Demos these days? SP only with one map, one side, not all units etc. etc. etc.?
Or MP only, in which you can't test anything of the SP functionality?
Or even beta demos, demos not based on the final build of the game, that may contain bugs or other elements not present in the final product??? (Codemasters have done that a lot of times, amongst others.)
But I agree with the concept, although a time-limited full version of the game would be far, far better, as this allows a player to fully evaluate the game, the concept and the overall impression.
Unfortunately, there are way too few options to sharing/pirating and simple demos. A time-limited version would be damn sweet, which you could then upgrade to a full version, at a reduced cost compared to a store version ofc. (The industry has to see that, even if that'd reduce store sales. People aren't dumb enough to buy games online if they're overpriced.)
AND; make all options available in all (or more at least) regions, not just the US. Too many distributors of games/movies/music already do this, and this only upsets and frustrates the end user. The industry has to learn how to get real international solutions out there, as the web isn't really national...
Stardock has the right idea, for sure. Added value to genuine copies of a product is definately worth something, and it makes more people want to buy the product. Also, a competitive pricing is important. If the concept got bigger and more spread, Stardock with Impulse could go a long way, and I truly hope that means the end of the traditional distribution system that most companies use these days. Unfortunately this is a huge market change, and many gaming stores have opened over the years. If digital distribution were to take over 100% of the market, they'd be out of business. But as the distribution system is organized these days, something needs to change. EA/Activision/Blizzard/THQ etc. etc. etc. shouldn't be taking all the money (or the great majority of it), which is the case today, just because they're distributing the product someone else created, especially not if it's distributed digitally, as their costs decrease drastically. (While the developers' costs are pretty much constant.)
That's probably the issue, the distributors are afraid to lose their market share, their money, their position and ultimately their very existence with the technology development. They certainly aren't doing anything to prevent their downfall though... Opression, mafia methods, law creation etc. (á la North Korea/China/Soviet Union) is definately not the solution.