MMO’s need demos and trials right from launch. TERA came out yesterday and I really want to try it, but they don’t have a trial available and I’m not going to jump into the game after reading so many mixed reviews.
MMO’s have the whole free month thing, but that’s after you buy the game. I’d be interested in a three day trial to see what the games are like. I don’t want to be bothered by getting into beta just to have a laggy, buggy, or unpleasant experience from an unoptimized client that might not be finalized. There’s any number of reasons why you might miss a beta test: small play windows, exclusivity, random draw, etc. Beta these days is also turning into a VIP club you can’t participate in without having purchased the game anyway. Have a trial period right away at launch. Limit the levels or places players can go, and block trades and chat so they don’t become gold farmer throw-aways. It doesn’t have to be the full game experience.
Console games have demos all the time, and often they are the biggest reason I decide to buy. I may have no idea what a game is about, or be completely unsure if I’m even interested, but I’ll play the demo and find out the game is actually really good. I just played the Dragon’s Dogma and Walking Dead demos, and had so much I’ve decided to buy them.
They could also utilize bonuses for trying the demo like The Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning and Mass Effect demos. In Dragon’s Dogma, you can import pre-made characters you make in the demo into the retail version when it comes out so you have your character made and ready to go.
I know I probably don’t understand the big picture about why they don’t have them — I assume there’s a reason — but for me they matter a lot in my decision to buy.