PS Plus Offer Was “Devastating” for Oddworld: Soul Storm’s Sales, Says Developer

Image: Oddworld Inhabitants

Here’s your daily reminder that if you want your video game to sell a ton of copies, you probably shouldn’t offer it for free shortly after it launches. Lorne Lanning, founder of Oddworld Inhabitants, had apparently learned the hard way when his company decided to offer Oddworld: Soulstorm as a free game on PlayStation Plus in April 2021, the same month it launched. Lanning had expected that no more than 100,000 copies of the game would be claimed, but it ended up being downloaded over 4 million times by members of Sony’s subscription service who were eager to check out Abe’s latest tale at zero cost. The Oddworld creator has called the decision “devastating” and thinks that Oddworld Inhabitants missed out on some serious profits, though some have pointed out that the game may have never saw the light of day without the PS Plus agreement, which Lanning had originally agreed to in order to “get the project done.”

PlayStation Plus was ‘devastating’ for Oddworld: Soulstorm sales, claims creator (VGC)

“It’s kind of a double-edged sword… I’ll give you an example around Soulstorm,” Lanning said, when asked about PS Plus. He explained that initially, he felt that doing a PS Plus deal was a necessity “to get the project done.”

“We were hitting a number of legacy technical debt issues and talent issues and you know, the game industry is emerging fast, huge companies are paying fortunes,” he explained.

Lanning said that he was initially hesitant to give the Soulstorm away on PS Plus due to the lack of PS5 consoles that were available in January 2021. However, the team eventually agreed, with Lanning saying that “we thought we did a pretty good deal”.

He explained: “The most we could sell is less than the money we’re getting… We might sell 50,000 units at launch, maybe 100,000 units. It was pretty small numbers because there wasn’t going to be a lot of PS5s.”

Lanning claimed that the game did significantly better than the team could have imagined due to the change in release date.

“Because it slipped to April, we had the highest downloaded game on PS5 and it was, I think, approaching… close to four million units or something like that for free because they were all subscriptions. So for us, it was devastating”.

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