I’ve debated writing this article for a long time. My hesitation has stemmed, in part, from the recognition that many people have already beaten this particular horse. At least once a year, I hear an excellent presentation on this subject, usually at a casual games conference (where necessity breeds ingenuity). That said, I believe that many developers and publishers are making mistakes — on many platforms, not just XBLA — which if corrected could improve the sales of their games. So what the heck, I’ll jump on the bandwagon and say a few things. Hopefully some of them will actually seem insightful.
PR… it’s not just for Halo
Having a free trial does not exempt a downloadable game from taking advantage of PR; not even in XBLA, where every game gets downloaded by a large number of people. Why? Two reasons. First, that “large number of people” could be a lot larger. 2x (or more times) larger, in fact. Just because a lot of people download every game that comes their way doesn’t mean you can afford to ignore the people who don’t. Plenty of consumers only think to download the titles they are familiar with — that’s why licensed IP is so popular with many publishers.