Sites refusing to carry an exclusive demo

http://www.shacknews.com/ja.zz?comments=28103

Here’s the text:

"After discussions with Activision, the following websites will not be carrying the Call of Duty playable demo, even after its exclusivity is over. This is due to Activision’s decision to not accede to the reasonable request of making demo freely available to all game enthusiasts at the same time.

3D Downloads
3D Gamers
AusGamers
Blue's News
Edge Files / Callofduty.org
FileFront
FileShack
Gamer's Hell
GameGossip
Loaded Inc Network
Tiscali Games
WorthPlaying

The above-listed websites hope to show Activision that the enthusiast industry is strongly opposed to the idea of exclusive demo releases.

Feedback from our users shows that gamers hate to be forced through a single point of congestion if they want a demo right away. While these websites are actually competitors, this competition provides the freedom of choice that enthusiasts want by offering the widest possible distribution of any demo (a sample intended to interest as many gamers as possible in the full product, after all) rather than the most restricted one.

Therefore, something this disrespectful of the industry as a whole has inspired all of these websites to stand together in this open letter.

Deals like this hurt the industry much more than they could possibly enhance a single relationship, and we ask for your support in sending out this message."

Hmm, the Fileplanet weenies took it huh? The game looks dumb anyway. I use Gamers Hell and Filefront for downloads for FREE and still get arnd 150 - 225 kbs for most downloads… most of the time (not all the time). Fuck Fileplanet and I won’t play Call to my Medal of Honor! Cheerio!!!1

etc

Jah, Fileplanet is suck. Set us up the bomb!

Well, from what I’ve seen the game itself looks pretty good. Damn good, really, with a lot of nifty stuff (potentially) that could be better than MoH:AA (and certainly better than Spearhead). We’ll see about that though.

As to the petition it’s kinda neat. I actually have a FilePlanet membership for some odd reason (it’s almost up I think) but these exclusive demos are teh suck, I agree.

From what I’ve seen at E3 and QuakeCon, Call of Duty has at least one super great mission. It’s got a great chaotic feel to it, and I’d love to play the demo, even if it is the same thing that’s been shown already.

But I guess I won’t. These sites are, comically, applying pressure to Activision into doing what they obviously should be doing. “Exclusive demo” reads to me as “marketing suicide”. After all the work necessary to create a demo, why don’t you want to make sure as many people as possible have access to what, for many, is the one thing that will convince them to buy the game?

I mean, this couldn’t have come from the same decision makers that gave away Enemy Territory, could it? This is some new guy who thinks scoring a B2B synergy blah blah drool is the best way to sell anything, including games, right? Cripes, I’m just incredibly amazed at how this is so obviously the wrong answer.

Seriously, if any Activision higher-ups are reading this, this is such a bad move, it makes me cringe.

I’m with you guys, fuck File Planet! The game looks kind of fun to me but File Planet can kiss my ass and the demo too I guess.

Say, wasn’t Activision picked one of the worst PC game companies?

Personally, I’ve always believed it was a bad idea for development companies to rely on such sites to distribute demos, patches and what-not as much as they do, especially in light of how many of such sites are rapidly moving towards the paid subscription plan to get out of the growing thirty-plus-minute queues that one can be stuck in for even a one megabyte file.

Even with a broadband connection, I still consider picking up gaming magazines just for the demo discs to save the trouble of hunting down a queued download site that will play nicely with whatever download manager I have at the time. :?

This is a really interesting development. And I’m hoping to see some thoughtful discussion here on the topic. Tell you what, if you’re planning to “contribute” with some pearl like “FilePlanet suXXors” just keep it to yourself, mkay?

If you open your mind just a moment, you can rationalize the thought process towards offering an exclusive demo, at least for a limited period. Of the top of my head, some of the benefits are: 1) substantial “free” marketing from GameSpy for your demo. Yeah, I know… GameSpy is teh suck. :roll: But they do have a huge audience, and there is some significant value to the marketing they provide. 2) the chance to limit the rush on your demo servers. By giving a FilePlanet subscriber exclusive, you know that there are only about 50,000 people who will have access to the demo. It provides some control. 3) when the exclusive is over, there’s a bit of an artificial frenzy from the other sites to get the demo up, particularly if it’s a good demo. 4) Some other stuff.

On the other hand, by offering an exclusive you temporarily piss off all the people who think GameSpy is Satan Inc.

Is the tradeoff a fair one? In some cases, it may very well be. Admittedly, I’m toying with the idea of a GameSpy subscriber exclusive for the upcoming Painkiller Multiplayer Test. I don’t plan on having 300 servers available for an MPTest, and by limiting the number of people who can actually download the thing, I can keep my server hosting costs managable. Like I said, though, this open letter is an interesting development, and I’ll be watching it closely.

Anybody got some thoughtful comments?

EDIT Double Double Post Post.

Not by any sane person, they weren’t.

I have a feeling that this exclusive demo is due to a deal between Activision & Gamespy for licensing their game browser.

Think about it. MOH:AA was using the GSpy, right? More than likely the Call to Duty (same dev team?) is going to be using the same.

I feel that it’s the publisher’s right to do as they please wrt to their demo, but I don’t think they are generating much goodwill among gamers.

The goodwill that they generated from releasing RCTW:ET could well be wiped out by this.

Exclusive demo = people paying you money to download from your service.

God forbid someone try to make money.

Anyone who says shit like, “Fuck FilePlanet for making me pay to get a demo,” is a communist.

No, it’s penalizing people that prefer to use other services.

I think the question isn’t if you are paying for the demo or not, but instead what the content of the demo has. And playing the demos out recently, I’m going to the communist side.

What kind of morons honestly think we are going to pay for a demo that has little to no demostration of the entire game? Most demos out there have one level with very few weapons, or the game lasts five minutes (120 meg Hulk Demo is a good example of this). These demos don’t even show really anything about the game we want to purchase, and now they are telling me I should pay money for a five minute demo or one level? You gotta be kidding me.

People wouldn’t be so bitchy about paying for demos if the demos had actual content. I remember the days of Doom where you had to pay for a demo, but you would get one third of the game by getting an entire episode. Nowadays, you get one level in multiplayer or single player with missing weapons and companies expect you to pay for that.

I would rather go to my local EB and pay 5 bucks for an AVP demo if I could play the entire single player using the predator only then pay FP for a bunch of crap demos.

[/meaningless rant]

Is the trade off a fair one? Well, we’ll have to see after this. I for one think an exclusive demo is a bad idea. It alienates the public that doesn’t use a particular service AND defeats the purpose of a demo which is to reach as many people as possible. Also, let’s draw a parallel. What if one of those people that hands out samples in a grocery store said they would give you a sample before anyone else if you paid them. Would you do it?

Does anyone know if Gamespy is paying to be the exclusive host for this file? I almost think it would be worth it – after all, the subscriber exclusives of the last few months (including the Planetside trial) have been pretty impressive.

I’ve got subscriptions to both FilePlanet (which I paid for) and FileShack (which is free with my wunderbar Speakeasy DSL). FilePlanet is easily the better of the services – if only because they have these exclusives. Does anyone know if FilePlanet actually makes money for Gamespy?

I hate the current distribution model – i.e. that the publisher/developer often doesn’t even offer a download of their demo or patch, it just gets dumped to the third party sites. I understand the economics, but it still sucks – especially from a customer service perspective (“our service is to turn you away and make you go somewhere else to download the fix for the product you paid us good money. kthx bye!”)

Anyway, I think that this could backfire for Activision, but mostly likely won’t – after all, it’ll be available through P2P networks mere moments after it’s released on FilePlanet. As for erasing the goodwill from RTCW:ET – are you crazy? This is a demo we’re talking about. They gave us a free game. World of difference. They gave away the entire meal, and we’re bitching because they’re denying some of us a taste of the next meal for a few weeks?

Aleck

A free demo is the best advertising you can get. Limiting the distribution of your demo generates bad word of mouth and limits your audience. Plus with the “give it to me now” nature of the internet, you’re going to lose a ton of people when they find out they can’t get it immediately. This is a super bad idea for publishers and developers, no amount of ad space in the world would be worth how outraged you make your most vocal consumers.

  1. substantial “free” marketing from GameSpy for your demo. Yeah, I know… GameSpy is teh suck. But they do have a huge audience, and there is some significant value to the marketing they provide. 2) the chance to limit the rush on your demo servers. By giving a FilePlanet subscriber exclusive, you know that there are only about 50,000 people who will have access to the demo. It provides some control. 3) when the exclusive is over, there’s a bit of an artificial frenzy from the other sites to get the demo up, particularly if it’s a good demo. 4) Some other stuff.
  1. Sure Gamespy is big, but it aint that BIG. If they had made the demo availble to everyone and not just gamespy, the would have got considerably more coverage.

  2. I’m not sure exactly what you mean by this - but if your referring to lots of people downloading it and causing a lack of bandwidth - Wouldnt it be better to spread it over as many sites as possible so 1 site isnt swamped?

  3. Eh, i’m not sure there would be that much of a frenzy especially if the demo has already been availible from fileplanet for a week and is sitting on the various file sharing programs.

As for erasing the goodwill from RTCW:ET – are you crazy? This is a demo we’re talking about. They gave us a free game. World of difference. They gave away the entire meal, and we’re bitching because they’re denying some of us a taste of the next meal for a few weeks?

You’d be surprised how quickly gamers have forgetten this. Just look at the comments at the various gaming sites.