Demos were a core part of the gaming scene in the ’90s and early ’00s, letting you play the first stages of upcoming games and whet your appetite for their full release later in the year. Demos were expensive to create and distracted developers from working on the final game. In the past 15 years, demos largely dropped off the scene, with alpha and beta tests for multiplayer games taking their place, and single-player game developers opting for trailers and a big marketing push to build hype for launch day.
Microsoft wants to change all that.
The tech giant has revealed an upcoming Xbox Game Pass update codenamed Project Moorcroft. This will allow developers to release demos of their games before the launch of a title and build anticipation.
Predicting that developers may not be able to invest the time and money on making a demo alongside the actual game, Microsoft says it will be compensating the game makers. Microsoft hopes that this will encourage developers, particularly as they will be able to access data about how their games perform.
This new Xbox Game Pass feature targets independent developers and Microsoft talks about it being a curated selection, so it sounds like it could be a great space in your sub to check out weird and wonderful new games regularly.
Microsoft doesn’t have a set release date for the Project Moorcroft update beyond saying it will be out this year. At Microsoft’s press conference this weekend, we should hear more about Project Moorcroft and possibly learn about some of the first independent games that will release demos through it. Here’s how to watch the Xbox and Bethesda Games Showcase.
While Xbox Game Pass has been great for letting us try out games after they’ve launched, and PS Plus will do the same when Sony launches its redesigned subscription service later this month, having a tightly designed introductory demo to a game ahead of launch just offers something different. Having the chance to see a game’s reveal and immediately go and play a bite-size taster is something I really miss from the ’90s. I’m glad Microsoft is trying to bring it back.