Where have all the demos gone?

Once upon a time, you used to be able to get your hands on game demos to try a game out (sometimes prior to release) before you decide whether or not to chunk down some money on it. One of my earliest gaming memories of this was a weird service that Sony used to have for the original PlayStation called "PlayStation Underground." It was a weird PlayStation-focused "magazine" that included a cd-rom full of nothing but demos for upcoming/new games.

I vividly remember playing through the Master Onion Rap in Parappa the Rappa hundreds of times on one of those discs. They were amazing for a young gamer.

Back before this, we had the whole shareware craze that cemented iD Software as one of the most important game companies in the world. I don't think I know anyone alive at the time who hadn't downloaded Doom or Doom 2 and played through the game. Most probably never beat it (I know I certainly didn't when I was younger - not until I learned about cheat codes), and even more crazily, most probably never knew that they were playing only a fraction of the game.

The way shareware works, they give you the whole game, but perhaps 2/3 of the game was locked away behind a paywall.

This structure still has some legacy today, because most big developers, when they actually do decide to make a demo for their game, tend to give people the full game, but somehow lock a bunch of it behind a wall. For example, back at E3, when people got to play and try out Zelda: Breath of the Wild, the game basically shut off after 15 minutes. 

But the problems for developers come in when they release a "full game" into the wild, is that there are people who will hack the demo and both try to unlock the full game, and if they can't, mine the demo for as much information as possible about the full release. 

Some examples of this are when people Datamined the demo of Pokemon Sun and Moon for the 3DS and leaked information on new pokemon that hadn't been released yet (spoilers). Capcom released a Demo for Resident Evil 7... and poof it gets datamined and all kind of spoilers are found (spoilers). While not a demo, people datamined the full release of No Man's Sky and found out that the Developers faked the E3 demo, and that it wasn't procedurally generated

So it's understandable that some companies are hesitant to release demos. They want to protect their secrets and the hard work they put into the game (in some cases, over multiple years). To have it all ruined by someone outside of the company can be heartbreaking.

It's interesting that it seems to be something that's quasi taking off lately on Consoles. XBox and PS4 seem to be offering more and more demos lately.

What do you think? Do you wish more games offered demos for you to check out before you buy a game? Have Twitch and Youtube basically replaced the need for these with Let's Plays? Let us know in the comments below.


Only one to talk about this weekend. On Saturday, the last spot at the Mid-Season Invitational is up for grabs as Vietnam's GIGABYTE Marines take on Turkey's Supermassive eSports. It's a best of 5 for that coveted last spot at MSI. This one should be a huge battle. The Marines pushed North America's Team SoloMid to the brink a few days ago and look really strong going into this matchup. Supermassive has a lot of experience on the world stage. And both teams went 5-1 in group play last weekend. I look forward to this one. And personally, I will be cheering for Supermassive.

It looks like it's going to start at 2pm Eastern on Saturday the 6th. You can find it live on YouTube here, or links to all the coverage will be available on the LoLesports site.