It was announced today that Sony are looking into a new way of issuing demo content for potential buyers. They have come up with the concept of “degradable demos”.
What that means is that the nearly complete game would be issued as “the demo” but the more you play it the more that it diminishes over time until the full retail amount is paid and then all features – and maybe some new ones – will be restored.
The patent explores the various ways that degradation could be used in this method. It could be in relation to weaponry that would weaken with each play until it was impossible to defeat enemies, or racing games could have tracks that break down so a player can’t finish a race after a while. It could also be something as simple as limitations on the number of plays, or characters.
This would mean bigger files being required, but it might also lead to people making more purchases of games directly based on what they though of the demo. This would be more in line with the PC shareware approach and would be quite revolutionary for consoles were it to take off.