Sony Computer Entertainment America has filed a patent for a new kind of game demo its calling a 'degradable demo'. The degradable demos would allow players to play a game in its entirety for a limited time. After a certain number of hours or plays the demo would slowly start to remove features until the player purchases the game. Degradable demos would allow developers to choose how much of their game is available and when features would be removed.
Some scenarios include a 'de-leveling' system that would weaken the player's abilities over time, slowly removing levels (for example tracks in a racing game) or reducing the visual and sound quality of the game. Diabolical Sony, the company seems prepared to black out the player's screen until they buy the game. The patent says the idea will sit well with publishers because it would allow distribution of demos on physical media, although what kind of person would want that in the age of digital distribution?
No word on if or when the idea would be implemented. Would you be interested in playing a degradable demo?