Will Killzone 2 spur PS3 sales?

One criticism of the PS3 has been there just aren't enough enticing exclusive titles to make you want to buy the system. Well, Sony now has one with Killzone 2, which is getting rave reviews. But will it move boxes?

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Sony has been continually criticized for not having enough exclusive titles--and exclusive hits--for the PS3 to help drives sales of the console. That's not entirely true; the company has had some attractive exclusives, such as LittleBigPlanet, Uncharted: Drake's Fortune, and MotorStorm, but it's still paying the price for not hanging onto the Grand Theft Auto franchise--and failing to match Xbox 360's mega hits, Halo 3 and Gears of War 2 with anything as enticing (Resistance 2 was good, but it probably didn't move boxes).

Well, with Killzone 2, it now has a terrific first-person shooter that's getting rave reviews across the board--and you can't get it on the Xbox 360. Several gaming pubs have given it a perfect score (see Metacritic's roundup here) and our own review (via GameSpot) came in at 9.0. Just as importantly, mainstream newspapers like The New York Times have also given it the thumbs-up.

In Tuesday's Times, Seth Schiesel delivers a virtual love letter. "Perhaps the highest praise I can offer is that Killzone 2 is the first console shooter to make an old-school PC gamer like me wish it was available for 'my' system."

He also calls it the finest-looking shooter he's seen on a console. And more controversially, he adds, "Gears of War 2, the top shooter for Microsoft's competing Xbox 360, still looks good, but with Killzone 2, Sony is demonstrating that the superior silicon horsepower in the PlayStation 3 is opening a widening gap over the 360 when it comes to pure eye candy."

For Xbox 360 owners, those are fighting words. And the truth is the jury is still very much out on which system is really more powerful, partially because it's difficult to program for the PS3 and it often takes developers several years to discover all the little tricks required to extract everything out of the system.

What I assume Schiesel really meant is that Killzone 2, which has been several years in the making (in fact, we saw snippets of it at the launch of the PS3 three years ago, though that preview was notoriously not in-game footage), is finally fulfilling what Sony promised for the PS3. And having played the game myself--and enjoyed the experience--it's hard not to agree on that point.

The question is whether it will translate into sales of the console.

I do think the PS3 will get a bit of a bump. And I think Sony's counting on it, which is why it hasn't lowered the price of the 80GB PS3 to $300 yet. I expect it will watch sales closely over the next few weeks and when things start to flatten out again, you'll see that price dip.

Anybody else think Killzone 2 will have a "Halo" effect on PS3 sales? Or will demand remain tepid until the price of the console drops?

Note: PS3 baseball fans will reprimand me for not mentioning that a Sony exclusive and excellent game, MLB 09: The Show, releases Tuesday.

 

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