What works to drive excitement, curiosity, and thus sales is footage of gameplay -- You want to experience that cool stuff you just saw, you have to buy the game. Oh, but won't someone think of the players?! What if they buy a crap game based on misleading videos?! We already solved this in every damn app store: Satisfaction Guarantee Refunds. You (impulse) buy the application / game, and try it out. If you don't like it you get a full refund. This is BETTER than the demo model because they don't need to wait to download the rest to keep on playing the game if they like it, and if the users hate it they can get a refund. The end result is less work for the developer, streamlined sales, and more customers.
As a developer, I'd just disagree with you. But as a gamer, I just can't put it any other way than simply: fuck you.
You want me to buy your game out of ignorance; you want to omit the demo not because of any problems that would be involved in the creation of the demo, but because otherwise it would allow me to make an informed decision of whether or not I'll actually like the product I'm about to buy, instead of just forking over my cash and hope I didn't make a mistake. I pay you for providing me with entertainment, but you want me to pay even if I will not actually be entertained by it. You know what they call it when you trick people into buying something they do not want, and try to prevent them from making an informed decision? It's called a scam.
Fuck me? Seriously? WTF, man?
Note: I have already refuted everything you just wrote in the very part that you quoted. Re-read the part where I said I'd provide in-game video footage, and a full refund if you try a game and don't like it. Scam? Woah, buddy, chill out. Not only do you seem irrational, but you're also being willfully ignorant. This isn't sane discourse, your comments reek of the kind of extreme reaction one might expect from a religious extremist if you question their beliefs. Guh! That's some scary shit man.
Now, there are many valid reasons for not making a demo. Perhaps you don't have the time to make one. Perhaps a demo wouldn't be representative of the full game. Perhaps the amount of material required to be representative would make buying the full game unnecessary. But if you are an indie developer, rather than just some greedy corporate asshat, 'to make sure the customer doesn't find out he doesn't like the game enough to buy it' is NOT a valid reason for not releasing a demo.
My reasoning for not releasing a demo is too simple: There's no need, you can play the game "for free" by purchasing it, playing it, and returning it for a full refund -- It's not a retail store, there's no physical merchandise, it's quite simple to get your money back. Furthermore: No one knows the best way to sell my games but me. I'm the one who lives or dies by the decisions I make. OUYA marketing model is flawed in that I have no choice but to be beholden to methods of sale that I know not to work for me.
Please understand that I have to make money to live. I hate corporate asshatism as much an anyone -- I even turned down a secure job with health benefits writing soul-crushing corporate code to be a freelance programmer. This is how I make a living working as a contract coder: I don't sell multiple copies, I sell my labor once and move on to do more work. Unfortunately I haven't bootstrapped myself into that model yet when it comes to games and mobile apps, so I must sell copies of artificially scarce bits. The more money I make selling games the more I can afford to work on them instead of boring business code.
At the end of the day it takes more work for me to make a Demo + Game than to make a Game. Add to that the fact that I experience less sales for my programs when there is a demo available, all those reasons you mention for not releasing a demo, and more; Then, you might see why I say this:
I've done the math, and it's actually not worth my time to port a game to it as it stands -- I'd have to set up my own content delivery servers and host the "full version" content on my servers and use the "demo" as a stub down-loader client -- You download it, then pay to wait to download some more. I just want to make games and sell them; I agree to give Google, Apple, Amazon, Microsoft, etc a cut of my profits because they're handling the distribution.
OUYA is making me do the distribution, or alternatively use IAPs to fund the game. I hate DRM, so I'd rather not implement my own security software to verify download tokens are legit before I unlock the full game. Putting limits in the full game and unlocking them with a code is folly. That means the game really will be "most hackable", and even prone to preventing play if my server, or the OUYA servers are offline. It would be easier to just give me an option to sell the game and give YOU, "as a game player", the option to get a refund if you don't like it.
Note: I have emailed the OUYA devs as a developer in hopes to raise awareness of this issue. They don't want to listen and would rather try it their heavy handed way first -- They're betting big on free-to-play, and nothing will stop them, for now. If they make enough success to continue in their current plan then It'll never be profitable for me to make games on their system. However, if they respond to concerns that developers like myself have and implement a refund system for full-games without requiring a demo, then It'll be easy to port my code to their platform.
Don't get me wrong, I want OUYA to succeed, but I can't afford to run my own distribution service and DRM just to hack my non-free-to-play game to work on their free-to-play centric market.
I understand your point from a business perspective, detached from morals. But trying to profit by pushing your players into making purchases they regret is despicable.
You don't really seem to understand where I'm coming from at all.
I'm not pushing anyone, I'm actually lowering my prices until they think, "Oh what the hell, that's cheap enough to take a risk on!" -- A perceived risk that's actually been reduced to nothing since they can get a full refund. Demos are obsolete. They're not needed when full refunds are available; Demos are just extra work, and lead to less sales in some cases. We solved your concerns in existing app stores.
OUYA doesn't like that solution; It's them you should be mad at.
OUYA doesn't want to give the customers the commonly granted right to get a refund if they're unsatisfied with the purchase. You played the demo, you knew what you were getting yourself into. Ever played a game that didn't live up to the level of gameplay showed off in the demo? Want a refund? Sure! But not on OUYA. Now, pull the wool out of your eyes, OUYA isn't more open. Compared to other Android devices it's more closed. OUYA isn't bringing more freedom to developers or gamers -- It's removing freedoms compared to existing online software stores. Go repeat your rant at the OUYA folks, because if you were railing at them instead of me you would actually make sense.