@ Everyone who said so
I also totally agree that they should figure out some way of releasing demos of full retail games too

RyuZebian

#53

RyuZebian said:

I'm one of the suckers that fell for it... :P I now own Bit Trip Beat! Damn is it hard! :/ So far I've only beaten Transition... With the help of a friend! :D

V8_Ninja

#55

V8_Ninja said:

Let's just hope that Nintendo makes this permanent and continue to give us more demos. However, Nintendo has gone down on my company trust list. Have no idea why. :P

NikeXTC

#56

NikeXTC said:

Italy seems to be a particular country, because NyxQuest is the game who was most successful in re-entering and climbing the charts. It was 11th yesterday.

The most downloaded demo is FFCC, but the full game re-entered in the last spots after a few days. World of Good just re-entered as well, while Bit.Trip Beat didn't succeed yet.

FantasiaWHT

#57

FantasiaWHT said:

Um, duh? PC publishers have known this for a decade, and Sony and Microsoft have known it for a few years.

WiiCool

#58

WiiCool said:

yes! More demos, more freebies to play! Glad they're saying it's making more money for them. But I have to be honest here, if enough games are free to demo, that might keep me from buying any ware goodies at all. Just play the various demos all the time. :)

alan123456

#59

alan123456 said:

They should make Demos of games before release or even before the finish product just to see if it will sell, and they should let us put a rating on it. After that they can decide if is worthy of WiiWare.

OrionLee

#61

OrionLee said:

You know, I was going to buy World of Goo until I played the demo and just did not enjoy it. I'm sorry to all the lovers of WOG (e.g. everyone), but it did not excite me in any way. However, the music was brilliant and my brother loved it, so I might still have to download it for him!

Bakajin

#63

Bakajin said:

The demos did their job with me. Got all the demos except Pokémon, was interested in WoG and NyxQuest, just got the other two because they were free, but the demos convinced me not to buy WoG or NyxQuest, and when I did get around to playing the other two demos I ended up buying them both.

#64

said:

They should have this for VC too.

Sorry if somebody already made this comment.

Stuffgamer1

#65

Stuffgamer1 said:

@Badknux: I just read through the comments, and I don't think it was mentioned. Good point, though. Demos Rock!

The plus side to WiiWare demos coming late is that it's definitive proof to all those who still doubted the selling power of demos that they DO help! I'm one of those who wouldn't have even CONSIDERED downloading Pokemon Rumble without the demo (not even a favorable review here on NLife and fun-looking Nintendo Week footage would have convinced me on a game that pricey). Now...Ninty just needs to make this permanent, put it in its own section, and release demos for other games I'm somewhat interested in.

Rerun

#66

Rerun said:

I want to get the most out of my money. Demos and reviews really help me to decide which games to buy. I downloaded ALL the demos and I've committed myself to buying Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: My Life as a Darklord and Pokémon Rumble.

I hope that Nintendo continues to do this not only for the WiiWare but the DSiWare and retail titles too.

Yosher

#67

Yosher said:

Strangely, World of Goo was the one that attracted me the LEAST out of the demo's. I don't know why, it just didn't catch my interest. And that while NyxQuest, a game with a theme I'm usually not too fond of, caught my interest the MOST. I'm still not sure if I'll download any of the full games though. I mean, I want to, but my budget doesn't allow me at the moment...

DarkEdi

#68

DarkEdi said:

I liked a lot Darklord, and i´m deciding if buy it.

I want VC demos too!!

Retro-Commando

#70

Retro-Commando said:

Demos aren't going to last long, according to nintendo wiiware demos will be availble until January sometime.

OverlordMao

#71

OverlordMao said:

I'm totally planning on buying Nyxquest after that demo, not so much Pokemon Rumble, though. I'm glad the demos give us an opportunity to see if we like the game or not. Now let's hope they make it an official service and that the next few wiiware releases get demos.

rjejr

#72

rjejr said:

I'm with the "DUH!" crowd on this one. Demos = sales.
If you look at the titles, they were obviously hand picked. I'ld say the only really good game that didn't demo was Lost Winds which I thought strange since the sequel just came out and 1 demo might have meant 2 game sales.
There are shovelware games on WiiWare (though thankfully not as many as full retail Wii games) which probably wouldn't be helped much by a demo, but I would be shocked if demos didn't continue.
And has already been said - as nice and profitable as it may be for Wii game demos, where ya gonna put'em?

Kirk

#73

Kirk said:

It's a pity NyxQuest didn't jump a little higher but I honestly think the name probably puts a lot of people off even downloading the demo.

I however did download the demo and actually ended up buying the full game :)

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