Microsoft Tests Free 24-Hour Xbox One Game Trials
August 21, 2014 11:41 AM
comment(s) - last by
Free game trials are a perk with Xbox One Gold subscription and mirror smartphone game sales tactics, PC history
that Microsoft Corp. (
) is experimenting with a new shareware system for the Xbox One, which allows users to play an unlimited 24-hour trial of a game before being forced to decide whether to purchase it.
Microsoft, of course, is no stranger to shareware, which helped to shape the early days of MS-DOS and Windows computers. In the smartphone era
shareware remains popular
, if a bit underutilized. Most smartphone platform providers have for some time now
been providing SDK features
that allow gamemakers to offer temporary trials of games to stoke purchases.
Console makers including Microsoft and Sony Corp. (
) are rediscovering the sales tactic as well, and looking to offer it as an option to console developers.
The Microsoft trial has been observed with the game
Max: The Curse of Brotherhood
, a fantasy action-puzzle genre game from indie developer Press Play. The game has an average
of around 70, with some reviewers calling it "nostalgic", "challenging", and even "one of the best games that you can buy for your new Xbox One."
Microsoft has yet to officially announce the feature.
The free trial was labeled "Free Play Day with Gold" and is available currently
to Xbox Live Gold tier subscribers
under the " Xbox One's Games with Gold" section of the console's internet-connected game store. Previously "Games with Gold" had offered
subscribers such perks as 50-75 percent discounts on game downloads, and two free game downloads a month (within certain restrictions).
Normally a Gold tier subscription current retails
for $60 USD
for 12 months ($5 USD/month) if you purchase it directly from Microsoft via a subscription card. But Amazon.com, Inc. (
) is offering the same subscription card
for ~$48 USD
($4 USD/month) at last check.
After initially being blasted for trying to
use the stick of DRM
force users to buy used games through an official outlet
pay additional fees
, Microsoft has certainly
looked to win critics back
, turning to tried and true carrot approaches such as shareware and discounts as an alternative to the
abandoned used game restrictions
. So far that approaches has
yielded a relatively positive attach rate
for the console, although sales of consoles are
still badly trailing Sony's PlayStation 4
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This may not be workable for bigger budget games
8/21/2014 11:59:49 AM
Given that many modern games have a play time hitting 8-10 hours with little replay value, it seems like people could play through entire games within the trial period. I doubt big name publishers would be on board with that.
That said, I do think this is a great way for indie devs to get more visibility, especially if they were to promote titles similar to the free-play weekends on Steam.
RE: This may not be workable for bigger budget games
8/21/2014 12:06:31 PM
It's going to be a tradeoff. I think this is the way big name publishers would look at this: What is the percentage of people that will finish a given game within a 24-hour window? What is the percentage of people that would buy the game if they actually tried the full game game out?
I think it's safe to say that a small percentage of people would finish an entire game within a 24-hour period.
So big name publishers might not like this for certain games, but not all of their games.
What do you think?
RE: This may not be workable for bigger budget games
8/21/2014 12:52:03 PM
There are very few people who will play a game for 8-10 hours straight in order to finish it in a single day.
But I think this promotion is likely more for multiplayer games, much like the free weekends you mentioned from Steam.
Steam does this already
8/21/2014 1:44:08 PM
Steam does free weekend and including sale of said game. They do it I think about once a month but it's usually a big game like borderlands 2 or black Ops
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