Steam seems to be working on a new way for players to test games before pulling the trigger, starting with a 90min trial for Dead Space Remake.
Not to be confused with demos that already exist for a range of Steam titles, this newer option allows users to play the full game for a limited duration – an hour and a half in the case of Dead Space Remake. A good way for Valve to reduce the number of refund requests, and for players to test new games without having to run a stopwatch to avoid bypassing the 2h-play refund ceiling.
And you know what this could be excellent for? Assuming developers have the resources to enable it, testing the full/final release of a game and checking first-hand if it runs correctly, be it hardware limitations or poor optimisation. Something that demos struggle to highlight due to their constrained form.
With that said, there’s always a chance users will attempt to abuse the system by creating multiple accounts and playing 90min on each until finishing the game. However, this can be stopped by implementing a lock on newly created accounts or those without any purchase history. Live service games and those without local save files would also be impossible to finish using this approach.
Given the state of some recent game launches, I’m of the opinion there should be at least a 30min free testing period for all games by default; it’s hard enough picking a game amid rising costs, and it’s so frustrating when the experience is fundamentally broken. Steam’s refund policy does mitigate this to some extent, and as for shorter games, there could be a system for Steam to manually disable such an option. That said, speed running aside, I don’t know of any game completable in 30min.
Still, in today’s world of evolving game experiences, our buying choices are expanding on multiple fronts. It’s good to see Steam moving in the right direction with another option to help customers make the right choice.