Many times now, Jagex has told us that despite what we might think, the free to play version of RuneScape is NOT a demo; it is a fully fledged game and not just a cheap, watered down version of the full members version. After reading a lot of people's opinions on this idea, it seems that some people think that Jagex are wrong to say it's not a demo, and that a demo is precisely what F2P is. A year or two back, in the days of Geoff Iddison, this idea might be well founded, when there seemed to be a great focus on turning F2P players into P2P players. However I believe that with RuneScape as it currently is, it is quite foolish to call it a demo.
Firstly, we need to decide what a demo actually is. After a bit of searching, I found a good definition of demo as: a demonstration, of a product or service. Now, lets see what happens when we apply that definition to the free to play RuneScape. While F2P doesn't have nearly as many features as P2P does, it's hardly a demonstration of what being a member is like. There is nothing that shows you what P2P is like then says 'if you want to do more of this, then buy members now!'. If, for example, you were allowed to practice the skill of summoning but when you reached level 30, you couldn't progress any further - that would be F2P being a demo.
You could say that being able to do F2P skills is a way of demonstrating stuff that you can do in P2P. Being able to do combat in F2P is a demo of being able to do combat in P2P. But if you were to say that, then wouldn't being able to play the game at all, just be a demo of P2P? They don't let you buy an abyssal whip, only to state 'You can only use this if you are a member.' in the chat box.
The free to play section of the game is fully self-sufficient. Pretty much everything that F2P uses can be created by F2P members and skills. While that isn't completely accurate (for example making arrows with fletching for use in F2P) arrows are still available as monster drops and purchases from ranging stores within the game. If you were to take P2P away from RuneScape completely, sure there would probably be a big effect on the F2P economy, but the game could progress and continue. However if you were to take F2P away from P2P, including all the areas, skills and items that are currently F2P, you wouldn't have much of a RuneScape left. After all, how would you train slayer if you had no combat skills to start with? F2P provides the basics of the game and gives you the core skills and game concepts. P2P adds on extra things on top of all that the free game has to offer.
So it's on that basis that you can say P2P is an expansion to the F2P game. If you were to never buy members then perhaps you might get bored a little quicker, train skills a little slower, but you could easily play the game for a long time. Of course this is still my opinion on this matter, though there is substantial evidence supporting it. This is something that is debated often when Jagex points out in their interviews that they don't consider F2P to be a demo and I would like to hear your opinion also. Finally, I like to think that Jagex, being the creators the game, know a bit more about what they intend it to be than we do. We should trust their judgment of what they consider the game to be. After all, they know way more about the future of RuneScape than we do.