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Downloadable demos and the PS3

Some of you may remember a few months back a rumour started going around that Sony were going to charge users for demos downloaded through the PlayStation Store. Well, as those with a PS3 and Motorstorm demo can attest, demos are free.

Well Kotaku have come across some information that suggests that third party developers will have to pay for their demos to be added to the download list. Sony will be charging them to regain the costs of the free PlayStation Network. Kotaku extrapolate that this will mean there will be fewer game demos available on the PlayStation Store.

There are a few flaws in this rumour however. Firstly, if true then these costs would be paid for by the game’s publisher, not the developer itself. Secondly, this is hardly likely to restrict game demo content. Publishers understand that demos can be a great way in creating hype about an upcoming product- downloadable demos have met with great success on the 360, and if a publisher spends time and money creating a demo for the 360 then it makes sense to get as much value out of it as possible, even if the costs do rise. This is without even getting into how much it costs a company to put a demo online and allow downloading- Sony don’t seem to charge anyone to put PSP demos on their sites, and assuming they take a smart approach with PS3 demos they should not cost much to distribute.

Again, I should add that this is a rumour, but even as a rumour it doesn’t have much credence- “Several industry insiders” (ie. anyone from employees at your local game store to Sony’s Ken Kutaragi) and words such as “apparently thinking”, “considering” and “unconfirmed” add up to a story with little value.