The demo was pretty neat, although it had an inordinately long intro which I presume was intended to deter people from using the demo as a proxy for buying the full game. Despite middlin' sales in January 2008, the developers (Criterion) have regularly released updates for the game to add new features, cars, and most recently motorcycles.
Those updates have all been free. And they eventually enticed me to buy the full game. If they tell me they will support the next Burnout title the same way, and it is as fun as the current one, then I'm already primed to buy it too.
In fact, and I know this will shock folks who know me, I intend to sell my physical copy of Burnout Paradise and buy the full download version available this Thursday on the PlayStation Store. I'm comfortable enough with their system (five downloads to separate systems, if necessary, and unlimited full data backups onto my own media as desired) to take the plunge and enjoy the convenience of having the game ready to launch at any time.
In fact, I'm considering the same deal with both Warhawk and Gran Turismo 3: Prologue, both of which are available on the PS Store as full game downloads.
Truly, I play the downloaded PS3 games far more than I play the disc-based games. Super Stardust HD, The Last Guy, PixelJunk Monsters, even the PS1 games I've purchased from Sony's store -- these all get more play than my unloved PS3 disc games. They start faster, they're always 5 seconds from starting, and they are quieter (although this last point is being picky, since the Blu-Ray drive isn't that noisy).
I find myself wishing I could rip my PS3 games to the hard drive and play them there. That's how much I like the instant-access that I used to enjoy with PC games (back in the pre-CD-in-the-drive days).
Sony keeps coming up with pleasant surprises, and the Burnout Paradise package is one of them. If they'd listen to me, here's my recommendation for a November Surprise: Work out a deal with EA to put Dead Space and/or Mirror's Edge on the PS Store the week of Thanksgiving. Also offer Sony's own LittleBigPlanet available as a download through the store. Make each game $10 cheaper online until the end of the year, provided you buy the downloadable version through the online store.
I think that would work out very well for everyone involved. (Whether it would make up for the painful price gap between the Xbox 360 and PS3, I don't know, but it would be a huge self-marketing ploy that could bring some people over.)
I have to say despite my hesitance to pay the devil to steal my soul, (i.e. paying Sony for a game I might not have access to in 5, 10, 15 years time if they decided to be hard about it.) I love the games I can download to the PS3's HDD. As you said, they are always there when you turn on the system. To have the choice of four or five full games as well as all the small games like Super StarDust HD is great. And with my most current disc in the system I always have all the games I want to play easily at hand.
I have to say right now, if I was given the choice, I would buy ALL my games as DLC and I would buy more games too. [Don’t tell Sony that...I’d be in the poor house.] But it is true not having to go to a store or pre-order is great. I live on an island so the game store isn’t a cheap or easy trip so as DLC I am far more likely to get a game.
Just so you know: if you run the downloaded version of Burnout Paradise it will not access your save file from your disc-playing days.
So you'll have to start all over.