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Postmortem: Nayantara's Star Chamber (27 Oct 2004)
While try-before-you-buy is a great opportunity for certain consumers and for the company when those trial players convert into paying customers, it is arguably a bad business model, for a couple reasons. With a small player population and a multiplayer game, new trial players are likely to play not against other trial players, but against veterans. The veteran will usually defeat the newbie, and many newbies will be turned off from the experience, because they feel they're diving into a pool of sharks. They would simply prefer to play against other newbies, or learn by themselves. I talked to a veteran producer at a games publisher after we launched, and he suggested that demos and trial play can actually dramatically lower the sales of your game. With regard to the above problem, it may be that novice players who have already paid for something will be much more likely to "stick it out" in a situation where they have some skill ramping to do, in order to learn how to actually play the game.
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