- With the recent news that Killzone 2's demo would be an exclusive bonus when one preordered the full game through Gamestop, there has been much talk about the wisdom of such a move, and whether or not it's the correct way to use a demo.
We're seeing demos being used more and more as incentives and treats in lieu of real bonuses and giveaways, which not only ensures that customers don't really get anything cool and worthwhile for their money, but seems to completely negate the point of a demo.
The first videogame "demos" came about in the early nineties, with the rise of something called "shareware." Shareware games acted pretty much like the demos we know of today, although they tended to be a little more substantial and could be upgraded to full versions, making them technically different to what demos would become.
For instance, the shareware version of id Software's Doom was the entire first chapter of the game. It was pretty common practice at the time.
Shareware games were basically free, although there was often a minimal fee just for the distribution and packaging. Rows of absurdly cheap floppy discs were a common sight back in "them days," and they also found their ways into the boxes of full games by the same publisher, or flogged off for a quid by some arsehole car...