Steam has kicked off a new idea for game trials, starting with the Dead Space remake from EA.
This allows would-be purchasers to jump into the game and play for 90 minutes, no strings attached.
There are no restrictions on how far you can go in the game and the content you can see, just that time limit of an hour and a half. (Cue some speed-running antics).
While this initiative appears to be for Dead Space only right now, we presume this is Valve testing the waters, and the trial idea will hopefully come to a wider range of titles in the future.
Previously, you could, of course, buy a game and then return it - within a two-week window, provided you don't play for more than two hours - but that entails buying the game, and going through a bit of hassle in navigating the refund process. Also, there's a caveat in doing this, too, as those judged to be 'abusing' the system might be refused a refund.
At any rate, this is a much easier and cleaner way of having a taste of a game you think you might enjoy, and also seeing if it runs okay on your PC, too, without needing to jump through any refund hoops.
Right now, the free trial of Dead Space runs until May 29, lending weight to the idea that this is just Valve testing out this system. May 29 is when the current sale ends - the Dead Space remake is 20% off until then - so the trial is twinned with that, with Valve doubtless observing its effect on sales over the next two weeks.
Fingers crossed, then, that these game trials become a permanent thing in the future.