Jesse Schell, an industry analyst and chief executive officer, says that those developers and publishers who are launching a demo for their games are actively undermining their interests and can cut their overall sales numbers by half.
Speaking during DICE 2012, the analyst reveals that other promotional means like teasers and trailers can work much better than demos, because they build anticipation but they do not allow players to actually evaluate the quality of the game.
Schell states, “You mean we spent all this money making a demo and getting it out there, and it cut our sales in half? Yes, that’s exactly what happened to you.”
Of course, there’s a clear ethical problem with hiding bad games from players by not delivering a demo.
It also seems that solid releases, like the recent Dead Space 3, can generate significant sales even with a demo release that has been downloaded more than 2 million times.