According to a new report from analytics firm EEDAR, Sony's PlayStation Network Welcome Back program did more than boost user morale: it actually boosted purchases of downloadable titles. Using data gathered from IGN GamerMetrics, ownership of downloadable titles jumped from 13 percent in March, before the PSN first went down, up to 17 percent in June. The jump isn't surprising, given the free titles Sony made available. Even taking those out of the equation, though, downloadable ownership was still up to 15 percent in June.

The firm also noted that interest in sequels to the free games, notably LittleBigPlanet and Dead Nation, rose significantly. Specifically, LittleBigPlanet 2 trailer views were up 69 percent on GameTrailers, while Google Insights data indicated a greatly increased number of searches for the term "Dead Nation 2."

Based on the increased interest in sequels to the free titles in the Welcome Back program, EEDAR suggests a possible new model for sequel releases. Essentially, in order to drum up interest for upcoming sequels, publishers could release their respective predecessors for free for a limited time. The report acknowledges that this is a risky maneuver, though it notes that the free titles would only have to boost sales of their sequels by a small margin for the practice to be profitable.

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Executive Summary

All four Welcome Back titles, Infamous, LittleBigPlanet, Dead
Nation and WipEout were in the top 25 of consumer reported title
acquisitions in June 2011, according to IGN GamerMetrics.

17% of IGN users indicated they acquired a PlayStation Network
digital title in June 2011, up from 13% in March 2011 before the
PlayStation Network service was interrupted.

Even when factoring out the four Welcome Back titles, 15% of IGN
users indicated they acquired a PlayStation Network digital title (an
increase from 13% in March 2011), indicating that the Welcome Back
program likely increased sales of other digital products.

Among 7th Generation home consoles (X360/PS3/Wii), the PlayStation
3 had a 44% share among acquired titles reported by IGN users (all
formats) compared to 40% in March 2011.

The success of the Welcome Back program may have negatively
impacted physical retail sales in June 2011.

Three independent data sources (IGN, GameTrailers, and Google)
indicate that the Welcome Back program caused an increase in awareness
and acquisition of titles where a newer iteration was available (i.e.
LittleBigPlanet 2). In one case, it increased the awareness and
possible purchase intent of sequels even though a sequel was
non-existent (i.e. Dead Nation 2).

The Welcome Back program may have highlighted a new successful
sequence strategy for video games.

EEDAR recommends that publishers should explore the possibility of
releasing older iterations of titles for free to support the release
of a new iteration.

EEDAR recommends two different methods to capitalize on the free
release sequence:

The first recommendation being a high risk/reward strategy where an
older iteration is released free for a limited time before the new
iteration's release. This strategy, however, may negatively impact
the relationship with physical retail outlets.

The second recommendation, a more palatable risk/reward strategy,
where an older iteration is released two to four months post a new
iteration launch, which could increase sales of the new iteration
while retail pricing is still at a premium.

About EEDAR's Retail Buyer Report

This edition of EEDAR's Retail Buyer Report is dedicated to the
success of Sony's Welcome Back program, which ran the entire month of
June 2011 (data within this report runs through 06/25/2011).

The EEDAR Retail Buyer Report is a monthly service that is free to
all physical and digital retail outlets.

EEDAR's Retail Buyer Report assist retail buyers in purchase
quantities, release timing analysis, in-store promotion allowance,
pre-order campaigns, midnight sale potential, and general industry
trends.

Definition Clarification
Please note that this issue of EEDAR's Retail Buyer Report, makes
several references to title ownership/acquisition according to the
actions of IGN users. Acquisition can occur through several forms
including new purchases at physical retail, used purchases, online
purchases, digital download or person-to-person trade.

About EEDAR
Founded in 2006 by video game industry veterans, EEDAR is the largest
specialty video game research firm in the world. EEDAR increases
video game profitability and creativity by delivering comprehensive
data and technology solutions that empower fully informed and
contextually relevant business decisions.

Leveraging a proprietary database of over 45 million internally
researched data points from more than 10,000 video games, EEDAR is the
sole provider of end-to-end integrated data analysis solutions that
allow for the examination of every factor influencing the success of
past, present and future video game titles.

EEDAR's well-known services include GamePulse® (a continuously
updated application converging data for physical and digital game
industry research), DesignMetrics® (game title forecasting and
analysis), Editorial Insights (mock reviews and outlet bias),
discovery and recommendation technologies, investor due-diligence,
expert testimony, and custom research services.

EEDAR is based in Carlsbad, California and has been recognized by
Forbes Magazine as one of America's Most Promising Companies and also
holds the Guinness world record for the largest collection of
videogame facts and information.

This article was originally published on Joystiq.