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DLC already: more evidence of Sony's bizarre Killzone 3 marketing

David Hughes's picture

A lot of people have bought, are buying, and will buy Killzone 3 but much of this is happening in spite of Sony's haphazard marketing support; today's new trailer for the game is just another round of evidence to that effect.

The late winter release window has become a lucrative one for video games over the years, and all evidence suggests that Sony will sell a lot of copies of Killzone 3 - both the default version of the game and the special "Helghast Edition". Though the franchise is one of the more polarizing mainstream FPS franchises in terms of gameplay and story, it has a large fanbase. In short: Killzone 3 was never going to fail, never going to flop (see HULIQ's sales projection here). But Sony appears to have no sense of how to market an AAA title like this.

The first evidence of this came shortly before launch when Sony announced a PS3/Killzone 3 bundle just days before it would appear at retail. Killzone 3 is a system-selling title, and HULIQ noted a correlation between the increase of PS3 consoles and pre-orders of the game long before Sony announced the special bundle. According to our tracking data, the bundle has seen mild retail interest (considerably less than seasonal holiday bundles), and much of this can be attributed to the late announcement. There was no opportunity to build up pre-order interest; those gamers who were going to use the release of Killzone 3 as an incentive to finally purchase a PS3 had already made their system purchase.

Another lost opportunity by Sony was the lack of any 'special edition' of the console itself. This is something Microsoft has done to great effect, most recently with the excellent Halo: Reach version of the console. Designing and manufacturing a special plastic case for the console is a relatively low-cost endeavor; given the demand for the high-cost version of the game, Sony could have sold a number of systems not only to new PS3 owners, but those seeking an upgraded system which would have a decidedly unique appearance.

Add this to today's news that Sony is already pushing DLC for Killzone 3. A trailer for the "Steel Rain" map pack was just released (watch the trailer below). There's no mention of pricing or a release date, but it is very strange (for an FPS title) to see a map pack advertised less than a week after its U.S. launch and on the same day it releases in the U.K. Single-player titles often have 'day one DLC', but companies developing a multi-player FPS title typically allow the disc content of the game some time to shine before they try to get gamers to shell out even more money.

Offering a unique console bundle, advertising it long before launch, and not trying to push DLC right after launch would be smart moves. Killzone 3 is going to make Sony a lot of money, but smarter marketing could have seen it make even more.

For what it's worth, here's the trailer for the new DLC:

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