TechSpot means tech analysis and advice you can trust. Read our ethics statement.
With Injustice 2 and The Elder Scrolls Online: Morrowind expansion releasing close on its heels, Prey is trying to get a jump on some stiff competition by making available a trial edition before the game's release date.
Prey is not due until May 5, but according to Engadget, Bethesda is allowing PlayStation 4 and Xbox owners to download a trial version on April 27. With AAA games costing $60 or more, most gamers have become very selective regarding which games they purchase for the full price. Releasing a demo or a trial version of the title is a good way for publishers to get their product into the hands of customers and give them a taste in hopes of winning them over.
Although Injustice 2 and Morrowind launch after Prey, on May 16 and June 6 respectively, and there are no major AAA releases scheduled before it, Bethesda wants to be sure gamers minds are made up before May 5. Giving them a sample of what to expect is a good strategy. Unless Injustice also releases a demo, it will leave players with the decision of a known versus an unknown. However, Injustice 2 likely can get away without providing a demo for the simple fact that it is certain to be more of the same fighting action seen in the first of the series. As an expansion, Morrowind is just DLC for TESO, so do not expect a trial of that either.
Bethesda may also be looking at the situation as risk mitigation. Although many are still calling Prey a reboot of the original 2006 video game, we already know that it is nothing of the sort. From what is known so far, which is a lot, nothing in the new game resembles the old. The only thing the two have in common is that they are both first-person shooters. By changing the game so drastically, Bethesda is taking a huge risk of turning away players who liked the original game and want more of the same.
The free trial will be a timed, one-hour version of the game which has become typical for most demos these days. The timer will begin once the demo is started, so players will want to make the most of their limited time. Sightseeing is ill-advised in this type of trial.
If the demo is the same as others of this type, it will lock after the hour is up. However, these timed versions usually consist of the entire game, so players interested in purchasing Prey should not delete the trial version once the timer has expired. On or after May 5, they will be able to buy the game and unlock it without having to download anything further.
Did you like the first Prey? Does Bethesda's "reimagining" of the title interest you? Let us know in the comments.