News Article

Nintendo Uncertain Whether 3DS Demos will be Worth the Effort

Posted by Trevor Chan

Hideki Konno ponders...

The 3DS has shown a rather cautious side to Nintendo: from the delayed roll out of the eShop, to the sophisticated anti-piracy measures that can't be put into words, to safety warnings for young children, Nintendo has most of the bases covered. So much so, Nintendo is even considering whether 3DS demos are worth the company's resources or not.

Speaking to Wired, producer Hideki Konno spoke about the 3DS's ability to provide software demos as "technically feasible", but questioned how effective they would be in motivating gamers to buy the full product:

I question whether or not demos are effective... There are cases where people play a demo game and they’re satisfied with that play experience and they don’t buy the game... There are also times when they play a demo and think, ‘Wow, this is great, I’m going to buy this when I have the chance.’ So whether or not it’s an effective use of resources, I’m not sure.

Konno does note, however, that demos or even full games could be pushed to 3DS systems automatically via the SpotPass mode. Another possible addition to the overall functionality of the 3DS is the ability to text chat. Gamers can exchange their 3DS-specific Friend Codes and add others to their friends list, but there's currently not a lot you can do with your online chums. Gamers can see who else are online, what game they are playing, but there's no method of interaction or communication. When asked if a text chat feature would be good to have, Konno replied:

We are going to be making updates to the system, and I think that’s something that would be really interesting to do...

[via wired.com]

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User Comments (68)

WhiteTrashGuy

#3

WhiteTrashGuy said:

Awesome! I really hope that I get to chat over my 3DS like I do on XBOX Live. Voice chat would also be nice - or sending voice messages like over WiiSpeak. As for the demos, I completely understand what he is saying. It all comes down to whether or not people want to stand by their software and put up a demo. With all of this discussion it finally looks like Nintendo is getting this on-line thing right.

bboy2970

#4

bboy2970 said:

Nintendo, I love you, I really do, but PLEASE try to get your head out of your a** for this one. They offered demos on Wiiware. They aren't even permanent and still when a title gets a demo it regularly shoots back into the top 20 downloads unless the game utterly sucks. Proof right there! Offer a demo, game isn't completely terrible, more people buy it!! It also has the other effect of giving a bad game bad sales therefore discouraging devs from making crap for the system! PLUS, this would be an easy way to use SpotPass regularly. New game comes out, digital or retail, the demo of that game is pushed to 3DS owners. The eShop looks promising so far. Please don't ruin it now Nintendo :(

Xkhaoz

#6

Xkhaoz said:

Without demos, how will I know what games are fun? You mean, played others 3DS's? I'll have the only 3DS here!!! So much for that.

Malkeor

#8

Malkeor said:

Demos would be great. I know your worries about it Nintendo, but, look at it this way. The people looking for just a brief playing experience with a game probably aren't going to buy the game anyway. Taking away demos most likely won't force someone to plop down 40 bucks on a game, when they are just looking for a limited experience, a rent, etc.

And what better way to put out a demo and have more people buy the game than if there was no demo for it available. Someone could have their doubts on a certain title, play it, then go out and buy it feeling re-assured that it was an overall fun experience they didn't know it could be =]

MasterGraveheart

#9

MasterGraveheart said:

I bought many WiiWare games thanks to demos. And Yet It Moves, BIT.TRIP BEAT, and Pokémon Rumble were all purchased thanks to their demos. Heck, when I get more points, I'm downloading Fluidity, Lit, and Max & The Magic Marker. Bring on the demos!

...just keep them around. :)

Capt_N

#11

Capt_N said:

Fluidity, & that music-maker where the guy says, "Rock to the beat!", I wanna get thanks only to the demos giving me a glimpse of what the games were. Nintendo, your online system is almost in shambles. Don't back out of the idea of demos now! I love demos. I wish Nintendo would keep up the demos longer than only so long.

Hokori

#12

Hokori said:

ehh Nintendos games are so good anyway I dont think ill need demos, all I know is not to touch certain 3rd parties and thats all I need

TeeJay

#13

TeeJay said:

I think demos are a great idea and should be kept. I wasn't going to buy Pilotwings until I tried the demo. NINTENDO, YOUR DEMOS GIVE YOU SALES! I'M A PRIME EXAMPLE!!

ImDiggerDan

#14

ImDiggerDan said:

+1 I'm even considering putting out a PC emulation version of Digger Dan as a way of getting a demo out there. Given that there hasn't been a huge amount of marketing for the game, a demo could really help people decide if they want to buy.

Alfred_ENG

#15

Alfred_ENG said:

Nintendo just don't want to spend any money. I think most gamers want demos. Also just because i play a demo and enjoy it doesn't mean i have to buy the full game. I am not made of money. I play demos on my Xbox 360 almost everyday. Microsoft have got it just right. I hope next gen Nintendo get things right.

Odnetnin

#18

Odnetnin said:

If no one buys your games, you'll figure out the importance of demos soon enough, Nintendo.

Kriedler

#19

Kriedler said:

We'd better get both demos and text chat. If not voice/video chat. I'm not one to throw away money on a game I don't know I'll like. Games are expensive and I don't have as much time to play as I used to, so I want all the bang for my buck that I can get :P

edhe

#20

edhe said:

Another wise decision by Nintendo(!)

The only reason I think they seem to be against the idea of demos is that they'd be obliged to provide one for every game - including the crapware that wouldn't normally see if

On the other hand, Steam - and it's much more robust demo system - is instrumental in introducing me to games I'd never bother with. (and tip me over the edge - so to speak, with games I was unsure of - either to the point of buying the game or even avoiding it)

What are Nintendo scared of, I wonder...

Rawk_Hawk

#21

Rawk_Hawk said:

I've purchased games after playing demos. So in my opinion they are totally worth the resources and will attract people to log onto the Nintendo Shops. I never considered downloading Jett Rocket on Wii Ware. Then I tried the demo and loved it. More demos the better

Funky_Gamer

#22

Funky_Gamer said:

I don't always rely on reviews, I'm thinking that we're gonna need some demos, and if he thinks that those aren't needed, then at least post some videos of the game.

Squiggle55

#23

Squiggle55 said:

I'd be really disappointed to not receive all of the demos we've imagined, but this is certainly an interesting business question. I think it's hard to say if demos drive up sales. Who's to say if it's more work than it's worth? I think demos for average games could arguably hurt sales. Of course we want free demos, why wouldn't we? But I've been on the fence about plenty of the games we got demos for and decided NOT to buy it because of the demo.

but then there are people who decide to purchase games after the demo and people who are introduced to the eshop channel alltogether because of the demos. I just hope for our sake they give us what we want.

Phobos

#24

Phobos said:

Demos? To the Underworld with demos. Check the pics, the title and the brief description, use your common sense, boom. You now know whether or not to buy the game. I get what this guy is saying. I downloaded a demo of a phone game today, and I was just too unbothered to go for the full one.

Demos practically give the game away, if you really are money-conscious, try a video or a review. Demos = loss of sales. I guess for a really hefty game with costs quite the quid, you could have a demo. That would be worth it. But anything else, just a waste of resources.

Yasume

#25

Yasume said:

I guess I missed the announcement of 3DS demos so this is all new to me. Are we talking about demos of retail 3DS games or 3DSware?

DestinyMan

#26

DestinyMan said:

Sheesh, Konno is sure making some divisive statements lately, huh? Demos are a smart decision and they help show you what the game will be like. You can't see what a game will be like if you just read a review.

Tony3DS

#27

Tony3DS said:

Konno, Nintendo, and to whom it may concern please offer demos. I've purchased games that were well reviewed without a demo (World of Goo, Bit Trip Core..too hard..and others) and felt cheated because I didn't like the game. Now I will not buy a download game without a demo. But if the game is really good quality AND I like it I'm willing to pay full price immediately (Cave Story).....Plus I purchased a game I would have never considered had it not had a demo (Urbanix, even with it's flaws).

MeloMan

#28

MeloMan said:

I love ya Nintendo, but I have to disagree on this point. It's only fair to let people try before they buy... it's just like walking into a furniture store-- what are you going to do, leave all the sofas and beds in boxes but not let people see/sit/lay/etc. on them? C'mon now!

My word to Nintendo is this, and this goes for anyone else out there who doesn't get their game purchased after putting out a demo... Make sure your game doesn't suck. Pressure? Sure. Hard to do? Well, the games industry is is vast with lots of competition... People don't want to throw their money away, so stop trying to capitalize on unweary folks that HAVE to buy a game BECAUSE there's no demo for it, then regret it later. Make quality stuff, and your demo will follow (given you make it also a good demo of your good game). Call me pro-gamer, but gamers are people who have real things to do with their money; give demos devs and publishers, and allow demos Nintendo, please...

edhe

#29

edhe said:

Further to my previous post, I believe a good demo can create much more buzz than what we are curently used to (providing we don't have access to Nintendolife or any other outlet). This is especially the case for the low budget, low profile titles you find on Steam (PC), and what we should be getting on the DSiWare or WiiWare service. Or a prospective 3DSware.

Instead, what we get is a two paragraph blurb (often comically over enthusiastic with games such as Cozy Fire), a few screenshots and a trailer on the Wii's Nintendo Channel that takes about half an hour to play through (due to streaming).

Nintendo are missing a trick if they're thinking of passing this opportunity up.

Sneaker13

#31

Sneaker13 said:

Demo's are always a good idea. It let people decide for themselves if you like it or not. Take a look at the WiiWare demo's. Some saved me money, some cost me money. I crossed games of my wishlist because I didn't like the game based on the demo and I bought games in an instant as soon as the demo was over.

Stuffgamer1

#32

Stuffgamer1 said:

Even with a promising review, I didn't buy Dive without the demo. I played the demo last night and thought it was really good! I've also tried demos of games I probably would've otherwise ignored and found them well worth purchasing. So yeah, demos are worth it, even for small, low-priced games.

Bankai

#33

Bankai said:

It's a bit of a problem that Hideo Konno clearly doesn't understand how effective digital distribuion works :-/

Demos are a prerequisite - not just for convincing people to buy games, but showing people that they don't really want game "X" after all. If people stop buying games on impulse because they found the demo lacking, then shovelware should find it harder to find sales, leading to happier customers, leading to a console with a better reputation.

A part of marketing that Nintendo has never realised is that you want to find the right buyers, not just buyers.

Kriedler

#34

Kriedler said:

@Phobos
Yeah, except for the occasional crapfest that's less than the sum of its parts. Assassin's Creed caught me with that one. Freeroaming? Check. Stealth? Check. Good controls? Check. Graphics? Never a selling point for me, but check. Gameplay? Slow, boring and repetitive. I essentially did everything there was to do by the end of the first mission. Lame. Feels like they dragged the game out more by making Altair climb at a snail's pace than by adding fun and interesting content.
This is why we have demos. I would have known after a half hour if it was a must-have or must-avoid.
Anyways, I've bought lots of games based on demos alone. Crysis 1 and 2 come to mind right off, and several other full-priced retail games, or Pokemon Rumble, Beat Hazard, and several smaller games. I don't know how much effort it takes to actually make a demo, but there have to be more people out there like me that like to know their money is going somewhere good.

longtimegamer

#35

longtimegamer said:

@WaltzElf: Yes. Of course Nintendo probably feel the demos help THEIR sales. People already buy alot of them just because Nintendo's Rep. Some of these other companys aren't well known yet or have not yet made that type of reputation (yet at least) that would make a consumer feel fairly safe in the quality of game they'll recieve. Not only that..but how would you know if a particular type of game would even interest you.

Phobos

#36

Phobos said:

@Deesotilio I suppose so, but a demo doesn't exactly give you a full-fledged in-game experience either.

Oh well, it's up to Nintendo and their judgement of sales.

citizenerased

#37

citizenerased said:

Real nice when you get all apologetic about your online services, Nintendo, but LEARN FROM YOUR MISTAKES. Common sense, hai?

moosa

#38

moosa said:

This is just one guy (important as he may be) sharing some of his own thinking out loud during an interview. Not only does he not say anything conclusive, but his words aren't representative of Nintendo's official stance at all. He's simply saying, "I don't know if demos are effective or not." Nothing more or less.

Conclusion: Stop getting worked up at Nintendo for silly reasons. .

GammaGames

#39

GammaGames said:

demos are great, you will play a great one and keep it and see it every time you browse through your content. Eventually, you will probably buy it because of seeing it so much, it is in the front of your mind!

TrueWiiMaster

#40

TrueWiiMaster said:

As a gamer, I definitely want demos, but I do see where he is coming from. Since the WiiWare demos restarted, they have both turned me onto games I didn't want before the demo, and turned me off of games I wanted before the demo...I'm not sure that's a winning situation. Plus there are those demos that can actually satisfy the gameplay by themselves, possibly costing the game purchases. All that said, I still want demos.

dings

#41

dings said:

This guy sure is good at making controversial statements that go against the wishes of most the fan base.

Tylr

#42

Tylr said:

Demos are ultimately the factor to make you buy a game.
Fuildity on Wiiware looked good at first. Tried out the demo. The game wasn't exactly my cup of tea. Saved me from buying a game i would not like. Pokemon Rumble demo got me to buy the game. Good for the customer. It's debatable weither it'd be good or not for the publishers/developers.

DarkEdi

#43

DarkEdi said:

The demos show us if a game is worth or not to buy. I´ve played the wiiware demos and my surprise was Chick Chick Boom, and then I downloaded it.

Nintendoftw

#44

Nintendoftw said:

HOW IS THIS IN QUESTION? Seriously wth is wrong with Nintendo right now? WHO PICKS A DEMO OVER THE REAL GAME? I mean if it's a online multi player demo then MAYBE but no one picks it over the true game!

y2josh

#45

y2josh said:

The more I hear about the 3DS leading up to release, the less I care about it.

Crunc

#46

Crunc said:

They have a friends system and you can see what your friends are playing, but sending a message to them is only something they're considering adding? Something that, now that you you mention it, might be cool??!?? I really don't get how Nintendo can be so out of it. That and uncertainty about demos. And thinking that a global achievements system is bad (yet achievements in games are not)?!??!?

Nintendo is just completely clueless. I'm losing faith.

moosa

#47

moosa said:

I don't think a single person here has realized that the most important aspect of this issue is resources. If demos were free then nobody at Nintendo would be questioning it.

Crunc

#48

Crunc said:

And demos have made me buy more games then not on XBLA. The fact is that if you try a demo and find out you don't like it, that is a lost sale on a game that doesn't appeal to you, but that means you don't have a bad experience and feeling about the download service going forward is positive. That means more sales of games overall. That has certainly proven to the be case for me with Xbox Live Arcade and, guess what, I've bought way more XBLA titles then WiiWare, a huge part of that is the lack of demos (and now only a limited set of non-permanent demos).

shinesprite

#49

shinesprite said:

Personally, I really think demos are a good idea. Out of the WiiWare demos so far, I've probably tried around 90% of them and bought 15% of those (which is good, because I was only interested in 7.5% of the 90% prior to trying the demos). :D

motang

#50

motang said:

Dammit, get your collective out of the past and get with the program. If you do them well and they are easy to access, then they are worth it.

HappyHappy

#51

HappyHappy said:

I would like to have demos for the 3DS, it would let me know whether a game I think looks good is worth buying or not.

StarDust4Ever

#52

StarDust4Ever said:

I have to question the plausibility of spotpass being used to trade demos or updates on the fly. Game statistics, Miis, and other data is fine because it's not executable. Yeah, Nintendo claims that the 3DS is unhackable now, but if the 3DS ever gets cracked in the future (the Wii and DS have been for a long time), it would potentially be possible to propagate trojans, viruses, or worms to hack/disrupt players hardware, which would be a first for consoles.

lex0plex

#53

lex0plex said:

@Malkeor
Actually you bought up an interesting point about renting... I find the games that I downloaded on the wii were fun for a few days until I beat them, and then haven't played them since. Instead of demos, Nintendo should rent games out and make them inactive after a week. Cheaper games + more downloads + money from re downloads = more money and happy customers.

Of course a really good online multiplayer game or something with a lot of replay value would definitely get a purchase. Man, I remember when I used to rent gamecube games all the time then bought the ones I thought were the best. Now I have a little collection of 10 or so GC games that are like gold to me. This way I'll never have to buy a disappointment! :P

Come on rentals!

quino711

#54

quino711 said:

rentals can actually be a good idea, i dont like to go to a shop to rent stuff, but it will be fine if that money goes to developers, if not im fine with demos only, but nintendo can be evil sometimes haha

Portista

#55

Portista said:

No...I think demos are great. I played the Cave Story demo on wii, and it totally made me want to buy the DSi version.

LeasTwanteD

#56

LeasTwanteD said:

I'm a big fan of demos. After playing one i often end up buying a game i haven't even heard about before.
That said the demos i need the least are demos of most Nintendo games. I kind of trust them with most of their games. Though they still would be nice. (Steel Diver especially)
And if they worry about the effort needed they just could offer something like a 10-minute limited time mode of the game.

JimLad

#57

JimLad said:

The only reason someone wouldn't want demos is that they lack faith in the game they've made.

JoeDiddley

#58

JoeDiddley said:

Nintendo have admitted that it is a challenge to market 3DS games as almost all media is 2D.
Wouldn't it make sense to add demos to the limited arsenal of methods at Nintendo's disposal to create a buzz for their games?

Kirk

#60

Kirk said:

For potential customers like me you fail right now Nintendo.

Crap battery life, expensive price, possibly no demos (again)...

I'm not buying a 3DS.

shake_zula

#61

shake_zula said:

Demos definitely make me buy more games. If a game reviews at about 6/10 then I'm probably not going to buy it, but I'll still try a demo. I've done this countless times on the PS3 and it's resulted in me buying a lot more games than I would have. I don't know many people that would be satisfied with merely playing through a demo of a game if they actually enjoyed it.

RaylaxStaff

#63

Raylax said:

Nice to know the 3DS era can't save Nintendo's online efforts from sucking.

kdognumba1

#64

kdognumba1 said:

You see this is troubling. You see during their GDC conference they applauded Xbox Live for having a great online experience. In previous interviews they literally stated they would love to have a more Xbox Live like service. Now we have 1 global friends list, the ability to connect with people we pass by, and the ability to see what people are doing HOWEVER we're uncertain if we can keep in contact with people via wifi and if we'll have demo's.

See this I don't understand. Some of the things that make Xbox Live great is the ability to jump in and out with friends in a cross game party chat whenever, a feature that did so well even Blizzard implemented it into Battlenet 2.0 for Starcraft2, WoW, and Diablo3, and the ability to download and play demo's of games you're not that sure about and talk to friends about them while playing them via party chat or even play those demo's together. This helps game sales. It lets people get a taste of the product before they buy it and is greatly needed for games especially the ones that don't already have a big following. IE Batallion Wars

Mange

#66

Mange said:

Unbelievable they even consider demos not the way to do it. I´m totally behind DiggerDan. If N doesn´t let you have a demo right on the hardware... release a web based (flash or whatever) version of it for players to test. Did you test the webbased demo of that new Mario vs Donkey kong?? it sucked. don´t do it that way.

KrazyBean

#67

KrazyBean said:

How can you say Demos are useless?? Demos are a win-win for the Developer AND the Customer...do it Nintendo, DO IT OR SO HELP ME!!!

>=(

Moco_Loco

#68

Moco_Loco said:

One solution to people just keeping the demo and not buying the game is to put on some DRM that only allows you to play the demo for a limited time. After that, you have to buy the game if you want to continue playing it. I think that solution is good for both gamers and developers.

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