I haven’t checked the archives but I’m pretty sure Square-Enix has broken new ground in the video game industry by releasing a demo for a game –the impressive Sleeping Dogs– that’s already seen a full retail release. It’s almost the opposite of the DLC model: here’s a piece of content that’s less than what’s already available and won’t enhance your experience with the full game.
The demo is free for PS3, Xbox360 and PC gamers, so that’s promising. You get a couple of missions previously showcased at E3 and throughout the summer in video clips intended to get you familiar with the variety of gameplay mechanics. Running, chasing, shooting and beating down thugs is the heart of Sleeping Dogs and the demo will give you a taste of all that.
Typically the demo for a game is supposed to be the final straw to break your resistance to actually putting up your hard-earned scratch for the full game because you like the sample so much. This kind of pressure usually works best when the consumer has no other option to even sample the game in question. Once a game is available however, Square-Enix should want you to pay full price for the full experience and that’s it. Right? No other option but to jump in for the full $60 seems like a strong business model to me. Oh well, look for the demo today and understand that the Night Market chase and the dock level really are small slice of what’s cool about Sleeping Dogs. The combat upgrade system is outstanding.