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All Demos? + Hands On, Hands Off [DualShock 4]

by Trioptical   //   9:47 AM on 02.22.2013

All Demos

Perhaps one of the best things that may come to the PS4 is the access, instant or not, to full game trials of every PS4 game. It's very pro-consumer.

I think.

It's definitely not pro-publisher, if Jesse Schell's D.I.C.E presentation, in which he something to the effect that demos hurt sales, is to be believed. According to Schell, the best way to get people to buy your game is to tease them with a trailer, then cut them off. You want to see how the game turned out? Buy it, bad game or not, we're not telling.

Imagine a world where developers have no choice because whether they make a demo or not; every game can be tried first through a timed, full access demo. The pressure would be incredible to make games the best that they can could possibly be because there's no hiding behind the wall of paid access.

So on the one hand, maybe Sony's move could force everyone to make much better games. That would certainly be pro-consumer.

On the other hand, what if you can't make a better game, or at least, no one who could fund your game believes you can make a better game. After all, publishers tend to be pretty risk adverse. If they don't get your experimental, ie. not a shooter, game, you don't get funding to even make it.

And that's how it is now. What happens when they can't rely on fancy marketing to overcome the fact that every game can be sampled? Less games getting funded would probably mean a more homogeneous release line up and that wouldn't be good for gamers.

Maybe this is where Sony's self-publishing initiative comes in. While we may get fewer and fewer interesting titles from big publishers, people who are just in it to make their games available to the world (and of course make some money for their efforts) will provide us with the variety gaming needs to survive.

Hands On, Hands Off [DualShock 4]

Well, that's interesting. Numerous outlets at the PlayStation 4 event in NYC reported that while they got to see the DualShock 4 in the flesh, the moment those controllers were no longer needed for on stage demonstrations, the new controllers were all hidden away. No one got a hands on of anything.

Yet, in the clip above, we clearly see Late Night's Jimmy Fallon and guest Anthony Anderson not only get to touch the DualShock 4, they actually get to play a small segment of Killzone: Shadow Fall.

It's weird how many of us tend to think of the video game press to be an extension of industry PR, yet in this case VG reporters were somehow unsuitable for Sony's means. I mean, the Fallon segment is clearly scripted with the host asking all the right questions. And in the gameplay demo, Fallon and Anderson don't seem to try to do anything that'd break the game, or stand around scrutinizing the texture resolutions, hit detection or the analog stick deadzones. It's like "Home Shopping with Jimmy Fallon."

Still, I wonder how the video game press feels. I'd be a little miffed. Even if reporters aren't experienced in game development, they understand, up to a point, what it means for a game to still be in development. They can understand the little asterisk that means "features are subject to change without notice." Why couldn't they have been granted at least the level of access granted to late night TV hosts?

Granted, none of this will matter in a few months as far as the DualShock 4 is concerned as playable demos will undoubtedly be at E3, but it makes me wonder if perhaps previews as they have been might be on the way out anyways, with every publisher and developer starting up community management in-house and having total control over their messages.

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