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Oddworld Dev Says PS Plus Free Game Deal Was’ Devastating’

ethomaz

Banned
He basically failed to go back to Sony and renegotiate after the delay (that itself would have been weird) and/or missed understands the fact a download isn't a sale.

He maybe could have benefited from a cost per download model or a hybrid one.
I don’t believe after you got the upfront money you can renogiciate… Unless they want to break the contract and pay the contractual fine.
 
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Relique

Gold Member
I am curious how they reached the estimate of 50k-100k downloads on a service that has 48 million subscribers if all those users could get it for free. Even shovelware crap would get more downloads. I mean hell I'd say even 4 million downloads would have been a low estimate. That's less than 10% of the user base taking advantage of a free game offer.
 

ethomaz

Banned
I don't think this is really what the developer is trying to say. I'm sure is well aware that a Ps+ download is not the same as a sold copy. He is probably saying that when he made the financial agreement with Sony they believed that the numbers of subscribers on Ps5 would have been a lot lower that it actually was when the game was actually published, so the sum they agreed upon was lower than it could have been
So how that equals to them losing sales.

From what I know the game is not good and have chance to sell even less than their estimate….
 

SJRB

Gold Member
 

nemiroff

Gold Member
So he is complaining because his game found it's audience on PS+?

No that's not it dear warrior. He's devastated that they made a miscalculation in the deal with Sony (partly due to Covid and the number of PS5s sold IIRC). He's just telling the story, he's not blaming anyone or anything other than himself. If you had any legitimate interest in the actual interview you'd know that.

Edit: I don't think he expected to sell the same number as was downloaded either, but I don't think he elaborated on his specific thoughts about the ratio in the interview, correct me if wrong.
 
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RoadHazard

Member
I don't know if he should make the conclusion that everyone who downloaded it through PS+ would otherwise have bought it. I certainly wouldn't have.

But ok, he made a bad deal and underestimated how well it would sell. Seems like it was still a pretty huge success for them.
 
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Come on, it's not like everyone that downloaded it was going to buy it and not like everyone that downloaded played it. I download everything but only every once in a while I get a game that I actually want to play and haven't already bought.

And yes, it's obvious that being available in this sort of service is going to kill the actual sales of your game. Why would someone buy the game if they can play it for "free" with a sub they already have?

People saying they test the game and then buy it if they like it are full of shit.

I was probably going to buy Guardians of the Galaxy given that people were praising it so much. Now I'm just going to play it on Gamepass with a trial. I would do the same for any game, I'll pay the minimum price the dev is asking for.
 
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This is why easy money is rarely the right choice. It's their fault.
Any dev that is really confident in the quality/appeal of their game shouldn't be releasing their games one these services (unless it's an online game or a really small dev).

To me it already is a red flag for any AA or AAA game if they are included in these services day 1.
 
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mitch1971

Member
I expect a twitter clarification coming from him quite soon once the Sony twitter mob lay into him.
 
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PlayStation Plus is essentially Sony’s answer to Xbox Game Pass. PS Plus offers subscribers two free games a month and can significantly help small and medium-sized studios who might not have the marketing budget to put their games out there. However, not every studio benefits from the arrangement, as Oddworld: Soulstorm exemplifies.

According to studio head Lorne Lanning, the agreement was evidently a disaster for developer Oddworld Inhabitants. He described the decision to bring Oddworld: Soulstorm to PS Plus as “devastating,” costing the studio a significant amount of money.

Lanning recently went on the Xbox Expansion Pass podcast. During the interview, he explained how the studio lost out on tens of millions of dollars due to the PS Plus deal. According to Lanning, Oddworld Inhabitants suffered from financial difficulties during Oddworld: Soulstorm’s development. The studio agreed to offer the game free for a month through PlayStation plus in exchange for an undisclosed sum. Oddworld Inhabitants negotiated the payment expecting Soulstorm to sell between 50,000 and 100,000 copies at launch. However, it ultimately moved more than 4 million units during the month it was free with PlayStation Plus.

The COVID-19 pandemic played a significant role in the problem. The outbreak forced developers to work from home, pushing the release of Oddworld: Soulstorm back to April 2021. While COVID delays were common during that time, it also meant that the PS5 had been on the market for three additional months. This resulted in the game having significantly more potential PS5 players than either Sony or Oddworld Inhabitants expected during their negotiations. As a result, Oddworld: Soulstorm saw more than 40 times more sales than the developer’s most optimistic estimate. That would usually be fantastic, but in this case, it meant the studio lost out on a staggering amount of money.

This is ridiculous.

It startlingly assumes that the game would have actually sold 4million or close to that if it were not on PS+. Since it wouldn't have been free it's pretty clear that's not even close to being possible.

Also, seeing the game get 100x the attention you expected as a PS+ download and calling that a disaster is a hilarious hyperbole. It's a freaking blinding success.

Instead of crying about lost sales, they should have made a plan to offer some level of expansion or MTXs shortly after release in order to monetise any potential PS+ success. If they didn't, that's on them.

In addition, if they really believe the game would have actually sold 4million without PS+ giving it crazy visibility when the game left PS+ after the first month of launch, it should have shown strong sales tracking thereafter. Well did it? Based on his comments we can clearly infer that it didn't... hence this is further proof the game wouldn't have sold anywhere close to the 4million if it weren't on PS+.

This is just a dumb case of retroactive sour grapes by Oddworld. The fact they didn't plan for alternative monetisation in the game outside of the initial sale is on them and they shouldn't be crying in public when their issue was caused by their own poor planning.
 
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Hobbygaming

has been asked to post in 'Grounded' mode.
More people playing doesn’t mean those people were ever going to actually buy it. What a shock that people check out free games on their subscription.

It’s weird to whine about millions playing your game most likely for the first time ever. Maybe their next game will benefit.
That's why I said depending on the game. Imagine if Elden Ring was day one in a service, From would've lost so much $$$
 

arvfab

Member
No that's not it dear warrior. He's devastated that they made a miscalculation in the deal with Sony (partly due to Covid and the number of PS5s sold IIRC). He's just telling the story, he's not blaming anyone or anything other than himself. If you had any legitimate interest in the actual interview you'd know that.

Edit: I don't think he expected to sell the same number as was downloaded either, but I don't think he elaborated on his specific thoughts about the ratio in the interview, correct me if wrong.

My fellow warrior, it saddens me that although very short and written in a very simplistic language, you still failed at reading my post.

Nowhere in my question did I write that he is blaming anyone or anything. Yet he still is complaining, isn't he? And he doesn't seem to be happy that so many people got acces to his game.
 

DarkestHour

Member
lets be honest....i doubt alot of people would "buy" oddworld.

Its a nostalgia IP, nothing more.

Exactly. The assumption of people grabbing the game from PS+ equating to missed sales is poor logic. This is the same argument some people make about pirating. No, it's not a lost sale. Most people grabbed it because it was "free". They were not going to buy it.
 
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Does he think that 4 million people would have bought a mediocre remake of an old PS1 game that is mostly unknown if not for PSN Plus? Like no, the people who grab free games from PSN Plus that month likely weren't planning to ever buy the game in the first place.
 
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DeepEnigma

Gold Member
Hindsight is 20/20, but at the same note...

He would not have had nearly as much advertising on the world's stage with everyone watching the reveal of the next PlayStation and its games.
He should also realize that IP does not carry the same weight it once did almost 20 years ago, and even then it was still a cult following. I don't think I even added the game when it was free on Plus, did not care for it, and it never tickled my nostalgia.

So there is no guarantee it would have sold more.
 
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Pedro Motta

Gold Member
So he blames everything except being a lousy business man, lousy strategy and having a piece of shit game? This makes no sense lol.
 

Mr Moose

Member
PlayStation Plus is essentially Sony’s answer to Xbox Game Pass.
Is it though?
Oddworld Inhabitants negotiated the payment expecting Soulstorm to sell between 50,000 and 100,000 copies at launch. However, it ultimately moved more than 4 million units during the month it was free with PlayStation Plus.
It wouldn't sell 4M in a month, he's high.
 
What i want to know if how many people who "bought" the game on PSN Plus even have downloaded it. Anyone that had a subscription PSN Plus account for a while now would definitely have at least a few games that they recieved yet haven't played let alone downloaded them.
 
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Lognor

Member
Sounds like he didn't negotiate a high enough payment from Sony. It apparently was hugely popular if that many people downloaded it and I assume Sony offered a flat fee. The dev should have asked for it to be variable based on the number of downloads. Not really Sony's fault. Or maybe Sony only offers flat fees for games on PS+? We know Microsoft does both flat and variable.
 

reinking

Member
Why are we talking download numbers? I'm sure he has access to engagement numbers.

I can see where he thinks he miscalculated sales forecast due to covid but using the word devastated and linking it to PS+ is a bit of a stretch.
 
Agreed, this is why people that expect traditional games where their design is not fundamentally altered to fit the Day One “free” release over time are going to be disappointed if this became the de facto way to get games.
Yep. I recently read Eidos' statement that Guardians of the Galaxy is finding new audience (now that it's on Gamepass). And I was wondering "what good does it do now?" It's not like their revenue would increase with the player count. There is no in-game monetization there.

The best they can do is hope that more people would probably sequels.

But for single-player game sequels that are already planned to be launched day one on a subscription service (e.g., from XGS games), what good does "new audience" do.

Perhaps I am missing something but I honestly do not understand this at all.
 

ckaneo

Member
I think people are misunderstanding what he's saying. It's not that he is against PS+ or anything, it's the fact that he signed a shit deal thinking there would be way less PS5s available. He should have negotiated a per download rate or a MUCH higher flat fee than he did, instead he basically gave away his game for free but didnt get any extra benefit from it that he should have for such a huge ps5 audience.
 
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Haggard

Member
unless someone has a solid statistic on how many people who download a free title would have bought the same title if it wasn`t free the discussion is kinda pointless (my guess: not many).
 

Shane89

Member
And that's why spartacus and gamepass are sh!tty service (at least the first one will not give AAA exclusive on day one)

Players are happy, developers are not. But it's ok, the userbase will learn the lesson once they will start receive mediocre titles.
 

ckaneo

Member
And that's why spartacus and gamepass are sh!tty service (at least the first one will not give AAA exclusive on day one)

Players are happy, developers are not. But it's ok, the userbase will learn the lesson once they will start receive mediocre titles.
lol, you do realize he also says that the money from PS+ is what even allowed them to finish making the game
 
Downloads from a subscription ain't sales. Majority of people who download wouldn't buy the game otherwise. If a game get 20m downloads, i doubt it even sells a quarter of that. That's why player numbers is a useless metric. It's bloated with players who don't even play the game.
 

StreetsofBeige

Gold Member
In a perfect scenario, if the devs were only planning on selling 50,000 to 100,000 copies at launch, they should be lucky to have the game exposed to 4M people. Might lead to more sales later and mtx.

Goes to show nobody cares about the game to begin with.
 

ckaneo

Member
In a perfect scenario, if the devs were only planning on selling 50,000 to 100,000 copies at launch, they should be lucky to have the game exposed to 4M people. Might lead to more sales later and mtx.

Goes to show nobody cares about the game to begin with.
I think the point was he negotiated for about 50,000 instead 400,000. He points out that he also underestimated PS5 initial sales because of covid.
 

StreetsofBeige

Gold Member
I think the point was he negotiated for about 50,000 instead 400,000. He points out that he also underestimated PS5 initial sales because of covid.
Well, that's their fault doing a flat fee payment.

When companies do a deal like that, one side will likely win out depending which side of the coin sales falls on.

They can always try to do a deal based on number of downloads. But if the sub system for PS and Xbox are traditionally lump sum fees, then you got to accept the outcome.

Other types of industries will do pay per unit deals. Walmart and Pepsi arent going to do a deal saying "Let's agree to a $1M fixed fee" and who the hell knows how many cases of pop will sell. They will do a per case deal sold. Each side likes it that way as it reduces risks of dumb outcomes where one side gets hosed.
 
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MisterR

Member
Very faulty premise. Just because 4 million people downloaded it on PS Plus doesn’t mean it was going to sell 4 million copies. I have tons of games I’ve claimed on PS plus that I haven’t played and certainly wouldn’t have ever bought. I’m going to claim any free game. Just in case and I assume most are the same.
 

Fbh

Member
I get their point. The delay affected them negatively as they negotiated the Ps+ deal under the assumption the game was going to be offered to a smaller audience.
But as everyone has pointed out, assuming every Ps+ download was a lost sale is ridiculous.

I own like 80 games that Epic has given out for free on their store. Out of those maybe 4 or 5 are games I'd actually have considered buying, and even then only during a sale and not at launch.



I am curious how they reached the estimate of 50k-100k downloads on a service that has 48 million subscribers if all those users could get it for free. Even shovelware crap would get more downloads. I mean hell I'd say even 4 million downloads would have been a low estimate. That's less than 10% of the user base taking advantage of a free game offer.

The game was only free for Ps+ users on Ps5, not Ps4. So it was only available to a fraction of those 48 million subscribers.
50-100K still seems like a really low estimate even if you are just counting with 3-4 million subscribers.
 

jshackles

Gentlemen, we can rebuild it. We have the capability to make the world's first enhanced store. Steam will be that store. Better than it was before.
Pretty difficult to deny that probably 90% of games that end up given away for free on PS+ are very devalued for the remainder of their existence after the giveaway ends. There are, of course, some notable exceptions to this rule like Rocket League, but far more common are the Destruction All Stars out there. Devs probably don't understand this when making these deals, that you're trading money down now for lowering the value of your product forever - if they did understand that, most probably wouldn't take the deal especially so close to their game's launch.
 

daveonezero

Member
I don’t ever feel sorry for people bitching about poor contract decisions.

Just like student loans. This guy took the deal. And now saying “unfair”

As if contracts never fall the other way.
 
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ethomaz

Banned
Why are we talking download numbers? I'm sure he has access to engagement numbers.

I can see where he thinks he miscalculated sales forecast due to covid but using the word devastated and linking it to PS+ is a bit of a stretch.
Because he is talking about download numbers.
4 million.
 
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