Why Sony’s Attempt to Justify Preorder-Exclusive Killzone Demo FailsJanuary 15th, 2009 | Written by Gabriel Rumbaut | Topic: Industry News, PlayStation 3
Killzone 2 is by far one of the PlayStation 3′s most highly anticipated shooters, and not without reason. The series has long been pushed as Sony’s “Halo Killer,” but neither the first game nor the handheld iteration really lived up to that lofty goal. Finally backed by the PS3′s raw power, Killzone 2 may finally allow the soldiers of the ISA to stand up against the sheer selling power of Spartan 117.
While it’s obvious that Sony believes Killzone 2 will deliver, many gamers still remain skeptical, if not hopeful. After all, the original Killzone was released to much hype, yet was met with tepid reviews. Unless Guerrilla Games, the developers of both Killzone 1 and 2, really stepped up their game, Killzone 2 won’t be worth picking up. And in this economy, many of us can’t afford to blow $60 on a mediocre game.
What is Sony doing to convince us that Killzone 2 is a worthy purchase? Absolutely nothing. On February 2, the Killzone 2 demo will be available for download, but only for those who’ve preordered the game from GameStop. Those of us who are still on the fence about the game will have to wait until February 26, one day before the game’s release.
In a recent interview with MTV Multiplayer, Scott Steinberg, vice president of product marketing at Sony Computer Entertainment America, justified this decision by saying:
Offering a playable demo to motivate preorders speaks to our confidence in the appeal of a game such as Killzone 2. We take this approach when we are convinced that the experience will cement a consumer’s interest in purchasing. Retailers will then merchandise those demos within their stores and online to maximize their visibility. Through this process, consumers are often times able to reserve their copy of the final game, which provides an incentive to purchase and helps seal the deal. We also offer demos on the PSN, which we have done in the past with great success, and will continue to make that available. Killzone 2, for example, will have a downloadable demo launch in North America the week that the game is launching, for consumers who prefer that option.
This is an excellent marketing strategy, but it doesn’t really work for a game like Killzone 2. “Offering a playable demo to motivate preorders” really only works when you’re doing it for games with proven sales power, like Halo 3, Final Fantasy XIII, or God of War 3. Such a decision serves neither Sony nor gamers, but rather GameStop alone. When you’re releasing a sequel to a game that received mediocre reviews at best, you don’t restrict the demo’s downloads; you make it publicly available. Then those of us who are still on the fence will decide to purchase it. After all, if it really is such a great product, what’s there to hide?
Don’t get me wrong. I’ve been looking forward to Killzone 2 for quite some time now, and I really hope that it’s an awesome experience. I’m just not quite convinced enough to put down money to play a demo for a game that may not be that great. If I were able to download the demo on February 2, I would be able to change my mind.
Unfortunately, all I have to go on right now is Sony’s word, and considering that their focus is their bottom line, that just isn’t good enough.