Try Before You Buy: A Growing Theme in Gaming


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Within the gaming industry, both developers and distribution platforms are continually striving to expand their audience base. Over the years, they’ve sought to do so through incentivised gameplay. Now, however, strategies to entice have changed. Because of the consumer-driven nature of the gaming industry, relevant parties are now embracing a try-before-you-buy approach. So, let’s look at a few examples. 

The Rise of Free-to-Play Experiences 

Currently, there are various ways in which developers and distribution services seek to attract new gamers. At present, one approach that’s proving fruitful is offering free-to-play experiences. Typically, these opportunities only last for a limited time, meaning the concept epitomises the try-before-you-buy notion.

In recent times, Steam has been at the forefront of offering limited-time gaming options. Following Hitman’s release in 2016, IO Interactive made the title’s first two missions available for free, according to PCGamesN. In total, the development features six episodes, meaning that users can immerse themselves in the game before deciding whether to purchase the full version. 

Away from Steam, Origin has also embraced free-to-play opportunities. In both 2019 and 2020, the distribution platform listed The Sims 4 as a free download. According to the Express, the try-before-you-buy period for the simulation franchise lasted for a week. Fascinatingly, this approach is also prevalent within the online casino industry.

At Genesis Casino, new players receive around £295 and 20 free spins upon signing up. Through this incentivised style, prospective bettors can utilise their bonuses across the platform’s wide-ranging library of titles. The free spins promotion, for example, can be enjoyed across a variety of games, such as Book of Dead, Reel King, and Starburst. 

Trail Periods are Coming to the Fore 

Aside from the above, trial periods have recently become increasingly common throughout the gaming industry. Following its release in 2004, World of Warcraft has amassed just shy of 114 million subscribers.

Not only that but at the time of writing, the MMO boasts a daily-player count of 2.1 million. In Blizzard Entertainment’s effort to entice new players, they’ve long favoured a trial period. At present, players can immerse themselves in the fantasy world for free until they reach level 20. The free-to-play package allows gamers to play the starting adventure at Exile’s Reach and experience multiple classes and races.

Minecraft, on the other hand, utilises a demo in Mojang’s pursuit of attracting new users. Those with an account can explore a free-to-play version of the highly-popular title. Similar to Hitman, this offer, however, only lasts for a limited time.

As per the official Minecraft website, the demo version only lasts for five in-game days or approximately 100 minutes of gameplay. There’s also an available trial option, in which gamers can enjoy mods, customisation, online servers, and cross-play between Linux, Mac, and PC. 

Understanding What’s on Offer 

Whether distribution services opt for limited-time free-to-play experiences or period-restricted trials, few can argue that the try-before-you-before approach isn’t central to modern-day gaming. Ultimately, offering such opportunities enables players to view products without making an impulsive financial investment. As such, gamers can make informed decisions regarding their spending habits. 

Jennifer Wilson
Jennifer Wilson
She knows business processes and operations management inside out. As she understands all the challenges of running a small business firsthand, it’s her mission to tackle the topics that are most relevant to entrepreneurs and offer viable solutions.


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