GameCube Demo Discs
Review by: Hairball (hairball@sm128c.com)

Editorial Posted: November 10, 2001

Nintendo has finally abandoned the cartridge format for the new system, the GameCube, and it will be using "mini-DVDs", that hold 1.5 GB of information.

But the result in using DVDs, is lower production costs, therefore, games could be cheaper (yeah, right), and yes, demo discs! We would never see demo cartridges on the N64, mainly because of price, and it's fairly inconvenient to ship with a magazine, or other publications.

Demo discs have been around for many, many years now, mostly before on computers, to try out new software, and games, which is more of a recent thing. There are demos for PSX, PS2, Dreamcast, etc., and it's now time for Nintendo to join in on this marketing mix. There shouldn't be a doubt that the Xbox will have demos for free too, so Nintendo can't miss this.

Demo discs are great for gamers who want to try out games before they buy them, so they can see if they are actually interested in the game or not. With these, game companies can reach a broader market, even people who don't like the certain type of game might try it out because it is free.

Not everyone likes to go rent games because sometimes it's not very convenient, and it can get rather expensive. Having demos though, would be free, and really good advertising for all gaming companies. Demos would want to make people buy a certain game that they try out. Don't even talk about buying a game, playing it, and refunding it, many retailers don't accept refunds on opened software, and besides, it is a hassle too.

But on the other hand, demos would somewhat hurt impulse buyers, who just go to the store, and see a game they "think" they are interested in, and buy it. With demos, people will try a game first, in case they don't like it. There aren't many game buyers like those, but if they are impulse buyers, perhaps they wouldn't care about the demos anyway.

It is very likely that Nintendo will produce demo discs for the GameCube, it doesn't seem like that they will have them immediately though. There have been no reports of a demo disc included with the initial GameCube launch on November 18.

But, it is known that Nintendo has included some sort of demo of Pikmin in Luigi's Mansion. Yes, a demo within a game. Nintendo always seems to somehow have original ideas, I don't think there have been many demos within games before. Luigi's Mansion is a GCN launch game. While Pikmin will be released later in December, it's just the kind of promotion that they may need.

Overall, demo discs are cheap to produce and mass-manufacture, and are convenient to ship. They could easily include a demo disc into Nintendo Power, or other gaming magazines. They've already included a GameCube promotion disc in a recent Nintendo Power, so it shouldn't be a problem at all. Try before you buy, is a great concept, and almost all consumers like that, no matter the product.

-- Hairball (hairball@sm128c.com)