Game developer Blizzard could potentially be considering the introduction of a free trial for its successful team-based first-person shooter Overwatch.
During ChinaJoy 2016, which is arguably the country's largest gaming and digital entertainment exhibition, NetEase president Li Riqiang talked about Overwatch, and discussed his company's partnership with the game's developer Blizzard. Over the course of the conference, Li eventually brought up the studio's plans to possibly introduce a trial for Overwatch sometime in the near future.
According to Li, the plans for a free Overwatch trial haven't been completely solidified as of yet, but it is an option Blizzard is considering in order to expand the first-person shooter's fan base. With the game already being extremely popular, as it garnered more than 7 million players in its first week alone, should the developer decide to implement a demo, Overwatch could see its community grow exponentially.
For those unaware, NetEase is Blizzard’s Chinese partner and was the publisher of Overwatch in the country, so for Li to mention a free trial as being a potentiality, it's foreseeable as coming to fruition soon, especially with the companies currently dedicating time to figure out how it could work. Unfortunately, though, no exact window was given as to when fans should expect a demo to make its way into the market.
Although Overwatch is a fan favorite and received plenty of positive reviews upon its release, one point of contention held among critics and regular players alike is that Blizzard set the game's price upon launch far too high, as many considered its day one content to be too meager for an initial $60 purchase. However, the development team has managed to stay on top of a lot of the title's persistent bugs by quickly releasing repair patches and improving ranked play, which would hopefully be reflected in the trial should it be released.
Not to mention, with Blizzard expanding Overwatch's roster by incorporating heroes like the support sniper Ana and pledging to add even more, now would be a great time for the studio to release a trial so as to let gamers see how far the release has come. Since the title is being updated on an almost constant basis, allowing fans who are unfamiliar with Overwatch's gameplay to take part in the action and get their bearings with a free demo would more than likely result in a sales spike for the game.
Even though it should speak for itself that Overwatch is considered by a lot of fans to be one of the top games of 2016 so far, giving gamers who haven't experienced it the chance to play it for free is definitely a winning formula that will translate into sales. With that being the case, a lot of other companies would do well to at least implement demos for games at some point in their life cycle, especially since it was once considered to be standard practice for studios to put out free trials prior to release.
Overwatch is out now and is available for PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One.