I believe it's well known in marketing circles that an effective way to sell a product you believe in is to allow prospective customers to try a sample of your product at the point of sale before plunking down their hard-earned cash. Whether it's tasting some overpriced organic coffee at the grocery store or reading a few pages of a book on Amazon.com, you are much more likely to try something new if it's free. Since I bought my Xbox 360, I've only played the one game I bought for a grand total of three hours (the Friday after I bought the system, as reported in this blog entry). But I've spent probably five hours browsing various game demos and trailers on Xbox 360 and I'm on the verge of buying two more games (FIFA 2006 World Cup and Top Spin 2) after playing them for a few minutes in demo mode. Providing downloadable demos of new games is a very smart move by participating video game software companies and Microsoft. With typical new Xbox 360 games costing $60, and the severe shortage of available free time, it takes quite a bit for most people (including me) to choose one game out of the hundreds available. But a 600 MB free download over a high-speed line for a playable demo is something I can easily live with, and once you get a feel for a game you want to play more, so this really reduces the barriers to purchase.
Now if you'll excuse me, I have e3 videos to watch on the Xbox.
try before you buy on the xbox 360
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