NEWS - Thursday, January 17, 2008

Developers Leave Demos Too Late, Warns XBL Manager

David Edery, worldwide games portfolio manager for Xbox Live, has offered advice to developers and publishers hoping to increase the conversion rates of their demos and trials.

While it might seem obvious to strive to create a quality demo for a forthcoming product, Edery believes that too many teams leave it too late and releasing a lacklustre effort will only put gamers off buying the full title.

"It’s surprising how many developers don’t think about their game’s trial experience until the very last minute of the development process," details Edery in his latest blog post.

"A downloadable game’s trial is everything. It doesn’t matter if you licensed the three greatest IP of all time and fused them into the holy trinity of game design itself.

"If the trial stinks, most people won’t bother to lift the curtain on the full experience," he said.

Edery’s advice is to not only offer a decent slab of gameplay, but to also intensify the players curiosity by ending the trial on a cliffhanger, rather than at the end of a level.

He also suggests capturing the player’s imagination at the end of trial with something other than a list of features from the full game.

"When ending the trial, that upsell screen is (potentially) the last thing your customer will see. Every other trial is promising "more levels," "more characters," blah, blah. Why is your game different?”

"If you don’t have an answer to that question... maybe trying a little wit (or something else that’s memorable and positive) will help."

More advice and insight on demos, trials and improving conversion rates can read on David Edery’s blog here.


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