Do demos increase or decrease CoG/HG sales?

Statistically, demos decrease sales. But I have a feeling that this is different for text-based games. It’s much harder to show the quality of a text-based game through a trailer or pictures. But playing a chapter or two for free shows it to you.

Personally, I wouldn’t have bought any CoG titles if there wasn’t a demo available.


I think CoG has stated that demos (free to download, but pay to finish apps) significantly increase sales.


I’d assume they definitely help sales.

Speaking for myself, there’s tons of games I wouldn’t have ever bought if I didn’t play a demo for it prior to it. I would never have known I wanted to finish it or cared about it if all I had to go on was that kind of crappy store blurb summary and a couple of slides from random scenes in the game.

Following that on HG games, having demos before release is definitely better otherwise people don’t know about the HG’s existence or have a reason to care.


Still, it should be said that good descriptions and screenshots and good reviews can actually matter way more than having a free demo. For example, Life of a Wizard, Life of a Mobster, and the first two Lost Heir books are all best sellers with tens of thousands of sales each despite having “pay to download” apps.


It can. Ideally, the best solution would be to have everything good. But I still think a demo is good to give people an idea of what the game is so they can at least decide if they want to play it to the end.

Those are popular games and all made by the same one I think. Which…personally, I liked Life of a Wizard and Life of a Mobster but I couldn’t be bothered to follow through the Lost Heir series after playing the first once. Yet it’s still very popular, so maybe I’m the weird one.


I’d say demos can help sales, definitely. Demos are good for giving people a taste of what the game is like.


Where did you get this from? :thinking: If demos were so harmful, I think the norm for games would be to not release demos. But i don’t see that as regular behavior.


Seconded, they apparently increase sales which isn’t surprising. Would you buy a book from an author you don’t know with nothing but a short blurb to go on? (I realise there’s a few where you’d know the author, but there’s a lot of authors without conventional published books and just because you can write good normal fiction, doesn’t always mean that your choicescript books will be the same.)

I’m also interested where you got that statement from as well. I’m personally far more likely to buy something if I have a demo or trial to see if I like the game I’m going to buy. If I can’t access a demo or return it within a time frame (like with steam) I’m far, far less likely to give games a chance I’m not sure of, so it gets more sales from me.

The only main downside to demos that I’m aware of is it opens you up to negative reviews because the game isn’t free.


From what I’ve seen, I’d say that demos in CoG/HG games definitely increase sales, but sadly also decrease ratings.

Basically, when people play a free game, they’re more likely to rate it highly because they got to finish the game without paying a penny. Games that are pay to play also get quite high ratings because the people who downloaded the game already paid for it and thought the price was worth it. Demo games, however, seem to be bombarded with a bunch of 1 star ratings with the sole complaint of, “This game should be free!” … And therefore some extremely well written games end up with a much lower rating than they deserve, because some people still don’t understand that writers need to eat. :persevere:


Wait, I can’t eat off the $0.07 I got from ad money this month?


Personally, I’m more inclined to buy games with a demo than games without one, unless I am already familiair with the series or the author.


There are some CoG titles that I didn’t plan on buying just from seeing the summary/prompt but as soon as I finished the demo I just had to get them :joy:
So I guess demo for text-based games works? At least for people who can’t leave unfinished story alone


the demos that i played here usually finish on a good part in the history, so i was like “damn, so whats happen now” for me is a way to stimulate people to pay for the game, in general the demo purpose is to give the player a feeling on what the game will be, and help you to decide if is worth to spend money or not.


What are you talking about? Most games don’t release with demos

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Publishers do all sorts of promotional things pre-release. Free trial periods, Social Media partners that run live streams pre-release and yes, a lot of games, especially non AAA publishers, do offer demos.


Personally, I find demos useful for CoG/HG to get a taste of it and to see whether I’d be interested beyond the description. There are reviews too, and they are useful, but I prefer not to use one singular source. I would be more cautious if there weren’t a demo, however.

Doing a quick search, the comment on game demos apparently being bad for sales came from a conference referenced in this article, which mentions that the people making the claim didn’t prove causation. Personally I find demos immensely useful to see whether it actually runs (and without game breaking bugs). I figure that can affect sales, and that study was in 2013, back before Steam had refunds (though the article was about Xbox sales).


ohh I wouldn’t trust pictures and Vid , nowdays…some Lie like hell and put some Alpha crap to get peoples to buy their stuff . Then go ‘Oh its was in alpha…it doesnt exist anymore…sorry!’ .

where a demo…well…its a bit more solide . Sure , even a demo can be changed . But it tell a bit more then a pic or a screenshot .

in somes games though , even a demo can’t help. Sure in choiceofgames…a demo is a must and help me decide fast if I like the story or not .

But in some others games , it didnt help lol Like in GW1…played the demo…brough the game . well liked the demo…but the full game was boooring .

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On Google Play Store if you list a game as “Free,” but with IAP it sells better than listing a price up front. But it’s pay and play on iOS. Though technically yes, we have a demo for every game.

In fact, I was just discussing this yesterday. I’ve been doing author interviews in advance of release for quite a while, but only recently began highlighting the fact that when I post an Author Interview and Trailer, that means the game is in demo mode (first X number of free chapters are up and playable) on the website. I wonder if folks were priorly broadly aware that they could demo the game when Author Interview goes up.


I wonder how many of these 1* reviews would be avoided if somewhere in the store page description warned that only the first x chapters are free. Take for example the Dryad’s Riddle store page, nowhere does it inform that only one chapter is free, who does not know how the CoG games work will most likely think that the game is free, with ads and that the in-app are things like energy, gems, lives, special options, donation or maybe he played one of the really free games that CoG has. He then happily download the game and in the first screen he discovers that it is not free, he thinks he was deceived so uninstall and 1* review…

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It wouldn’t make a difference. The games always say there’s only a demo before you start playing. Yet people complain as seen.