Analyst: Welcome Back Package Earned Sony Money

In a turn of events that surprised approximately one person, Sony’s plan to give away free old games either not long after or just before their sequels hit the market as part of its Welcome Back package actually resulted in more sales, and the company actually made money off the package.

That’s according to a market research firm Electronic Entertainment Design and Research, Sony’s sales of inFAMOUS 2 and LittleBigPlanet 2 increased after Sony released the titles for free in the Welcome Back package. You’ll remember that the package was Sony’s supposed amends-making for the fact that the Playstation Network was down for a month and that sensitive private information of its users had leaked out to the Internet because of a massive hacking attack — and not a marketing campaign.

But why kill one bird with one stone when you can kill two?

The Escapist Magazine has the story, which quotes from EEDR’s data and its conclusion — that Sony stumbled on a potentially profitable new model of giving things away for free as advertising for things they want to sell. As if it wasn’t Sony’s plan all along when it decided to give away free copies of the first inFAMOUS and LittleBigPlanet, and that the Welcome Back package was just a piece of altruism for users. After all, this is Sony we’re talking about. And capitalism.

Here’s a quote from the EEDR’s findings:

When broken down mathematically, the results make a sound financial argument.

If a game that once sold 2 million units in the market is currently available digitally and physically, it is likely producing gross receipts of about $500,000 a month. Assuming that gross receipts reduce to $0 during a 30 day period where a title is free (-$500,000), as long as the free offering boost sales of the next iteration by 8,500 units (at $59 ASP), then it would produce a net/net benefit to the publisher.

EEDAR believes that the publicity generated from the free offering, in addition to new consumers being introduced to the series, would make the 8,500 unit mark easily achievable.

So, the big incredible conclusion: Allowing gamers to try a game might make the want to buy it. See also: demos. Free-to-play MMOs. Advertising of any sort. The entire games journalism industry.

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