Nintendo Adds Play Restrictions to Some Game Demos

Posted by at 12:18 pm on August 15, 2013

Wii U Demo RestrictionWhen a publisher releases a demo for a  game it gives gamers the opportunity to try before they buy. Does that hurt sales? Yes it probably does if the demo or the game is actually not very good, but if gamers end up playing the demo a lot, it seems likely there’s more chance that a player will buy the full version.

Nintendo it seems doesn’t agree with that logic and has decided to include a restriction on the number of times you can play Wii U game demos you download to the console.

Steve Marinconz from Kotaku found this out when playing The Wonderful 101 demo recently. Every time you load up the demo a pop-up appears informing you how many remaining plays you have, with the total being set at 20 times. 20 may seem like a lot, but if you enjoy the demo and invite your friends round to play it, they will soon get eaten up.

A good point is made in the comments on Kotaku about why this restriction may be in place. One commenter points out that younger gamers will happily sit there and play the 1st level of a demo over and over again, and that’s all they need to enjoy the game. As younger gamers are a major chunk of Nintendo’s audience, releasing restricted demos may lead to parents being bugged to buy a game when their kid can no longer load and play the demo.

Play restricted demos may annoy some gamers, but demos have always been something publishers have experimented with to try and generate more money. Examples of this include bundling a highly anticipated demo in with another game to boost sales (Metal Gear Solid 2 demo in Zone of the Enders) and actually charging for a demo disc. The idea there being you pay a few dollars for the demo, and then get that back on the price of the full game when it was eventually released. If you didn’t buy the game, the publisher still made some money from it.

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