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Sony clearly does not know how to market Killzone 3

David Hughes's picture

Recent moves by Sony shows that the company does not know how to give Killzone 3 the marketing support it needs.

The importance of Killzone 3 to Sony's success in 2011 cannot be understated, especially since it is showing great potential as a 'system seller' to get Sony out of last place in the console sales war. That said, it's not entirely clear the company knows how to give the game marketing and product packaging support - especially if the goal is to sell more than just games, but hardware along with it.

Before I criticize Sony, one aspect of Killzone 3's marketing push must be praised: the open beta/demo for the game's multi-player component was very well put together and made the game shine in a way that the demo for EA's Crysis 2 did not. I've written at length about that issue elsewhere, but I think it's safe to say that Killzone 3 is getting strong buzz than Killzone 2 did (despite that title also having a public beta). It still falls short of a new Halo game, but Sony is improving matters on that front.

At the same time, part of the game's selling point is its reportedly very well-implemented support for the Playstation Move hardware. To date, the best that can be said about Sony's software offerings for the Move is 'underwhelming', but Killzone 3 is as close to a 'killer app' for the hardware as Sony is likely to get in quite a while. This makes it all the stranger that Sony is not marketing a Killzone 3/Move bundle (either the game and hardware, or the game/hardware/console).

Kotaku first broke the news on Tuesday that Sony would be selling a Playstation 3 system bundled with Killzone 3. It is a 160GB console bundled with one standard copy of the game for $299 - which means that buyers are essentially getting the game for free. This is a great deal, but why is there no inclusion of Move hardware? Sony splashes "the ultimate Playstation Move and 3D game" on the bundle's box, but apparently they couldn't be bothered to create a bundle with the Move included.

It would probably be a loss-leader, but a game/console/Move bundle for $350 would be a really enticing package for people who have been on the fence about the Move. For existing PS3 owners, Sony could have replaced the underwhelming Sports Champion with Killzone 3 in the Move starter bundle (either taking a loss at $99 or potentially increasing the price to a reasonable $120). Yet they've only gotten their act together enough to announce a console/game bundle a mere week before it releases - preventing much of any opportunity to build up pre-order demand or buzz.

I was surprised to see this announced so close to its release date. Presumably, those who've contributed to the increase in PS3 sales alongside pre-orders of the game are now kicking themselves for not waiting. My surprise at the late announcement, however, cannot compare to feeling mystified at Sony's lost opportunity to drive Move sales by not offering a Move bundle with what they themselves describe as the "ultimate" Move game.

Sony only has themselves to blame for mediocre sales of Move hardware to date - and the absolutely disastrous picture of Move software so far.

Update: While Sony does not appear to be directly sponsoring this, GameStop is currently taking pre-orders on Killzone 3 bundled with Move hardware. Interestingly enough, however, the bundle does not include the Playstation Eye camera, only the Move controller itself and a navigation controller. A bundle with the standard version of the game is being sold for $139.97 (essentially list price for the three items purchased separately) as well as a similar bundle with the 'Helghast Edition' of the game at $209.97. This leaves out the camera, which is required for the Move system to properly function, but is nonetheless an interesting development.

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