There was a time when I was about 13 when all I had was a broken, original 60GB model PS3. It worked alright except for the busted disc reader, meaning all I could play was stuff I had downloaded. My parents wouldn't let me use their card to buy games from the PSN store and this was years before PSN credit was sold in stores, so I spent most of my time after school playing demos. While I could never experience a game to its full extent that way, I was glad to have the opportunity to try a bunch of new things all for free; some good, some bad and a whole lot of ugly. Surely the games industry can only get better from here, I naively thought at the time.
For some reason demos fell out of vogue during the PS4 generation, and today the PS5 store doesn't even have a section for them. It sucks because games now are more expensive and expansive than they ever were, and no one wants to make the mistake of wasting their time or money on a piece of shit like Babylon's Fall. As much as that game did wrong it at least had a free beta to let people know they shouldn't be going anywhere near it, so I think it's a good thing that PlayStation are bringing demos back in a big way. It's not so good that they're locking them behind a paywall, but you can't win 'em all.
As part of the upcoming PlayStation Plus tier system, Sony will require developers working on games priced US$34 wholesale or higher to create a two-hour timed trial for Premium subscribers (US$17.99 a month). In some cases they will be allowed to release custom demos rather than a timed chunk of the full game. The demos must be uploaded within three months of the game's launch and will be available to Premium subs for 12 months. The new system isn't retroactive, meaning you probably shouldn't expect to see demos of already-released games, and VR games are exempt from the new demo rules, but the system should be in place by the time they get around to releasing, say God of War: Ragnarok.
What are your thoughts on demos? Would you like to see more of them? Is this a good move on Sony's part? Sound off below!