Phantasy Star Zero Mini Feels Like A Paid Demo

By Spencer . March 23, 2009 . 9:07am

psminiThis week Sega’s first DSiWare game will launch in Japan. Phantasy Star Zero Mini gives players a taste of the DS game with an area to explore and a dragon boss waiting at the end. Slay the boss and you get a score which can be shown on the game’s leaderboards. Phantasy Star Zero Mini has 3D graphics, wireless play, and the neat visual chat system — all of which were part of the retail game.


The level in Phantasy Star Zero Mini, Glacea Ravine, and the boss are also from the full game, something clearly mentioned on the game’s product page. If you have Phantasy Star Zero there isn’t any reason to get Phantasy Star Zero Mini. The DSiWare version is really designed for people who don’t own Phantasy Star Zero.


Sega will sell Phantasy Star Zero Mini for 200 DSiWare Points ($2 / 200 yen). Considering the 5,040 yen price of Phantasy Star Zero, the diced up DSiWare game will be 4% of the final game.


What do you think of the situation? Is Phantasy Star Zero Mini a glorified paid demo? Is $2 a reasonable amount for a sample of a Nintendo DS game? Nintendo of Japan introduced a similar system by breaking down re-releasing stripped down “chotto” or “express” versions of their Touch Generations games like Planet Puzzle League and Clubhouse games.

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23 Responses to “Phantasy Star Zero Mini Feels Like A Paid Demo”

daizyujin Says:

If I said what I really thought, I would get banned. Yes it is a rip off. The kind that makes me want to go piss on the head of whoever made the choice to sell it, and twice on the head of the idiot that buys it.

Its a demo people. It is supposed to entice you to buy the product. Telling somebody to pay for it is like having to pay to taste that new energy bar sample at the grocery store. Only an idiot does it. Everybody else just buys the competitor’s product.

Ishaan Says:

You mean the same way Square Enix is charging for a Final Fantasy XIII demo? Or the same way there’s a demo for several games on XBOX Live, but not on PC?

I think 2 bucks for a demo is fine, personally, but that’s just me. Of course, I would LOVE for more developers to start releasing demos on DSiWare, and I fully expect them to. This is a good start. I think the price point is reasonable.

daizyujin Says:

You also seem to have a love for Nintendo. I take anything you say favorably towards them with a grain of salt. You are right thought, those demos are charged for, don’t mean I feel any different towards those. Personally I will flat out say it,

Buy a demo, you are a fool.

There I said it.

Spencer Says:

I’m a fool then since we’re getting the FFXIII demo to write about :)

I know it’s silly since Square Enix will probably release the demo for free in the future and it will probably be at E3, but I feel like the readers here will appreciate so…

daizyujin Says:

Well Spencer I will also say that you have a rather unique position. Still please keep this in mind. While my comments sound harsh, what people do in these situations does effect me. Afterall, if morons start paying for every demo under the sun, then pretty soon companies will stop offering them for free.

Think about anything else, any other business where a person is trying to sell you something. The concept that you have a customer so devoted they will pay to try it out is rediculous. You literally have to be brainwashed. Demos are just like any other ad, they are to put the product in the best possible light to get the consumer to buy it. If the demo is being charged for, only a person that is going to buy the product blindly would pay for it. This in the end negates the point of the demo’s exsistence in the first place.

Like I said, I know it is harsh, but I also know that you just have to look all around you at the industry. If they can get away with it, they will try it. Consumers in the games industry need to start acting like consumers of other products, fanboyism is a detriment to the consumer. Just because you liked “Anal Buttslugs 42” doesn’t mean you should be willing to sell your kidney to get a taste of 43.

Ishaan Says:

People have done more foolhardy things. Like paying for Street Fighter IV costumes. I won’t be buying PS0 Mini since I plan to get the full game, but I will get my friends to check it out if it is ever localized.

daizyujin Says:

Well nice to see somebody on here admit the constumes were a ripoff. Especially since they were already on the disc.

Ishaan Says:

Oh, the costumes are a blatant rip-off. I fully expect downloadable costumes for RE5, too. But people will buy what they like. And really, that’s all it comes down to. If you don’t like it, don’t buy it.

SEGA isn’t the first company to do this, nor will it be the last. While I can’t justify paying for something that is essentially a texture swap, I can justify paying for a portion of a game. Also, Nintendo has nothing to do with PS0, other than that they provide the platform for it. Just like MS runs Xbox Live and Sony runs PSN.

daizyujin Says:

Fair enough I will not say I totally agree with you, but fair enough. I do want to make one point though. While you are right that PS0 is made by Sega, never forget the platform holder ALWAYS has the right to deny anything they want to. So Nintendo is definately contributing to what at least I see as a problem.

Mazen Says:

I kind resemble this to Yoshi Touch & Go which was my first time I felt that I got tricked and that was 30$ I think, so a simple high score stage for 2$ you could play it and don’t buy the game at least its better than the calculator.
To be honest I will buy this and play it heavily maybe but I will not buy the original ever as I don’t have time and appetite for a long online game with many items and such.

MadMirko Says:

Considering that DS demos are free via the WiiWare Nintendo Channel, there doesn’t seem to be a reason to pay for one via DSiWare.

I don’t know much about the contents of this one, so I’ll refrain from commenting. Generally, I really like the idea of the chotto versions, though. 5-10 titles stored on the DSi, 2$, each condensing the gameplay of titles I like into burst experiences to enjoy while riding the tube, being stuck in a traffic jam? Certainly!

daizyujin Says:

Perhaps my concept of the usefulness of the chotto games is marred by the fact that I don’t use any form of public transport. I play my portables in my house on my couch. When I am out, no time to play games. Perhaps that is the fundamental difference here. The Nintendo rep that let me play the DSi yesterday said they still hadn’t told them anything about what was coming out here. Makes me wonder if they have even decided that yet.

Honestly I think that novelty game Spencer talked about that tells you if a person likes you appears to be what I would see people around this part of the country buying. Reminds me of those silly machines at the mall where you put in a quarter and it tells you who you are compatible with and what not.

Spencer Says:

I hear you about the portability. I just wish, even though this is as impossible as getting a direct UMD install option for the PSP, that Nintendo in the future lets you save Chotto versions on an SD card for free. Like if you buy Planet Puzzle League 2 you can save the Chotto version on an SD card.

Ishaan Says:

OK, done replying to dai’s comment (btw, no offense meant, man. Just stating my own opinion there).

Here are my thoughts on this: yes, we have free DS demos available on the Wii shop channel. But not everyone owns a Wii and not everyone wants to turn their Wii on to be able to temporarily stream a demo to their DS. Also, once you turn your DS off, that demo is gone for good.

Now, I’m all for free stuff. I think it’s a great way to promote your game. But the handheld space is a little different from the console space, and I think there’s a lot of interesting things that one could do with a service like DSiWare.

Right now, we’re talking about what is essentially a “sneak-peak” at Phantasy Star 0. What if someone does the same with a racing game, where you can download a “chotto” version with a single track and two cars? Or X number of puzzles from Picross? And keep in mind, you get to keep these demos, not “stream” them.

Eventually, this will all evolve to include downloadable content for handheld games. I’m really excited to see portable games growing this way because I play on my DS more than any other console, and I foresee it staying that way because I don’t always have the time to sit down in front of my TV and play games for a couple hours at a stretch.

I could see my girlfriend being convinced to try out PS0 Mini or a bunch of other different software this way. And really, when I look at it from that pov, I think the 2 bucks is justified. Handhelds are about both: satisfying, fulfilling gaming marathons as well as quick, short bursts of fun. I just view this as part of the latter category.

jarrodand Says:

I think it’d be worth the $2 if it added WPA support for the main card based game. I’m really hoping the western PS0 release has DSi hooks for WPA support or I probably won’t bother since I’m not unencrypting my network…

daizyujin Says:

Agreed, I wish Nintendo would find a way to make legacy software support WPA on the DSi. That would be an important first step towards convincing me to buy the system.

Ishaan Says:

Agreed, the really need to make it DSi-compatible by the time it sees a localized release. Not doing that would be completely dropping the ball.

daizyujin Says:

Yeah don’t see why they can’t do a dual version. Afterall Nintendo did this with several of the GBC games that didn’t require GBC exclusive mode. The game can just detect which version of the hardware you are running and boot accordingly. Another feature that would be nice in all new DS games.

jarrodand Says:

It’d be perfect, they could even rerelease in Japan as PS0 International or whatever.

I’m half expecting Nintendo to release upgraded versions of their more popular DS online games (Mario Kart, Animal Crossing, Tetris, Metroid Hunters, etc) for DSi too. WPA support, enhanced visuals, new content, camera/voice options… there’s a lot Nintendo could do, especially since some of these games (like Mario Kart DS) are still top ten selling titles.

daizyujin Says:

You may have just said though a reason why it won’t happen. Nintendo has said time and again they like to concentrate on titles that are “evergreen”. So long as Mario Kart DS continues to sell well, they may not see any reason to make your proposed upgrade, even though most people, myself included would buy it.

jarrodand Says:

Looking back, I’m not sure if that’s really going to happen though. Player’s Choice rereleases of Link’s Awakening and Tetris didn’t keep either game from getting GBC DX reissues. Or more recently, Pokemon Diamond and Pearl still charting hasn’t kept Pokemon Platinum from getting made.

With something like Mario Kart DSi, Nintendo gets even more potential sales as they’ll be giving previous MKDS owners some incentive to “double dip” in addition to selling games to new players. It’s similar to the ideology behind their New Play Control line on Wii, it’s basically a low cost reissue using the new platform advancements.

Celedin Says:

I’d pay for a demo if it was something I couldn’t wait to try out or there was some kind of incentive to get the demo and then the full game ie. In a RPG, the demo would give an exclusive item that would be unlocked when you play the full game.

Greg Says:

Free demos are really taken for granted now with Xbox Live and PSN throwing more at you then you can deal with. The fact that they’re selling the demo (Let’s just call it what it is) is bound to scare people, but two dollars really isn’t something to fuss over. From what I understand, It has identical functionality to that of the full game as well as leaderboards. I think It’s justified in it’s two dollar price tag.

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