On the Download Issue 34: Persistent Demos
They keep you coming back for more
Welcome back to another issue of On the Download. This month we're going to cover something we've only recently begun seeing in the demo space - persistent demos. What's a persistent demo you ask? Let me tell you.
Persistent demos are those that are more than just a single turn style demo. For instance, most demos you'll play through 20 to 30 minutes of content, be greeted with a "Thanks for Trying the Demo" splash screen, and then you would have to do it all over again. Persistent demos the other hand usually entice you to come back for more - either by unlocking content in the full version of the game, or allowing you to save your progress from session to session.
The Syndicate Co-Op Demo is a good example of the latter; it provides players with up to 10 character levels to unlock along with abilities. These don't need to be earned in a single sitting, but rather, can be earned over many different play sessions with numerous people. Sadly, your progress from the demo won't carry over to the single player game.
There are companies that have dabbled with that very idea. A lot of recent EA games unlock items in the full version just by playing the demo. Kingdoms of Amalur actually unlocks content in Mass Effect 3 while the Mass Effect 3 demo will unlock content in Kingdoms of Amalur. It's these kind of little perks that make playing a demo a much more rewarding experience.
What we'd like to start seeing though is full progression carried over from a demo to the full version. While not a demo, Dead Rising: Case Zero saw this come to fruition by carrying character progress into Dead Rising 2.
All of these are great examples of how demos are evolving within the current generation of games.