>Things That Make No Sense: The Killzone 2 Demo

>This article from MTV Multiplayer explains Sony’s justification of its bizarre and counter-intuitive Killzone 2 promotion, wherein the Killzone 2 demo is being offered 24 days before the game’s release only for people who pre-order the game from Gamestop.

MTV’s Stephen Totillo asks the relevant question:

Why would Sony do this? Isn’t the practice of selling a demo to people who have already committed to order the game contrary to the logic of why one would release a demo?

And Sony gives the following answer:

“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.”

Read the first sentence again. Here, I’ll isolate it and bold it for you:

Offering a playable demo to motivate preorders speaks to our confidence in the appeal of a game such as Killzone 2.

No, no it doesn’t. To the extent that sentence makes any coherent sense at all, it does precisely the opposite. Killzone 2 is one of the most anticipated titles for the PS3 this year – it’s also one of the only exclusive titels for the PS3 this year, but that’s besides the point – and yet Sony’s marketing blitz for it has been, for lack of a better word, non-existent. Which is to say, if you didn’t already know about it, you wouldn’t know anything about it.

Releasing a demo for a highly anticipated game ONLY for people who have already spent money on it tells me that they don’t have a lot of faith in the game; it tells me that if the uneducated and unwashed masses were to get their hands on the demo a few weeks before the game was released, they’d be disappointed and thus less inclined to pre-order.

And really, while we’re at it, what is it about Killzone 2 that makes it so highly anticipated, anyway? The first game supposedly boasted fantastic production values, especially for an aging PS2 system, but didn’t really get great review scores (Metacritic average is 7.0); and if I remember correctly, the first trailer for it – the one that dropped every jaw at E3 a few years ago – turned out to be a “target render” and not actual gameplay.

Sony has been languishing in 3rd place ever since it launched, and doing arrogant, nonsensical, stupid shit like this only reinforces the idea that they truly have no idea what they’re doing. And I say this as a PS3 owner, as someone who really wants the PS3 to succeed and be great and not simply exist as an overpriced Blu-Ray player.

4 responses

  1. >Werd. I am actually pretty interested in Killzone 2, due only to the positive buzz I’ve read about from various gaming blogs and podcasts. I don’t download many demos at all, but having read/heard that stuff, I would have gladly downloaded the KZ2 demo, and if the game is actually that good, would no doubt have committed to buying it soon after.Given that Joe MainstreamConsumer will never actually catch wind of any of the buzz from the hardcore blogs/casts, I really wonder what is supposed to make anyone aware of this game. If you’re gonna try to be a Halo killer, then you have to realize that Halo is a pop culture gorilla not only because it’s high quality, but also due in large part to its giant marketing machine.If you’re not gonna take a page out of the Halo marketing manual, then at least cheat off of the Bioshock plan. That demo created a ton of buzz, and when the game was released in a non-peak period, it sold like a mofo.

  2. >Exactly. You can’t just assume that your game is going to be huge, just because you say so. Killzone 2 is an intriguing but unknown property, in my mind. I’m not just gonna pony up $60 for something, especially if its just because they assume I will.(Along that same line of logic, I haven’t really heard any PR crowing about Resistance 2’s sales numbers, and I don’t really recall a lot of marketing behind that title, either; I think the hardcore PS3 owners and hardcore Resistance fans ate it up and then nobody else gave a shit. I certainly didn’t; I rented it and found myself uninterested after about 5 minutes.)

  3. >Fuck, you’re right. (For the record, I was planning on at the very least renting this one, anyway; I was just hoping to go in with an informed opinion.)

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