Sony's Great Idea: Demos That Become Less Fun When Played
"Redefined" Is Not A Synonym For "Better "
The patent abstract states:
A demonstration video game permits garners [gamers, we assume] a more complete game experience while promoting a desire to acquire permission to continue playing. In some embodiments, a video game is implemented with trigger metrics. While a user may initially experience most or all of the full version of the game in a demonstration mode, the mode implements trigger metrics to erode game play characteristics, such as character, object, event and/or environmental features, during video game play in the demonstration mode. Thus, fewer play characteristics may be available as play continues in this mode. Multiple trigger metrics may gradually and successively limit play characteristics as play with the game continues. As the gamer loses functionality, the user may be prompted with the trigger metrics to purchase permission to continue the game in a non-demonstration mode that disables the trigger metrics and returns the game to the more complete version.The idea behind this dubious concept is that gamers will become hooked on a game while it's still in demo, then squawk unhappily as features and abilities they've unlocked begin to disappear. In order to prevent this, our player ponies up for the full version, which then unlocks/restores the previously learned abilities or options. Sony offers several diagrams of how this feature might be implemented:
Did An Actual Person Come Up With This?
If this doesn't sound like fun to you—and we bet it doesn't—it's because the entire concept runs against our ingrained concept of fairness. A demo or program that provides limited functionality or play time is one thing; a game that's purposefully designed to take your progress away after a certain point in an admitted attempt to get you to buy once you've been hooked is something altogether different.
Even if such a system didn't seem to be such an intrinsically cheap trick, implementing it turns the concept of gaming on its head. If we all start a game at Level 1 or Track A, at what point does the system arbitrarily decide to start taking away progress? Perhaps most importantly, what incentive can you possibly offer players to play a game when they know you'll start artificially reversing their progress at some point?